I had to let this lesson for today sit with me awhile.
And remind myself of the research I did into the psychology of abuse. The abuser’s overwhelming need to control comes from a place of fear. The root of anger is fear. It may look like fearlessness, but it isn’t. It’s usually a warning sign – much like the red engine check light in my car – flashing to get your attention before it becomes a deeper problem.
If you don’t believe me, then at least listen to our favourite Star Wars prophet:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
If you are not given skills to effectively deal with your anger, it boils over like a malevolent brew of toxicity. Seeping in, it builds up around you like a fortress and erodes your loved ones until the fault is too deep to fix.
Letting anger avenge itself feels good. We are back in control – we think – with the hormone Norepinephrine running like an unchecked bull through our body. It’s the chemical behind our fight, flight or freeze response. We become alert, focused, with greater memory retrieval to justify your rant. Your mind swirls faster while your heart rate and blood pressure increase.
“She makes me so angry!”
“That bastard cut me off!”
But the effects of chronic ongoing stress add up … and up … and up. I am sure all the stress I endured contributed to my Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis early in 2017. If you want to read about my Personal Pain, I posted some of the story here. The rest of it is still unfolding as learn to deal with my own stressors.
Let me say it as succintly as possible: “Stress will kill you”
There’s only one way to win. Well, actually three, but it starts with one simple question.
Ask “Why am I so angry?” or “Why am I so upset?”
Face it. Ignoring your anger and refusing to acknowledge it allows you to continually lie to yourself. Every person I know struggles with anger at some time or another.
And realize that is from internal conflict rather than an external source. The external conflict is only the result or manifestation of your internal battle.
Find it. Find the root cause. Is it fear? Fear of losing something? Fear of failure? Frustration with a situation? Guilt? Terror? Shame? Anger is almost always secondary to another emotion. What is your (real) major source of stress?
Figure it out for good. Facing your biggest fears, your deepest pain, your loneliest moment of guilt, your seemingly endless sources of frustration, your feelings of inadequacy and helplessness … is never easy, but it’s the only way out. Self-awareness is the start of sunnier days.
And you’ve given it much more meaning than it deserves. Because it hides the pain your 3-year-old self feels.
If you’ve read my other blog posts, I had wave after wave after wave of stressful situations piling up on top of me. I’ve tried all of the escape routes. Fight. Flight. Freeze. I am particularly good at paralyising myself with fear.
When it seemed like God stripped away every exit and every hold to grasp on to … I gave up.
And tried to centre myself. Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”
I needed to be still and listen for God.
And I felt like a saddle-broken wild mustang. I hug my head, my shoulders slumped in defeat.
I had to stop thinking in increasingly defeatist ways and allow God to take the reins. I had to walk away from my “worst case scenarios” and ask … is my situation that critical?
I loosened my grip on the stranglehold I had on reality and calmed the fear that was bubbling up in my throat. I didn’t fight or take flight, or freeze.
Just be still. Sit with your hatred, your anger, your fear, your troubles … your guilt, your sorrow, your shame, your jealousy, your worry, your anziety and your depression. And share the burden with God, a psychologist, and counsellor, a friend. It really and truly helps.
Sorry … Lesson 4 is being written after Lesson 5 so I could get caught up!
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