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Anger and Outrage II

Excerpt from Chapter 11 - Emotions

I often cling to my outrage for psychological reasons. Most likely, I use such current-day outrage as a compensation for the fact that I am unwilling to face my childhood outrage. Instead of facing the childhood anger and hatred locked within me, I express it indirectly by splaying it over my favorite targets of today. Or, if I have faced most of those angry feelings of childhood, then my outrage may be compensation for my unwillingness to feel my childhood pain, grief and hopelessness. Outrage at others is a favorite projection. Instead of seeing the problem as belonging to me, I see it as "out there."

Am I saying that you should never feel outrage? No, but I am saying that there is always a happier response. If you do feel outrage, it is correct for you as your current emotional response. The tough choices are whether you want that response in the future and whether you are willing to do some work to change your response. You first must decide if changing your response is a worthwhile goal for you.

My Anger Keeps Coming Back. This is a clear indicator that the issue has not been resolved. Your anger is skewed. It is either off target and/or the wrong emotion is being expressed. Yes, this does imply that I consider much of the politically correct bashing so strongly in evidence these days to be skewed, neurotic, or off base. (You pick the adjective.)

It has been my experience that my clients' anger difficulties most often have their basis in childhood trauma knots that they do not wish to face. The part of those trauma knots most often avoided is hatred, childhood hatred. Until those clients are willing to feel that hatred, they continue to have difficulties with anger.

Emotionally Healthy Adults (with respect to anger):

Are comfortable with anger and hatred, their own and others.
Do get angry or fearful when physically threatened (fight/flight).
Generally, do not get angry when verbally attacked.
Are able to change their responses. This implies that the next time an identical angry-making circumstance occurs (except #2 above), they do not get angry.
Get angry rarely. Once they express the anger, it does not return.
Do not dredge up old arguments because that old anger is long gone.

Obviously, few of us achieve the above. Nevertheless, you will be much happier the closer you are able to duplicate the above anger/lack-of-anger responses. Do you want to make it your personal long-term goal to change some of your anger responses? Many words about hatred are located later in this chapter; hatred is just another word for intense anger.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Without goals, or with inappropriate goals, we often founder or flounder. I have seen a number of clients for whom goals initially are non-existent or impossible. They suffer as a result because of lack of direction."