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Your Anger is Trying to Tell You Something

Ep #31

Your Anger is Trying to Tell You Something

When was the last time you got angry? Do you remember what made you angry? How it felt in your body? Anger is a necessary emotion that we often try to avoid and resist. We know that society doesn’t want to see angry women and it doesn’t feel good to get angry. Personally, it’s an emotion that I haven’t rolled with easily in the past.

Lately, I’ve been exploring my anger with compassion and non-judgment. Anger is a useful emotion that is there to activate us; it’s trying to let you know what needs tending to. Deep down there is pain that you aren’t addressing and aren’t healing.

What would happen if instead of avoiding the anger or being in the experience of it, you became an observer?

In today’s episode, I’m sharing how one intense, eye-opening experience showed me my anger and its wisdom. I learned that it’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to work through it. Right now, many of us are experiencing very heavy emotions. I think that makes it a beautiful time not to spiritually bypass, but to ask your emotions what they are trying to teach you. I’m sharing how you can befriend your anger and find out what it has been trying to tell you.

What You Will Discover:

  • How my recent experience of anger allowed me to see wisdom I hadn’t before.
  • How to understand what anger is trying to tell you.
  • What happens in our bodies when we’re angry.
  • Why it’s easier to feel angry than powerless.
  • Why anger is a useful emotion meant to activate us.
  • How to move from experiencing anger to being the watcher of it.

Resources Mentioned:

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Renegades. Renegades. Renegades. How are you today? Me? I'm doing good today. It's raining. The windows are getting washed. Texas decided to hit pause on the reopening of our State and shut down all the bars. Every time I hear we have stay at home orders I start to freak out and then remember that's what I do. I don't want to spend too much time talking shit, but since this is my podcast, don't mind if I do. Who are these people crowding the streets and waiting in lines to get into a bar? I don't get it. I mean, admittedly, I wasn't a bar goer to begin with but in my mind, that is literally the last place I would want to be. My brain basically thinks there are multiple serial killers running loose and they are on Rainy street and 6th st. I heard last week that the reason some people didn't show up to the dog park is because they quote heard the bars were being shut down due to a rise in coronavirus cases and wanted to go out one more time. My response was silence and then wait. what? You are meeting the killers for one last night of fun? As a coach and a parent, I teach about compelling reasons. Going to a bar must be pretty fucking compelling to risk catching coronavirus. Who knows though. It's probably just as dangerous on my road bike but my brain thinks it worth the risk for fresh air and a workout. Isn't it funny how each of our brains operate. Like your essential vs mine. Like I said, I'm sure this has nothing to do with coronavirus and more with the fact that bar hopping is not my thing. I way rather sit at home and drink wine while watching a movie. I like a controlled environment. I know who's here. I don't have to worry about who might talk to me. Everyone who comes in has to wash their hands and I know where they've been. I should charge admissions. My place sounds like the best place for drinking. But there's really no drinking or alcohol so that won't work. Anyway.
Did this offend anyone? Do you feel like I'm judging you for lining up outside your favorite bar with a bunch of boozy strangers? Is it making you mad? I hope so! Cause today I'm talking about anger!
So much fun. How many of you are comfortable and cozy with anger? Is it an emotion that you roll with easily? Do you get angry easily? What are thoughts about anger? Do you find it useful?
Well, I'm going to tell you today my personal experience with anger AND why we need to understand what's happening when we find ourselves angry - gain awareness so that we can use this energy for some good. How about that.

In April, I decided to participate in a psyilocybin ceremony - and listen, I'm sure I should talk to a lawyer but hear me now, on the record; I'm not recommending you use plant medicine or any illegal substances now or ever.
I will also say, that set and setting are questionable right now. Meaning the state of the world, your emotional well being - the collective energy. Things are chaotic. All of this needs to be considered and you should also not do anything like this alone. I'll say it one more time, I'm not condoning drug use.
I can assure you that what I'm about to share with you won't get

What I experienced that day was nothing short of dark and relentless. I had one or two moments of complete consciousness and awareness of just how bad it was and attempted to make a u turn but the next thought was, this is where you are supposed to go. What you are suppose to see. There are no bad trips. And so I went.

As I started to feel myself take off mentally there was this invite, if you will, from my social self to go with everyone else. That this is where the fun was going to be and my essential self wasn't having it. My essential self was thinking, I don't want to go be with everyone else. I'm tired of trying to keep up. I'm tired of trying to be someone else. To have their fun. My social self was struck, but wait. You just want to sit here alone. And my essential self was very clear and firm about it. yes. It's all I've ever wanted and yet you keep pushing me to be something I'm not. To keep up with something that I can't. Why can't we just stay and be. Why am I not enough.

You can imagine where this might be heading…

I found myself thinking about society and how, if you don't 'fit in' to the definition of normal you will be cast out of the tribe. How cruel women are to other women. There were women that I remembered from my past, experiences that I went through where no one had my back.
Soon, I was crouched on all fours left to fend for myself. I saw myself being picked on, preyed on and passed by. Left to figure it out on my own. To survive. I couldn't breathe out of my nose because I was crying uncontrollably. My face covered in mucous and tears. Mouth open breathing heavy… I sat up and thought of the people I knew and tried to find the women in the tribe that I could learn from. The ones I could trust… but my journey of survival wasn't over. I started thinking about those who become rejected from society. I couldn't understand why no one had any understanding or compassion for the homeless and mentally ill.

That everyone just turns and looks the other way. Judges them. Ignores them.
I felt it was my responsibility to take on their pain. All of it. And so there I was, and y'all, keep in mind I was writing this all down. They don't see your pain. I do. It's my responsibility. I see you. I'll take it on. And I did. I don't know how many hours I spent feeling that pain of being cast out and judged. Feeling completely misunderstood - unaccepted and hurt. And this is actually where things got dark and difficult.
I peered outside and saw people and thought, you are all living a lie.
And then I was flooded with anger.
My room suddenly became grim. The walls looked stained and cracked. My body began to feel hardened.

It was as if was going through a mental rolodex of everyone I knew, I began asking myself where were the people in my life that knew pain? Understood what it meant to struggle? I would think of people I knew, friends I love and believed that they didn't get it. That they were part of this tribe- that they've never known suffering and they can just live their lives like nothing is happening and everything is great…

I was so, angry. There would be that voice of reason, no you don't hate them, you are misunderstanding their intentions and very quickly this hardened angry energy would consume me. It felt so fucking horrible. To be that angry at the world. I was scared I would never not feel it again. That I would never like anyone or trust anyone again.

I battled with this side of myself. I could handle and surrender to grief and despair for the world- as painful as it felt to feel those emotions I was able to ride the waves, but anger, judgement and resentment, not so much.

Suddenly the finger was pointed at me. At the life I've created to distract myself from the realities of this world. That I'm living a lie. I was pathetic. That I took baths like it was a part time job and it was the act of a basic bitch. I'm telling you. It was dark. I'll also tell you, I've cut way back on baths.

However, the bath thought sounded a bit compelling - there was a part of me that thought sitting in cold water might help… so I ran a tub - the angry one knew it wouldn't make a difference but didn't argue. So there I was; Feet up against the wall. Bubbles sliding down my legs and arms. I pictured myself looking like Maleficent which has everything to do with my kids but nonetheless- I surrendered to angry. The world I lived in - the room I was in the way I felt held physically in my body was something else. In my mind, the room was filth. Film on the glass from showering. A drawer open. Towels on the floor. My mind couldn't see anything but disgust no matter where I turned. I thought I heard someone asking if they could come in and found myself mumbling, now's not a good time. Over and over. Now's not a good time.

Once I got out of the bath, I was able to start seeing a little less angry. I became aware that what I was experiencing was becoming a little less gruesome. It wasn't over but I was able to negotiate with my angry self a little. I literally asked myself permission to wear something soft and to just have a break from feeling that way. Could we just be nice to us for a few minutes.

You don't get the trip you want, you get the trip you need. It took me weeks to make sense of and integrate this new information. What I mean by that, is I saw parts of my mind and experienced emotions that, yes one could argue I made it up, but our minds can only see what our minds create and I couldn't believe where my mind had gone.
I learned much about myself that day but my biggest takeaway has been that by avoiding anger, I've not had my own back. I've not been listening to the wisdom that is within.

At first, I couldn't believe that I could feel that much anger at the world.

But as time has gone I've been even more surprised to see just how much anger and agitation I actually have. Now that I'm allowing it, I'm like oh. There she is. Hey what's up.

Spending time with my anger allowed for me to find some deep wounds and from that the wisdom I needed to know to understand why I suppress and avoid it. It also showed me that it's okay to feel it - it won't kill me. And if I take time to learn from it I can use it in a useful way and not deplete my emotional resources while I'm at it. I can guide myself through anger. You can guide yourself through anger. But this means taking time to Inquire. Seek. And Reveal.

Rather than projecting your anger outward, you gotta go inward and find out why it's there.

What you need to learn. This doesn't mean the feelings will feel better, but once you understand where the anger is coming from, the message it's trying to tell you, you can move into actionable emotions and get productive.

Don't worry Renegades, you don't have to embark on a dark and relentless trip to process your anger or any other negative feeling. I've done that for us. You're welcome.
Get your notes out- I'm going to share with you a basic understanding of what is happening in the brain and a few steps you can take to work through it.

Let's party.

Research shows that anger is the juice or fuel needed for action. It's a necessary emotion to let you know to act. However, we haven't been taught that. Instead we've all heard no one likes an angry woman. Or that you are not spiritually aligned when you are in anger. So we silence and suppress. Be it ourselves or those around us.

However, anger is natural and necessary. You know how I talk about emotions being like notifications on your car dashboard - when you need gas that cute little gas pump lights up if you're like me you play the gas game and see how long you can go but you know you need gas… Anger is the notification on your car dashboard that your engine is over heating. That you need to pull the car over.

Anger needs your attention. Anger is letting you know what you need to tend to. Something is happening. You need to wake up.

Anger and fear both come from our limbic nervous system which is located in our primitive brain. It's where your survival instincts reside. It's the juicy juice that kept you alive during cave days. The brain doesn't need to operate in survival mode like it did before, but your brain doesn't know that so when homeboy doesn't call you back or your friend does't post enough about black lives matter your alarms start ringing and you get pissed. Your brain sees a threat and signals the warning. If you don't heed the warning, you will stay in the primitive brain lane and react the way you do when you are angry. This is where the good ol' Fight Flight or Freeze response kicks in.Yell. Slam doors. Fire off texts. Ghost. Turn shit upside down.

Emotionally speaking, you are getting hi jacked. You spin the drain with blame, resentment, judgment and more anger. It releases all kinds of stress chemicals like cortisol - so not only are you emotionally suffering, but you are wreaking havoc on your physical body.
What's nuts o, is that we get addicted to this reactionary response. We find ourselves there over and over again.

If you can hit pause and face your anger, you can open up to it and find out what it is that you need. There is wisdom to be learned from your anger if you take the time to understand it. I know for me, anger is sparked when I don't feel like I have control, when I'm powerless, or when there is injustice - the anger is there because deep down I'm in pain. And I'm in pain because I care deeply. Anger likes to cover up these feelings. It's easier to feel anger than powerlessness.

The anger is there to activate. It's a useful energy- you want to choose a productive way to put it into action. You want to take the opportunity to choose your response. I'm not sure where I heard this, but when emotion is high, knowledge is low. And vice versa.

When fear and or anger are present we want to attend and befriend.

You can choose to respond rather than react. You can learn to allow a feeling and not give in to it.
Once you start practicing new ways of responding you start to retrain your brain. You know what I say- Shift Happens.

In order to process these feelings from a clean space we have to remain free of judgement - take it one thought at a time and have a lot of compassion. Which means creating supportive thoughts to guide you through processing the painful thought.

This is where I want to invite you to pause and think back to a moment when you were last angry; maybe it was with your partner, your kids, the news anchor. Go back there for a moment; What is being said?
What is the other person doing?
What does the other person see you doing?
What is your thought?
What is happening in your body? How are you holding yourself physically?
Describe to yourself this feeling of anger.

Where is it coming from? How does it move?
Can you hold space here? Find out why you're hurting?

DO not rush the feelings and instead allow them. And hold yourself here with compassion, Renegades.

Renegades, this process may not seem or sound like it has much impact, but here's what is happening; you are moving from being in the experience of anger which is located in the primitive brain and you are observing it from the modern brain. You're now the watcher. This subtle shift, believe it or not, not only gives you authority over what is happening it gives your brain and body relief.
I think back to moments as a mother where I have absolutely lost my shit. My sons XBOX should have come with a warning label. Ashley, side effects may include years of rage, screaming, threatening to break things like said xbox, possibly breaking said xbox and feeling absolute shame and embarrassment over your behavior. And hating every thing that xbox stands for. Except that one advertisement you saw in 1998 that said, at least you will know where he is. There has been little question as to where my son was and currently is.

Anyway, It would seem out of body and after I would feel so embarrassed.
After mom'ing for 20 years I've learned the art of apologizing to my kids. I've also been learning the art of not losing my shit. It takes practice. It feels fucking weird. My brain thinks yelling and freaking out is the most effective, easy answer. The truth is. It's not. We all know this, but re-wiring the software takes time.

I think if I was being filmed now, you would be able to see where the new program is running but it's still not operating at peak performance. I get a little glitchy. I do. Picture a short circuit situation in a femme bot.
Most recently, Nick and I had been going back and forth about online college courses. I thought he should sign up in Austin and he thought he should sign up in College Station. I said, cool. If you're that passionate about it, make it happen. You have until said date otherwise, I'm taking over.
Said date rolls around and I brought it up. He hadn't followed through. This conversation happened in my kitchen. I know exactly where I was standing - where he was sitting- where my daughter was standing- the look on her face after he said replied with I don't know why, but I didn't sign up yet.
I stood there as I felt a tidal wave of anger and disbelief along with 45k thoughts crash over my body. I took a really long breath. I sighed it out. Y'all. I'm telling you. I think my kids were fucking terrified. By the grace of God, I was able to remember a new belief I've adopted -Observe your reaction. Choose your response. I noticed the thought that was causing the anger and on the other side was another thought. The opposite thought. And in between there was space.

I call this space the grey area and I'm learning to play in the gray. I thought, things don't have to be so black and white. I don't want to lose my shit right now but I'm not going to be happy about this so where are we? We are in the grey and there is a ton of room for me to play here.

I asked him if he noticed anything about me. He said yes. You aren't saying anything. I asked him, what was our deal. He replied, that I would handle it. I said what happens if you don't he said I have to apply here. I said what are you going to do? I'm going to sign up right now.
You could see me breathing deeply but I had't physically moved.

He looked at me a moment longer and without taking his eyes off of me turned on the computer and started registering. Renegades. I can't begin to tell you how much less exhausting and stressful that was compared to my usual unhinged reaction.

I want to invite you to attend and befriend your anger. I want to invite you, to pause when you are feeling anger, agitation or rage and turn within to inquire and seek so you can reveal what it is you need tending to. Find out what feeling you are avoiding and activate from there.

I'm wishing you all a peaceful loving week Renegade. Stay safe.

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