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I didn’t see myself as angry early in my career … and I was.
I accessed higher than ideal levels of anger, but didn’t recognize that within myself. Looking back, I can now understand both why I didn’t see the anger within me, and how my unrecognized anger hurt my working relationships.
This blog post is written with the hopes of opening the eyes of others who have high access to anger, but can’t see it.
In my early working life, I was acting out a pattern of behavior that had been modeled in my home throughout my childhood. To be clear, I, and only I, am responsible for my behavior. Now and then. And what is true is that I was shaped by my earliest relationships. And anger played a role in the shaping.
I didn’t see my anger because it was my default experience. It’s what was modeled for me and how I was wired to conduct day to day interactions. I didn’t experience myself as angry or not angry. I just was.
We are all shaped by our primary relationships. And not simply metaphorically, but also, neurobiologically. Meaning, the neural wiring of our brains, our mental models, our implicit understanding of what is is and isn’t acceptable are all shaped by our earliest relationships. And it can blind us to certain aspects of ourselves. (more…)
Yes….is the short answer. Lest I give ragers permission to rage, I’ll explain further.
All emotions contain both information and gifts. Our emotions contain messages that no other dimension of our experience provides. If we don’t experience an emotion, we lose access to important information about ourselves and our experience. Also, each emotion comes with its own gifts that improve the quality of our relationships. Believe it or not, anger can improve the quality of our relationships! Crazy, right?
The information or message for us in the emotion of anger is “I’ve been violated” or “Someone / something I value has been violated,” or “This is not what I wanted / expected / hoped for.” All meaning, something is not right here!
Often times, our anger is prompted by a violation of our values. Even though we might not know for sure what those values are. Other times, our anger is triggered by unmet expectations. Regardless of how reasonable or communicated or clear those expectations might be.
Anger can be like the lightning rod that points us in the direction of our values, our unmet needs, our boundaries. It provides us with important clues to our inner world, the assumptions we make, the ideals we hold, the projections and presumptions we place on others and the world. (more…)