We often associate anger with explosion, violence, and harm but it can also have multiple benefits such as the ability of clear, honest and kind communication, a strong sense of self and the ability to ask for what we need. The key component to accessing the benefits of anger is regulation. When we are emotionally regulated, we can ride the waves of our emotions in a boundaried and supported way. We can approach our emotions and their messages with curiosity, and we practice communicating what we need in assertive ways. We can turn toward our emotions, of all shapes and sizes, with curiosity, listen, and discern the message. (Also read: 10 ways to deal with anger: Expert shares tips)
Sara Aird, Storyteller, Educator and Founder of Breaking Down CPTSD, talked about healthy anger and emotion regulation in her recent Instagram post.
What is emotion regulation?
It is the ability to navigate the full spectrum of your feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant. Having skills to listen and discern the messages of your emotions and being able to communicate how you’re feeling to others is emotion regulation. It helps in choosing how you respond and act after tuning in to what you are feeling. Emotion regulation is not feeling calm all the time or handling your emotions perfectly or doing whatever your emotions are telling you to do.
Emotions are our internal messaging system
They let us know when we are mourning a loss (sadness), they let us know when we need to slow down and pay attention (fear), and when we are satisfied (contentment). Emotional dysregulation could be described as a backlog of messages without the skills to read them. Over time, the backlogged messages get louder and louder.
What is the message of anger?
The message of anger is centered around boundaries, accountability, protection, autonomy, and independence. Anger helps us differentiate and individuate from those around us. It monitors our relational interactions and speaks up when we’ve been misunderstood, harmed, or invaded. Anger helps us know what is our responsibility and what is another person’s responsibility. Free-flowing anger will allow you to laugh compassionately at yourself and set your boundary mercifully because both actions arise from the inner strength and honorable self-definition that anger imparts. When your anger is not allowed its natural flow, you’ll have trouble setting and maintaining your boundaries, you’ll tend to dishonor or enmesh with others, and your self-image will be imperiled by your reliance on the capricious opinions of the outside world.
What is the message of deep & layered anger?
Our boundaries, our sense of self, and our safety have been completely invaded and devastated. When deep & layered anger is supported and listened to, instead of inappropriately expressed, it becomes a call to healing a devastated & unprotected soul.
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