Friday, March 6, 2015

HSPs: The Relationship Between Anger and Guilt

Understanding our emotional lives is important for all of us. But, handling our feelings is something we are never taught. Whatever we learn is usually through a process of trial and error. We also learn to label emotions as "good" and "bad" depending on the reactions we get when we express them. If, as a child, our anger was never acknowledged or looked at, then we might have a loaded relationship with it.

We might stuff it away, this unacceptable feeling, this uncomfortable game-changer. We have seen how exploding with anger can harm people, and so we exercise the only other option we feel is available to us. We push anger down. 

Whenever it comes up, we reject it, so it stops bothering us at all. But as our anger gets muted, at least in conscious awareness, our boundaries start collapsing. We forget that this energy that we are so scared of destroying ourselves with is also something that actually helps protect us.

When we don't have access to anger, our sense of self gets blurred. We are not as aware of where we end, what belongs to us, what has been thrust into our lives by other people's demands. Without our anger, we are left unarmed.

What starts with avoiding a painful experience then takes on a life of its own. With no clear boundaries between ourselves and the other, we can start taking on too much responsibility for other people. We can start feeling guilty for things that we are not responsible for.

Then, in a circular dance, our feelings of guilt mean that we lose our connection with our anger to an even greater degree. Lost in guilt for not doing enough or not being enough, we lose touch with what our anger might have told us. We have been through enough. We need to change. We need to re-build the holes in our boundary wall.

If you feel guilty a lot of the time, what would getting in touch with your anger do for you? Why is it that you don't want anger in your life? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you think that the only other thing you can do with it, apart from shutting it off, is venting it? What about thinking of some other alternatives?

What if you were to start beating a pillow? Would you get from a feeling of numbness to one of anger or fear? What if you said out loud all the things that you want to complain about? You don't do the venting with someone else, you do it all on your own just to get it out of your system.

How would feeling that anger help you? Would it show you places in your psyche that feel violated? Will you listen to its messages and use its energy by thinking about and setting new boundaries?

How could those boundaries help you? How could they help you do more of what you are supposed to do in this world?

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