Anger has been my teacher recently, and I was not a willing student. I wasn’t intentionally resistant. I just didn’t understand the messages.
My conditioning had me override my anger. I dismissed it. I ignored it. I judged myself for it.
I took the emotional manipulation hook, line, and sinker. It fit with my conditioning so I believed it was my fault. I was responsible. I must be doing something wrong. I reflected on how I needed to get better. If only I could improve then they would feel better. It was all on me.
But the anger didn’t go away. It was a patient teacher.
It wasn’t until I got the loving, direct, and firm feedback of external support that helped me to see that I was in my conditioning. I was caretaking. I was enabling. I was not honoring myself.
My conditioning was trying to make me live up to conceptual qualities of true nature: kind, generous, forgiving, but it wasn’t real. I wasn't authentic. My anger told a different story.
It was telling me, I’m being taken advantage of. I’m being manipulated. Not intentionally. Not on purpose. But my experience was speaking to me, and I overrode the feedback because I judged my anger. I didn’t see the wisdom in it. I didn’t listen to the healthy feedback that was telling me no. NO. NO!
And, of course, not expressing myself honestly resulted in me stuffing my anger so one day when Angus was in a low mood, complaining and grumbling it got on my nerves. And when he asked me for help with something I lost my temper with him. I got really angry. That was my wake-up call. I felt the rage, and I expressed it toward him even though it had nothing to do with him. Poor guy!
Fortunately, he was able to accept my apology and see my psychological innocence. It took me a bit longer to see my psychological innocence and recognize that I was doing the best that I could at that moment. I eventually got there. And it made me realize what I was doing wasn’t working. I couldn’t keep stuffing my feelings and not pay a price. I couldn’t keep lying to myself and pretend that I was more enlightened than I was. I couldn’t control the emotional energy inside me. I had to listen. I had to be honest with myself. I had to get real.
This is my learning curve. Learning not to stuff my anger and to allow myself to feel it and be with it. To own my strength and power and not be submissive, not be passive, not erase my needs and wants.
It took trusted advisors to help me wake up to my conditioning and see that the feedback was healthy. I was not off track. I was exactly on point. I have had seen this earlier I would have been able to pivot and course-correct much sooner. All I needed to do was listen to the health of my experience.
This is a painful growing edge for me right now. I’m not particularly enjoying integrating anger. It is a powerful energy, and I am scared of it. But I know I need to face it head-on and own all of who I am.
This is not the first time I feel abused in this way, and it is not the other people's fault. I know my experience comes from within. The experience of abuse is the innocent self-abuse of not standing up for myself. Not giving myself a voice. Not being true to myself. And instead, bending over to accommodate and to please. Not voicing my needs and wants clearly and then getting resentful and feeling completely f#$@ed off about it.
Well, that is my growing edge. What is yours?
What feedback are you resisting because it doesn’t fit with how you see yourself? What are you ignoring because it doesn’t fit with your conceptual ideas of what a good person is?
I encourage you to listen to the wisdom in your emotions that is beyond your conditioning. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking wisdom only shows up in the package of a good feeling, but there is wisdom in all of our experiences. The intelligence within us is always communicating with us. We can listen to that wisdom in the present moment with an open mind and an open heart. We can hold space for what is alive within us. We can be with what is in an open way without judgment and criticism. This is what lets us hear. This is what lets us know. This is what lets us be free.
I didn’t need to act out from an angry place, but I did need to see the health in my anger so I could integrate it and understand the important feedback within it that was in support of my health and wellbeing. I ignored it to my detriment but I am learning.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate a private couples’ intensives retreat program that rewilds relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.