Have you witnessed a parent jerking the arm of a child who nearly ran into a street and then yelling at them, “Don’t you ever do that again!”? Have your friends angrily scolded you for continuing to date someone who isn’t right for you?
These are examples of love expressed as anger. If you’ve spent any time with me at all, you’ve likely heard me say, “At the root of anger is either fear and/or sadness”.
Whether it’s you that is angry or the other, here are three questions worth asking:
What is it that I want that I’m not getting?
What is it that I need that I’m not getting?
What is it that I have that I’m afraid of losing?
The answers to these questions can look like:
Safety for myself or another.
Security for myself or another.
A sense of self-worth.
Feeling valued by another.
Everything we do in life is related to one of two things if not both simultaneously ~ our relationship with self, our relationship to others.
What drives these two things are wants and needs, and the gas that moves them is often related to fear and or sadness.
Anger is an emotion like any other and it serves a purpose. How we wield our anger is related to how well we are able to understand what’s underneath. When we wield our anger is related to how safe we feel in the moment to express vulnerability.
For example, let’s say your partner has been spending an increased amount of time with their ex who has been a best friend for years. At the same time, they seem to want to spend less and less time with you. Well, it just so happens that the best friend is having a deck designed and built and your partner has experience in this area and has been asked to help out; which you are well aware of, but have asked your partner to reserve one day out of the weekend for the two of you to have quality time. This has not happened because there is a time constraint to get the deck completed before the best friend’s family reunion, so they’ve been at it every weekend, all weekend, for the past month.
You comprehend the reasoning, but what gets activated, however; is a threat to the security of your relationship as they spend an increased amount of time together which means less time for you, also touching on some internal self-worth deficit leaving you feeling unsafe. So what comes out is an angry, “If you want to spend so much time there, why don’t you pack up your stuff and get out!”
Anger pushes away and puts up a wall; which gives us a sense of control over the situation and self-preservation. We utilized it as a defense mechanism when vulnerability feels too risky.
Having a better understanding of the how and why can help us to get to the root of what we really need and want, then ask for it in a way that will more likely yield the result we are looking for.