Understanding Anger Can Empower Women to Live Authentic Lives
Has anger ever taken the best of you? Have you ever regretted your reaction because you felt out of control? Did shame overwhelm you after these incidents? You are not the only one. Many of us women with a “temper” go through this. This can definitely make us feel powerless.
Expressing Anger Is Not Socially Acceptable for Women
We women are raised to think that anger is an ugly emotion, and this perpetuates the shame that comes with anger. Due to this, some of us don’t express our anger and keep it bottled up most of the time. On the other end of the spectrum are some us who may blow-up on the smallest provocation. This usually means that a much deeper issue was triggered. There is simmering anger underneath that was stirred up by a recent seemingly small provocation. In either case, we feel powerless. If we understand anger properly, we can utilize it to empower ourselves to make significant changes that lead to a happy authentic life.
Anger Is an Important Emotion for Survival and Social Functioning
Anger can provide important information about potential danger, and it can help us navigate social interactions and relationships. When we get angry, our body sends us information that something is not OK. When our life is in danger, anger is a powerful emotion that can help us overcome fear and propel us to fight for our life.
Similarly, in social situations, anger helps us realize that someone is crossing our boundaries or denying us of our rights in some ways. Anger can inspire us to fight for justice or set clearer boundaries. If we explore it, anger can help us learn about deep vulnerabilities and feelings that we may not be aware of.
Use Anger to Understand Yourself and Become Empowered Instead of Controlled by It
In addition to helping us survive and navigate social situations, anger can help us understand our deeper emotions. When we understand what leads to our anger, we can have more control over our behaviors. This knowledge empowers us to make better choices in life that will lead to less frustration.
How can you achieve this insight and empowerment? The first step is understanding that anger is not a primary emotion. When you get angry, you are usually not aware of feelings that are underneath the anger. This is probably an adaptation for our survival. In a situation when our life depends on it, we get a boost of adrenaline, so we can fight or flee.
Similarly, when our self-esteem or ego is affected, we often can feel very threatened. We can also respond in a fight or flight mode. In this case, the flight mode is not reacting at all, while the fight mode is expressing extreme anger, such as yelling or assaulting someone. What leads us to adopt one of these two ways of reacting to anger?
We usually rely on these two kinds of responses because it was most likely the way we learned to survive in very difficult situations in our life. Our environment perhaps warranted this extreme vigilance, and these behavioral patterns stayed with us. This usually happens when we grow up in a dysfunctional family or experience continuous or repeated abuse, betrayal, neglect, maltreatment, or lack of empathy from parents or other important figures in our childhood. This kind of trauma is known as developmental trauma.