ANGER FOLLOWS EMOTIONAL PAIN
ANGER IS THE SECONDARY EMOTION
Do You React or Respond?
- When I react, there is no choice, my behavior is automatic. I react because I don’t want to acknowledge my emotional pain and I want to avoid feeling it. My reaction is usually a “one size fits all” approach. I do just about the same thing just about every time I experience emotional pain.
- I respond to my emotional pain when I acknowledge that it is there. I realize I have choices, I evaluate each one, and then I pick the one that best fits my needs at the moment.
Do You Blame Others or Take Responsibility?
- I am blaming others for emotional pain when I give them responsibility for what I think, feel, say, or do. They are doing it to me . . . They are making me . . . I see them as someone trying to control me. I am unable to see how I have relinquished my power. I feel trapped, and I see myself as a victim.
- I take responsibility for my emotional pain when I realize that no one else can make me think, feel, say, or do anything unless I allow them to. I realize I am not responsible for what someone else thinks, feels, says, or does. When I take responsibility I have power over my life; I am empowered.
Do You Hold Onto or Heal?
- I hold onto my wounds when I focus mostly on my anger and I do not get in touch with the feelings before my anger. Anger is always the secondary emotion; there is always a feeling or feelings before the anger. Anger is useful if I use it as a motivator to bring about change, but it does not help me to heal if all I feel is my anger. I can tell when I am holding onto my wounds because as I talk about them I usually become more upset; the pain I am feeling seems to get worse instead of better. When the pain of my hurt, sadness, fear, disappointment, or concern is too frightening for me to acknowledge or feel, then I will go to the “emergency escape-valve emotion” of anger.
- I heal my emotional pain by going through a series of phases*. I move beyond the belief that I am going to have this experience for the rest of my life. I realize that I can change my life. I won’t be alone, or sad, or poor forever. I recognize that there is a cause-effect relationship in the world. Because this happened, then that happened. This is where I acknowledge how I am blaming someone else for what has happened. Next I must feel the feelings that come up for me after I experience what has happened. If I allow myself to feel the hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear or concern I am doing healing work. If I don’t allow myself to be conscious of those feelings, I will be controlled by them and I will be impeding healing. To continue the healing process I must now take responsibility for my part in the situation. What did I do to help create what happened? What did I think or not think, say or not say, do or not do? Did I make others more important than me? Or did I make me more important than them? After blaming others, taking responsibility, and experiencing the feelings that surface, I am ready to forgive. Forgiveness is always something we do for ourselves. Forgiveness is not about the other person or the horror of the behavior. It is not about whether they deserve to be forgiven. I am the one who benefits from my forgiving, not the person forgiven. As I forgive I release the power I am allowing the other person to have over me. To forgive does not mean I have to forget. I do not have to give that person another opportunity to do the same thing.
- *(From John Gray’s tape collection “Healing The Heart”)
Conflict is normal–violence is not–it can be resolved without violence or abuse. SAFE is a supportive alliance for both the abuser and the abused; John Anthony Bochnowicz works with families to create a “win-win” solution.
SAFE serves Bucks County and near-by areas
e-mail inquires or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
John Anthony Bochnowicz
102 West Maple Avenue
Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047-2820