Honoring and Dealing with Anger for Healing

truth | Dianna Bonny Photography

I was speaking with Terri over at Bone Sigh Arts last week. She and I couldn’t figure out how we found each other, but decided it must have been on Twitter. One of the wonderful benefits of the Internet is connecting with kindred spirits in this way. I really encourage you to explore her art because her creations are heartfelt, soulful and truly gorgeous.

At this point we had only conversed via Twitter and email, so it was delightful to put a voice to the name and correspondence. At one point she asked me how I handled my anger over what happened and honestly, I hadn’t thought about being angry for a long time, but the question prompted an interesting stream of consciousness that led me to writing this post.

It took me a long time to get in touch with my anger, almost as though I didn’t have a right to feel that way, or something to that effect. Emotions are funny things when you have never really been in direct contact with them. As a child, anger was forbidden to be expressed in our house because it was “unladylike,” and I carried this sentiment with me into later life stashed in my suitcase of rules on how to behave appropriately.

This was not particularly helpful when I encountered my husband’s secret life and I had some serious work to do on acquainting myself with the hostile part of me that bubbled beneath the surface of my fragile exterior. It was tremendously helpful to find Karla McLaren’s book The Language of Emotions. In particular, the revelation that anger’s basic question is, “What must be protected?” as well as, “What must be restored?”

I wrote those questions down six months after his death and it unleashed a tidal wave of sobs that racked my body for hours and left my stomach sore for days. Seeing anger in this way gave me permission to explore and understand it from a place of power and integrity.

She writes:

“Anger comes forward not simply to protect you, but also to give you the strength you need to meet your opponent honorably during conflict.”

The most important part of the anger equation that I am learning now, as I defend myself and my children against family forces that refuse to stop attacking, is that in doing nothing, as I have done for four years, I have dishonored them, as well as myself, “by refusing to honor the conflict that has presented itself for healing.”

I never thought of engaging with anger in this way. She goes on to say:

“If you refuse to engage with people when they behave improperly, you dishonor them and the relationship. When you repress your anger, you degrade your own sense of boundaries and honor, certainly, but you also disrespect your opponent and ignore the uncomfortable truth of the situation. This has a devastating effect, because when you refuse to address your genuine emotions, you invite discord and deception into each of your relationships and every area of your life.”

I find this perspective on anger very empowering and enlightening. I am so thankful that Terri and I spoke about it, because it has expanded my horizons of what needs to be done going forward.

Do you fear your anger? Can you view it, as Karla recommends, as a “stalwart castle sentry and an ancient sage?”

I cherish your presence here and am sending you strength for bold, audacious healing.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

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