Lately, I have been engaged in an intimate dance with anger. Instead of pushing it away and deeming it shameful, I've chosen to invite it in as a welcome guest. As a therapist, I often encourage others to acknowledge their anger, but when it comes to my own expression of it, I've felt shame and criticism from those around me. Unfortunately, not much has changed regarding society's perception of women and anger in this day and age. Women are still not granted the space to have and express anger, and what's even more disheartening is how we tend to chastise each other for embracing it.
Through my journey of self-exploration, I've come to a profound realization: It's perfectly okay for me to be angry, and it's equally okay for me to hold onto it for as long as I need. No one else should dictate the timeline for my anger or push me to "move on" and "let go." Perhaps I get to carry my anger as a marker, a reminder of certain situations and behaviors that are non-negotiable for me in future interactions with others. Maybe I get to revisit it, allowing it to coexist with the underlying hurt and sadness, exploring the messages they hold for me.
My anger has become a powerful force, urging me to write, to express, to break my silence. It's a call to go public with my experiences because there are others out there, like me, who might need my words. It's telling me that I have a responsibility to teach women not to tolerate abusive and bullying behavior, to help them raise their standards.
But anger also introduces me to sadness, encouraging a dialogue between the two. It takes my hand and leads me towards tears, mourning, and self-compassion. It reminds me that what happened was wrong and that I deserve to be comforted, loved, and nurtured. Sometimes, I feel silly for wanting to write about certain things, people, and grievances. I tell myself, "It shouldn't be a big deal; just let it go." Yet, these memories persist, and anger insists that they are significant.
In essence, my anger is a catalyst for healing and empowerment. It guides me towards a deeper understanding of my emotions, encouraging me to embrace both anger and sadness, allowing them to coexist and speak their truths. Through this journey, I'm discovering my voice and the strength to advocate for myself and others, one word at a time.
As part of this exploration, I invite my followers and my email list to join me in reflecting on their own experiences. Consider the following writing prompt:
**"In my family of origin, anger is ____."**
Start with this phrase and keep filling in the blank. Let yourself understand through this writing all the messages that you ingested about anger. Was it destructive in your household? Was it okay for women to express it? Was it non-existent? Did you grow up in a family that muted anger and never spoke of it? Dive deep into your emotions, and allow your words to unveil the truths that lie within you.
More prompts regarding this emotion are on the way, as are more of my shared experiences. I will continue to utilize my own therapeutic interventions to help myself and discover what could be of benefit to the women who I serve. Together, we embark on a journey of healing, self-discovery, and empowerment. And let’s remember that throughout history, many remarkable changes in our country and the world were born of anger. The “Me Too” movement, for instance, was born in anger, an emphatic “no” born of rage. Let’s give anger a chance, shall we? It has the power to ignite change and propel us toward a more just and equitable world.