Karen’s earliest family memories were of fear when her dad (Jim) was in one of his moods. Drinking didn’t help and often it was the trigger; his rage was mostly taken out on Mum (Mary) who ended up bruised and battered, “… but for us kids, we had to hide and not get in the way.” Mum swore she would leave him, but never did. Why? “Because Dad loved Mum and us kids. He would buy us presents, take us out, bring Mum flowers, cuddle Mum … and then it would happen all over again.
“Grandad (Geoff) dad’s dad, was also like that and didn’t often come around … when he did, Dad seemed to be a different person – like a lamb, meek and mild, especially when Grandad was raving at him.”
Karen grew up and lived with Frank who was “just like Dad”. She ran away to another state and met and married Greg – who turned out to be worse than Frank.
Karen’s story is not unique. We will examine some aspects of just how debilitating anger can be, and will also come up with some solutions. Let me start by saying that anger is a personal issue and must be resolved personally. Nobody can do it for you. If you recognise it as an issue in your life and you want to do something about it, then there is a way forward.
I’ll say the obvious about Karen’s story. It looks like she was born into a family where some traits were inherited. Dad and Grandad were the same, but Dad loved Mum. Anger and Love went together and were a possible combination in the mind of young Karen. So much so that her men – Frank and Greg – were both like Dad. Subconsciously Karen looked for men who expressed love through anger – there was no love without anger! Is there an explanation for that
I believe that we are all on earth in a physical body (housing a soul) to gain experiences for our soul. In other words, we gain lessons we need to learn whilst we are on Earth. So, one way to look at inherited traits, say anger, is that perhaps we need to learn the lessons involved with dealing with and overcoming anger. Having the attitude (or belief) about learning lessons from inherited negative traits often avoids the frequently associated feelings of guilt, blame or judgements of our parents, or those close to us. Indeed if we take this attitude (or belief) to the nth degree, we can ultimately be grateful to anyone who has taught us negative habits because we realise that we need to get the lessons from handling or overcoming that particular negative habit.
So Karen too needed to learn lessons. She had four men in her life – Dad, Grandad, Frank and Greg who were all there creating adversity for Karen, which presented her with opportunities to learn and grow … anger is not synonymous with Love. Perhaps also there were lessons of self esteem, self worth and self love!
On a grander scale cast your mind to the age old Irish religious issues where generations of kids have been born into families “full of hate”. What about the Jewish/Palestinian issues? One can only wonder “Is there any hope of moving through the anger and hatred and revenge thoughts passed from one generation to the next”? Is it just chance that we’re not born into these families or are these not our particular lessons to learn? One can wonder if it is perhaps some part of a “Greater Plan”. That age-old saying comes up for me “There but for the grace of God go I.”
My Personal Experience
Hatred, anger and revenge consumed me after the murder of my three daughters. Naturally enough you may say, and probably appropriate, because it’s all part of the grief process. I was lucky I knew that we talk to ourselves 50,000 times a day and if we talk to ourselves negatively then that will influence us to become negative. I would eventually cause my own demise and become another victim.
Habits are a challenge to break and one of the reasons for this is that the job of the subconscious mind is to keep you where you are now. In other words, to keep you in your Comfort Zone, with all habits, both good and bad. The subconscious mind wants what it’s got and not what it hasn’t got. Once the habit is there, the subconscious mind wants it. It keeps you there with self sabotage … negative self talk … and all this is natural. The key is awareness. For me, it was important to have the awareness that I was having negative self talk which would eventually drive me towards being another victim.
I was also lucky that I knew that the subconscious mind (88% of our mind, containing all our habits, memory, self image and personality) doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. I worked deliberately with the subconscious mind, changing hatred, anger and revenge thoughts into acceptance, love and forgiveness. The two change agents that I used were goals and meditation. With either of these methods we can work deliberately with our subconscious mind, changing debilitating habits.
Avoid Self Anger
There are times when anger can be appropriate – it can be a natural action. Notice that I did not use the work “reaction”! Often anger can be justifiable, however if you lose control, who wins? Certainly not you! And then this can lead to self recrimination and unhappiness. Thoughts can often be redirected at self anger and this is not desirable … do you remember crying when your parents were angry with you when you were very young? Well, when you’re angry with yourself it’s a similar thing … you’re hurting that young child inside of you and that “young child” inside is crying. Recognise it and avoid redirecting anger at yourself.
My Meditation CD of Letting Go Anger
I have a meditation CD, Peaceful Place #9 – Letting Go Anger, which will help in changing any habit of anger. I have reproduced the words here so that you can make your own tape – I have not included Building Peaceful Place and then going down through the colours to get to the meditation state – that dreamlike state where you have conscious control (you may already know about this and if not, these are included in all my CDs).
Here are a few thoughts for you to consider, during the process of anger: generally speaking there are aspects of resentment or blame or judgement or guilt that are involved. These are all factors that may well contribute to the anger itself. There is sometimes a belief and an expectation when other people are involved. The starting point through the process of anger is to accept where you are by realising what you’ve done or what has happened. No matter what you’ve done up until now, know that you’ve probably done the best that you knew how at the time. One way forward is you make whatever you’ve done okay for yourself and in that way you can forgive other people that are involved and you can forgive yourself. You can in fact increase your self esteem out of this whole process. You see, even if bad thoughts come in, you can actually say “no” to the bad thought and don’t accept them. Likewise you can say “yes” to any good thoughts and you accept them. Both actions help sel f esteem. When you’ve done this tape for anger a few times, then you’ll be able to use a shortened version, whereby you’ll just be able to count from ten to one and on each one of those ten counts you’ll be able to use the process to quickly clear the anger. You could do this in say 30 seconds … you’ll practise at the end of this meditation.
The Guided Imagery Words
It’s a good starting point to review an occasion when you showed anger, see the scene or sense that you see it, hear what was said or hear any other sounds and relive the feeling of how it was. Acknowledge and realise inside of you whatever it was that went wrong, you see it as it is, and just now answer these questions to yourself. Who do you resent in this situation? What expectations in fact were violated with that resentment? Did you start to blame either others or yourself? Do you have an expectation of what either you or other people should do? If so, what are they? Do you find that you are really beginning to judge either yourself or other people because of your expectations? Are you feeling guilty about that and about what you did either in judging yourself or in judging other people? So is there anything that you can do about what other people do? Yes you can accept their behaviour and love them anyway, or you could let them know that their behaviour bothers you. How can you resolve the judgement of others? You can forgive them and realise that they are probably doing the best that they know how and that your standards and their standards may be different. You resolve the judgement of yourself by forgiving yourself and you can realise that whatever you’ve done up until now is the best that you knew how at the time. You can acknowledge yourself for who you are and know that you are growing. You introduce loving into this situation. You can love the other people for who they are, silently to yourself, and you can love and accept yourself the way you are. So you say: “I love and accept myself”, and know that you basically have been able to change your expectation of self and others, change your belief because you know that either you or other people are doing the best they can. And as good thoughts come into you, you just acknowledge those good thoughts and say “yes” to them and you feel better about yourself. If there are any bad th oughts that come in just simply say “no” to the bad thoughts and once again you feel good. When you feel good about yourself your self esteem rises. Imagine and feel that rising. And now just once again picture and imagine that situation, see it, or sense that you see it, feel it, and hear or sense you hear yourself in that same situation and know that you are calm and smiling and generating love and affection and that you are breathing calmly, knowing that you are doing the best you can and that the other people in the same situation are doing the best that they can. You can accept the situation for what it is. Now as you get a sense of that, as you hear the sounds, as you get in touch with your feelings, congratulate yourself for really handling a difficult situation because you’ve handled it well, get that clarity in your mind. Yes, well done, congratulations and you feel really good about yourself knowing that you can be calm and relaxed about any situation. And now on t he count of five you will open your eyes being relaxed, well, healthy and invigorated, knowing that you can handle situations, quickly and resourcefully and always remain calm, relaxed and know that you can easily let go anger. And now on the count of five you open your eyes feeling relaxed, well, healthy and invigorated. No 1 you feel the blood flowing to the end of your fingers and toes. No. 2 you move your fingers and toes. No. 3 you stretch a little bit and No. 4 you roll your neck around gently. No. 5 eyes open, wide awake, relaxed, well, healthy and invigorated, having released any anger inside you.
Now as I said at the beginning of this tape, here is a method that you’ll be able to use to quickly release anger. You need to practise getting into your Peaceful Place fast so that you can get there in a few seconds and when you’re there you just say to yourself “Now I count from ten down to one and on the count of one I am relaxed and have released all my anger.” Here are some suggestions as to the type of statement or question you can make on each number as you count down:- No. 10: “Who am I resenting and who is it hurting? No. 9 Am I blaming anybody, myself or others? No. 8 Is there any judgement involved in this? No. 7 Do my belief systems get in the way? No. 6 Have I got any expectations? No.5 Is there any guilt involved? No. 4 I accept the situation for what it is. No. 3 All of us are doing the best we can with the tools that we have. No. 2 I forgive myself and others. No. 1 I am relaxed and have released my anger. Sense your positive emotion. And you take a deep b reath and go on about your business.
When Anger is Huge
Often anger is a huge issue in life and therefore we need to do more work in both meditation and goals. A good goal is “I always calmly respond to any situation”. The 3 meditations which I suggest are Acceptance and Letting Go (CD#16), Unconditional Love (CD#17) – Unconditional Love of self, others you have hurt and the person that passed it on to you) and Forgiveness (CD#6) – Forgiveness of self for being angry, forgiveness of the person that passed it on to you, forgiveness of self for the people you have hurt.
In closing, know that there is no place for revenge … not even thoughts of revenge. Leave revenge to the Law and the legal system will exact social responsibility … and even if it doesn’t, just let it go.
So, awareness is a great key in life and know that it is best to embrace adversity, knowing that the purpose of it is to gain the lessons – the experiences for our soul.
All The Best