Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Anger, as with many aspects of the shadow self, is an emotion all too quickly turned away, disgraced, prematurely discarded, and denied.
Anger is ugly, sordid, hysterical, and dangerous. Anger is for ‘other people’. Those ‘other people’ that need help. The unsophisticated, the uneducated, the lost, and the dark. Those ‘others’ who simply lose control, thereby embarrass and mortify themselves.
Anger does indeed have grave potential. It can twist the heart, and churn the soul. It can render us helpless, stunted, enraged, and merciless. Anger is powerful and mercurial. A shapeshifter with many faces. It can destruct and it can destroy, this much is true.
However, the greater truth about anger, duplicitous to common belief, is that when granted permission, thereby embraced and explored, anger becomes the very antidote, distinct and profound, between healing and suffering.
Countless people have sat across from me in search of answers as to why, after years of therapy, they continue to feel empty? Why, having spent all manner of time, money, and due intent on releasing old wounds, especially those seeped in betrayal, do they continue to find themselves hitting an emotional ceiling when it comes to experiencing intimacy? They are loved. They are successful. They are not endangered, nor dejected. Their life is bountiful, glazed with color, vital with potential.
What then, of this emptiness, this longing, this insidious usurper?
It is not emptiness, there is no such thing. Emptiness is merely a symptom of dissociation, the sophisticated, often impermeable protector embalming those places previously unreached.
Those places beneath the scar tissue, the wound sites, raw, open, untreated, that without due intervention, remain inaccessible, therein unresponsive to most prescriptive therapies.
Dissociation, a survival construct, automatically kicks in when we are faced with what the body believes to be a threat to one’s life, be it physically, sexually, mentally, or emotionally. Dissociation allows the body to experience the trauma, whilst dulling the senses, disconnecting receptors, whilst rerouting memory to the unconscious mind, whereby the experience is indexed, stored, filed away, and, in parts, buried.
Hence why many people, including myself, can delve deep into the origin of suffering, the wounds, the stories, the trauma, the purging, the releasing, the cleansing, the unearthing, the dismantling, the reconditioning, and the returning, over and over, back through the process, further excavating repeat patterns of pain, disappointment, betrayal, and loss without ever having gone just quite deep enough to retrieve that one vital, missing piece.
That piece, is the memory, regained in full, when trauma, for the very first time, entered the cells of your body.
You may have been 5 years old, or 25 years old, regardless, the body responds the same. The nervous system has three different protocols, fight, flight, or freeze. The first two require adrenalin, enormous amounts, of which gets distributed through the act of fighting, or running from the threat. Keeping in mind, the threat, whether physical, sexual, mental, or emotional, are indeed considered equal. The cells of our body don’t discriminate between the cause, they simple respond to the effect.
The latter response, freeze, requires no adrenalin. To freeze means to play dead, to take your chances at survival by shutting down, becoming small, small enough that you don’t exist, you barely breathe, you do not move, you do not make a sound, you dissociate from all sensory input, you disappear, until, god willing, the threat, it passes on by.
It is this response, this very common, yet grossly unrecognized survival tactic that leaves the body, for years, subjected to energies frozen, unattended, and consistently resilient to healing. It is this same energy that forbids the unconscious to explore the depths of our shadow self, our blind spots, those places where adrenalin, not yet directed, awaits release. Those places where our trauma, open, raw, remembered in full, has the opportunity to thaw out, come out, breathe again, move again, be seen, be heard, make some noise, shout out, scream aloud, loose control, GET BIG, GET ANGRY, and survive, regardless.
This process, the process whereby anger is no longer turned away, disgraced, prematurely discarded, and denied. The process you, like many, have likely avoided, unnecessarily, out of fear that you, god forbid, might become one of those ‘other people’. Those people who embarrass and mortify themselves. The unsophisticated, the uneducated, the lost and the dark.
This process, the process whereby anger becomes the antidote, the portal, the conduit in which the nervous system comes back to life, safely, releasing what constitutes undue emptiness. This is the only process I recommend when asked ‘why, after so many years of personal work, with all I have to be happy about, why do I still feel so empty’?
This process, simply put, is often the difference between healing and suffering.
Fear not becoming like those ‘other people’, fear staying just as you are. Those people are alive, in full, regardless of judgement.
Intimacy starts with the self. You, me, all of us, we are here to embrace every aspect of ourselves, the light, the dark, and everything in between.
Anger, as with all emotions, it can be a friend, or foe. Please, I ask you, if you’re suffering from emptiness, explore the frozen parts, thaw the anger, let it be your friend, and heal.