The Many Masks of Anger

The Many Masks of Anger

Have you ever been angry on the outside but have this nagging feeling that you’re hiding something deeper?

Anger can be scary… both feeling it within us and experiencing it from others. 
Anger is also misunderstood. It’s an intense emotion and it generally has a negative reputation but what if I told you that anger is often the ‘secondary’ emotion that we feel? 

Oftentimes, it’s masking another emotion that is harder for us to express because we think it makes us appear weak, vulnerable or even undesirable. 

It’s harder to express hurt, rejection, shame, guilt, fear or helplessness because we feel more exposed or potentially unsafe and unprotected. We can often use anger, unconsciously, as a mask because anger can make us seem powerful and strong. It can act like a shield and it gives us the false sense of ‘protection’.

It’s almost easier to go through the gates of anger vs. sitting in the discomfort of the deeper emotion because vulnerability triggers alarm bells within us and trips up our survival mechanism which we talked about in depth last week. 

If you missed the blog on Understanding Triggers, email me back and I’ll make sure you get that info. 
In our society, we’ve made feeling vulnerable wrong. We’ve made it to mean that there is something wrong with us so of course we are not going to easily ‘expose’ the areas we feel “weak in” to others. 

When we avoid feeling vulnerable, we are NOT dealing with the root cause so we are not really healing the core wound, which only leaves us MORE vulnerable in the long run. We are left running this pattern on overdrive. Overtime, we believe our anger is THE problem. 

But it’s not…

Anger masks shame
Anger masks embarrassment

Anger masks fear
Anger masks insecurity
Anger masks guilt
Anger masks sadness
Anger masks helplessness
Anger masks rejection
Anger masks anxiety

The list can go on…

Although it’s a valid emotion on its own, (you may see this come up when someone has crossed our sacred boundary) it’s important to search for any underlying emotions that need to be addressed and validated. Although these reasons don’t justify the anger outburst, they can indicate an unmet need. Anger can be the first line defence but if we stay in the angry mode and focus on the angry outburst, we miss the opportunity to heal the deeper issue.  This issue is really calling out to be noticed and what will bring about true emotional health. 

Have you ever had an angry outburst with your partner and then got defensive to justify why you were angry? We’ve all been there. Left unchecked, this habit becomes detrimental to the union.

It can be full blown screaming, raised voices or it can come out as sarcastic comments, impatience, arrogance (superiority/entitlement), resentment or criticism. If this becomes your ‘relationship tone’, you’re headed for trouble.

A common statement following this, that I often hear from my clients is “I can’t admit those things to my partner because he won’t get it and then I’ve exposed myself” — My answer is .. and? …

However, we also have an emotional and very human need to be seen, heard and validated. When we are not feeling seen, heard and validated and we use anger to mask the underlying wound, we are creating an unhealthy dynamic in our relationships which overtime can lead to breakdowns

If you are with someone that you cannot express these vulnerabilities with then you’re either with the wrong person or you haven’t created an emotional safe space for BOTH of you to be seen, heard and validated. These are very learnable skills and I’d invite you to check out my 3 hour power session to help you create a strategy to get you both on track towards emotional safety.  Learn more about the 3 hour power session here!

It does take time to ‘undo’ bad habits so in the meantime, I encourage you, my beauty, to continue to express your vulnerabilities because at the end of the day, you are honoring YOU and your relationship with yourself is the MOST important part of building a strong relationship with someone else. Go into it knowing that you might not get the response from your partner just yet.  It is a work in progress but at least you are still being honest about the core issue that is REALLY bothering you and not masking it any longer. You’re actually dealing with the ‘triggers’ that we talked about last week. 

Now if your partner’s anger is abusive, that’s a whole other conversation! That one requires an in depth assessment, so give me a shout! 
If you need support with this reach out to me and set a time to speak with me. Please reach out if you need to… ♡ 
Three main things to remember:

1. Don’t take it personally. Don’t worry about this until AFTER you come out of the outburst when you’ve returned to your logical brain.
2. Get curious about what emotion is really being masked.
3. Get help to figure this all out if you need to. Do the deep healing your heart is aching for.

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