- michelle m. davis
Releasing the Anger Within
This past week someone triggered me, causing me to become angry, an emotion I rarely permit myself to experience. She didn’t mean to do it, and I suspect it would totally shock her if I explained what occurred. Afterall, her actions had no connection to me. Nevertheless, this event pushed a button I never knew existed causing an explosion within.
At first, I misidentified the cause of my intense sensation, blaming others’ behavior as the cause for these intense unidentifiable feelings. But several days later, when I finally paused and permitted myself to feel what was really happening inside of me, I realized my anger came from elsewhere—from a former life experience I’d banished, buried deep within. I guess I wasn’t ready to deal with it at the time, so I pretended the pain wasn’t there. But it was … and finally, the anguish I’d hidden was ready to be seen.
When I had breast cancer in 2011, I allowed myself to feel fear, but not anger. How could I be angry? They found the cancer and would remove it. I had access to excellent treatment—double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and tamoxifen—that would help eradicate the tumors. I was one of the lucky ones. My doctors were optimistic with the plan.
Fear and gratitude … those were the only two emotions allowed. Fear felt natural for me, a familiar sensation I knew how to process. And how could I not be grateful … that the cancer was detected… that I had incredible doctors … that I had loving support from family and friends?
Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge my reoccurring fears about the cancer returning. Yet I have been comforted by my gratitude. It’s become a balance that I’ve learned to live with.
Yet, this past weekend, a new emotion appeared … anger.
Now for those of you who know me, I don’t think you’d label me an angry person. Sure, I become angry, but I try not to let it consume me. Instead, I employ strategies—I go for a run, journal, or get on my yoga mat—and slowly, my vibration rises, and I return to my normal self.
However, this was different, as it seemed to come from nowhere. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, so I tried to project, find an excuse for this unexplained sensation within. Only afterwards did I understand the source.
The truth—that I’ve suppressed—is I’m angry I had cancer … that it took away my breasts, my hair, so much of who I was as a woman. I don’t like the implants, how that part of my body now looks. It’s unnatural, contrived, fake … so not who I am. But I needed something because what I had was dangerous and needed to be removed.
When I see myself in a bathing suit, yoga clothing, or sundresses, I often don’t recognize the woman in the mirror because she is not who I want to see. I hate the side boobs, how the implants become cold during winter weather, and the scars.
But then, in the midst of this frustration for what is, gratitude returns, and I’m reminded of the exchange I made to continue life on this beautiful planet and to be with those I love. I think of friends who weren’t so lucky, who despite all they did, did not survive.
So, while the angry child within wants a different reality and the obstinate adolescent tries to fix what is by controlling other aspects of my life, I am now attempting to feel the intensity of this buried anger so I can fully process it and finally release the emotion, freeing myself from its negative impact.
Yet, for me to fully do this, I must shine the light on what finally is ready to be seen … anger, something I’ve always told myself is wrong to feel.
But you know what’s funny … gratitude is suddenly resurfacing … for having this eruption of emotions when I least expected it. It took over ten years for me to finally acknowledge my anger. But when another’s benign actions triggered me, while at first confusing, I can now understand so many feelings, attitudes, and reactions that caused me discomfort.
Releasing intense emotions often challenges the mind and hurts the heart, but it also frees the soul from the heavy burden of hiding what wants to be seen. I am forever grateful to the individual who unknowingly prompted my reaction. Finally, I am able admit my anger, something I’d hidden due to shame and guilt.