Negative Emotions: Anger

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by Melody Fletcher on March 6, 2012

If you’re like most people, anger makes you really uncomfortable – both feeling it and witnessing it in others. Anger scares us. It leads to violent outbursts and screaming. We’ve associated anger with horrible acts and feelings. When we get angry, we scream at each other, we even hurt and kill each other. There aren’t very many people who can witness someone in the throes of anger and not feel at least a little bit of discomfort. But anger doesn’t have to lead to explosive outbursts or violence and it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. In fact, it’s how we treat anger that’s led to most of the damage, not the anger itself. In it’s pure form (without our meddling), anger is actually an incredibly useful and healing emotion.

Watch the video to find out more:

Video Transcript:

I think anger is one of the most important and one of the most suppressed feelings, but also an incredibly healing emotion. Here’s why I say that: Anger results from a feeling of powerlessness. So, when you feel trapped in a situation, when you feel like you have no control over your life, when you feel depressed, when you feel like it’s all your fault, you are, in essence, turning 180 degrees away from Who You Really Are. Who You Really Are (your soul or higher self) knows that you’re one hundred percent worthy. You’re an infinitely powerful being. So, when you’re feeling power-LESS, you’re turning completely and totally away from who you really are. Nothing feels worse than that.

When you’re in this really low vibration (bad feeling place), you need to work your way up the emotional scale to get to something like joy. You don’t have access to joy and happiness from depression or powerlessness. When you feel powerless, you’re basically saying “There’s something wrong with me. I’m broken. It’s my fault.” The way out of that is to take your focus off of yourself and put it on someone else, or the world in general, or society, and say, “Maybe I’m not the one who’s broken. Maybe it’s not MY fault. Maybe it’s YOUR fault or THAT GUY’S fault.”

Anger is not the destination – it’s just a stop on the way

Now, you don’t want to get stuck in this state and you don’t want to end up there, but it’s the stage that you have to get through in order to get to the better feeling emotions. So, anger is a very natural emotion that results from the feeling of powerlessness. If we don’t get in our own way and we allow ourselves to feel angry and move through anger, the following happens:

When we feel powerless, we have a natural emotional response to that and we get angry. Anger takes us out of this state of powerlessness by giving us some of our power back, and then we move through that anger into frustration, into boredom, then contentment, gratitude, appreciation, knowing and joy. Done and dusted.

Mismanagement of Anger leads to ugly reactions

But this doesn’t generally happen. Because in our society we’ve been taught from a very early age that anger is not ok. Instead of being taught that certain displays of anger (like punching someone in the face) are not ok, most of us have been sent the message that the emotion of anger itself is not ok. So what happens instead is this:

We feel powerless, we’re in this horrible feeling place, and we naturally start to rise into anger. But then, we squash that anger because anger isn’t ok. We generally do this to ourselves (but if we don’t, others will do it for us.) That’s like putting a lid on a pressure cooker. The pressure will start to build. And just like with a pressure cooker, if the pressure continues to build, at the very least, it’s going to spring a leak. This is why someone who is usually calm and completely non-violent will go and get drunk and will just start wailing on some guy at the bar. When you feel powerless, when you feel like you have no control, taking it out on another person (basically, taking control of another person), feels better than where you are. These kinds of extreme reactions don’t happen unless that powerlessness has been brewing for a long time and hasn’t been allowed to escape. That pressure has to be allowed to build in order to lead to such behavior. This is why people commit acts of violence, why they steal from others, why they riot, why they loot, and why they kill each other.

When you have a whole segment of society that’s been kept in a powerless state for a long time and that pressure’s been cooking for a long time, people will take any chance that they can get to feel better. People don’t riot and loot because we’re all fundamentally flawed and we can’t have nice things and we’ll all destroy each other if given half a chance. If given half a chance, we will take any opportunity that we can get to feel better. When people have been in a really low vibration – a really powerless state – for a long time, this is when you get that kind of explosive, violent outbreak behavior.  It’s a rebellion against the feeling of powerlessness. And at the heart of that (being stuck in powerlessness, not the cause of the powerlessness) is an inability and/or unwillingness to get angry.

We don’t like angry people

Anger makes a lot of people really uncomfortable. We don’t like it when someone gets angry and so we send the message very quickly: “You shouldn’t be angry”. We teach this to children from a very young age. We incarcerate people who have displayed anger with no counseling or opportunity to express that anger. We don’t teach people to express anger in a safe way.

But that’s the thing: Anger does NOT have to be expressed in a way that involves shouting at other people, or smacking them in the face or hurting them in some other way. You can express anger in a safe way and actually, in a DELIBERATE way.

Deliberate Anger

So, if there’s a situation that has made you feel powerless or depressed, like you’re trapped or like you have no control over something (all of these are different forms of powerlessness), then the way to get out of that is to be angry. And you can get angry in a safe environment.

One thing that I coach my clients to do in this situation is to punch the couch. Yes, really. You can’t hurt the couch and you can’t hurt yourself (not recommended with leather couches…). And your couch can really take a beating. You might be surprised at how much rage comes up when you finally open the door to let it out. A lot of people never allow themselves to get angry. I’ve coached people into anger that have not allowed themselves to be angry in YEARS and the healing that happens when you finally allow that rage to come out is absolutely phenomenal. People have life changing experiences by finally allowing anger to release.

As I said, you’ll very naturally tend towards anger if you don’t squash it. So if you pay attention to how you feel emotionally, and you’re in a situation that makes you feel trapped or out of control or powerless in some way, you’re very naturally going to move into anger. And if you don’t squash it (and providing that you don’t have a lot of pent up anger from the past that you need to let go of), you’ll find that you’ll move through anger very, very quickly. You were never meant to spend a lot of time in powerlessness, and we were certainly never meant to get stuck in an angry phase. Anger doesn’t have to be this horrible display.

You’ll find that if you don’t have  a lot of pent up rage in you anymore and you allow things to happen naturally, that you’ll feel powerless, then you’ll move into anger and spend seconds or minutes there, and then WHOOSH! You’ll move into frustration and up the emotional scale. You’ll feel a lot better in minutes. It’s the squashing of the anger that causes all the problems.

Allow yourself to feel anger. Express is constructively and safely, punch the couch, scream at the walls, write an angry letter than you’re never going to send, do whatever you need to do in a safe way, but allow yourself to feel the anger and you’ll be absolutely amazed at how healing and cleansing that release will be.

What do you think? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be angry? Are you afraid to get angry? Do you generally block this emotion?

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{ 38 comments }

Glynis March 7, 2012 at 01:52

Obviously, I’m one of the lucky ones. My parents told me it was alright to be angry and voice it. That is as long as the voicing wasn’t a bunch of swear words and actually explained why I was angry. Angry for no reason was frowned upon however. Also, spouting off for an unreasonable length of time gets a frown as well. Through voicing the anger I can get past the feeling and get on to better things in my life.
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 02:35

Hey Glynis,

You were definitely one of the lucky ones. What wise parents you had. There’s no such thing as angry for no reason, though. Sometimes, we may not know why we’re angry or we can’t articulate it, but there’s always a reason. It’s awesome that you were taught to release your anger quickly and get past it. :)

Thanks so much for sharing this Glyins!

Huge hugs,
Melody
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Sylviane Nuccio March 7, 2012 at 03:13

Hi Melody,

Thank you for telling people to “allow” themselves to be angry as a way to heal from such anger.

It’s like when some idiots tell you “don’t cry”, but if you don’t cry when you need to, it’s absolutely not going to make thing better or go away, of course not. All it’s going to do is make it worse and it’s going to turn into some kind of negative emotions. Anyone who needs to cry should be allowed to cry.

Anger is like crying it’s a very natural emotion and if we try to ignore it or hold it back, we are going to do more damage than goods.

Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:00

Hey Sylviane,

Right on. People tell others not to cry because the crying makes THEM uncomfortable. They don’t want you to feel bad, but of course, stopping the crying doesn’t actually make us feel better. It simply stops the display of our emotions and then the people around us can pretend that we feel better and that makes them feel better. Because when we feel bad, others feel useless and powerless to help us. It comes from a good place, but as you pointed out, it’s not helpful.

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Jason Fonceca March 7, 2012 at 04:45

Woo… talk about an interesting topic, at least for me.

Due to a very intriguing series of events, I recently found myself in an Anger Management support group.

No one there knew what I did for a living, nor did they care.

They saw me completely as ‘one of them.’

What they taught in the class was a lot of personal responsibility, create-your-own-reality stuff that I’ve basically lived-and-breathed. They were busy talking about stats on violence, and I’d happily drop references to Gandhi, Mandela, and Tony Robbins.

I felt I could’ve taught the class and been immensely effective :P

They didn’t know my story. They didn’t know I’d been through homelessness, arrest, jail, betrayal, years of failure, loss of possessions, all with a SMILE. It stunned cops + lawyers. It surprised friends. I’m famous for my ability to maintain a positive outlook and attitude no matter what’s going on.

How many people confuse passion, with anger? How many people confuse anger with negativity?

I’m a very passionate man, and anger isn’t something I’ve accessed in awhile, or at least not something I’ve expressed unproductively — I *like* playing with ‘higher’ emotions… but it’s still a great emotion that exists.

See… I love anger. I was a pretty angry kid, it bubbled under the surface, and made me sick, but I love it so much. It played a hugely important role in my development.

Often whatever is your ‘deepest wound’ as child becomes your greatest strength as an adult.

Well… I was a bitter, cynical, angry, influential, genius-child.
What am I now? :)

One final note:

There was a post on here recently about Jesus, and people generally think of him as some peaceful dude, but I always recall the stories that show he was human and felt everything we all feel, from time to time.

Tipping the table in anger, crying out “why have you forsaken me”, chilling with thieves and hookers, etc.

Jesus was cool with anger, and so am I.

Anyway, thanks for the space :D

Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:06

Hey Jason,

Wow. What a powerful comment. It sounds like you’ve not only made your peace with anger to some extent but actually found a way to let it fuel you. I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to process anger, as long as it actually brings you relief and makes you feel better. Everyone has to find the perspective that works for them. I think the most important realization is that anger is an emotion that we are experiencing. We are not anger and it is not us. We do not have to be a slave to it. So, when we get angry, it’s immensely helpful to realize that we are having an emotional experience. Even if we can do nothing else at that moment, that realization will help to bring us back around when we’re ready.

When I get really upset (and yes, of course that happens), I can’t shift to happy in that moment. Often, there’s nothing I can do but just allow the feelings to happen so that they can pass. I just have to go with it. But knowing that I will not always feel that way, even if I can’t find my way out of it that very second, knowing that this too shall pass, really helps. It empowers me. I might not be able to feel better in that exact moment, but I know that I WILL feel better eventually. So all I have to do is wait a bit, let it run its course and I’ll make it through.

Thank you so much for sharing so powerfully here today!

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Jason Fonceca March 9, 2012 at 03:24

I 100% agree with you, and as usual, you’re solidly based on LoA.

Something a lot of people forget though is that it is *steps* to ryze up the emotional scale, but at the same time it is utterly possible to take the steps very quickly, moment-to-moment, and for all outside appearances “jump” from anger to joy in the space of a second or two.

Rare? Yes.
Masterful? Yes.
Do-able? Yes.

:)

Melody Fletcher March 9, 2012 at 22:46

Yep. Quantum Leaps. I don’t recommend them, and they shouldn’t be the goal (because they often lead to a rebound and feeling worse than when once got started), but they are possible. I’ve done a few myself. They are not comfortable, but they are life changing. :)

Jason Fonceca March 10, 2012 at 21:16

Hmm… I may have been less-clear-than-I-wanted.

I wasn’t talking about quantum leaps, I was talking about this:

INTERNAL JOURNEY
1. Jason is ANGRY at random person in his life who settles and lives in fear.
2. Jason consciously drops the anger for FRUSTRATION – like it’s annoying, but everyone has their path.
3. Jason then gets BORED of recycling frustrating thoughts about the situation.
4. Instead he decides to HOPE things get better… fast :P
5. He gets OPTIMISTIC that if he holds a pure desire to attract fulfilling, uplifting people who live dominantly in passion, he can have that in his life.
6. He POSITIVELY EXPECTS this to happen, because of his change in focus.
7. He feels EMPOWERED and JOYOUS about the whole thing.

EXTERNAL JOURNEY:
Jason walks a few steps in silence, his facial expressions change, and then he decides to celebrate with his friend. This happens in a few seconds or minutes.

Does the friend know what happened? Not really.
Does it look like a “quantum leap?” Yes.

Is this ‘fast progress’ the domain of a masterful focuser and someone self-aware of their thoughts and feelings purely and powerfully? Definitely.

Can *everyone* do this? Yep. Will they? No, that’d be a boring world. Can we be one of the masterful ones? It’s our choice.

Did that add any clarity?
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Melody Fletcher March 11, 2012 at 17:09

Ah! Thanks for clarifying. In this case, you are shifting incrementally, but rapidly. And you’re right, anyone can do it, but it takes some practice. First, we shift more slowly on issues. Over time, we get better and better at it until we do it in seconds. I find it depends on the issue. Some things I can shift out of instantly, but big things that have not come up before may take a great deal longer. But as I clean up more and more “stuff”, I not only gain more ability to shift quickly, but I find I don’t have to shift nearly as much in the first place. I simply no longer get triggered as much. Gawd, I love this work!

Huge hugs!
Melody

Lou March 7, 2012 at 05:17

Hi Melody, enjoying your insights immensley and you’re right on when u say that most people are’nt open or “Ready” to hear “truth”, only their truth based on their experiences and stringent upbringing, u could’nt pound the truth into them with a sledgehammer if u tried. I think that until they’ve undergone certain experiences, or have reached a certain plateau in their lives, only then will they really “Hear” what u are telling them, they can’t decipther “Spiritual” truths from their physical truths and u are really in essence, wasting your words on them. I really have to choose carefully who I share my thoughts with, otherwise they’ll think I’m nuts. You become the brunt of many a joke behind your back, a mistake I will not repeat. Thank you Melody, thank u for your candor and koool manner of speading your insights. I’m sure we’ll be sharing more if it’s ok with you, keep up the terrific work..

Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:07

Hi Lou,

You’re so welcome. Of course it’s ok that you share, in fact, it’s highly encouraged! I hope to see you around more. :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Paige | simple mindfulness March 7, 2012 at 05:29

More great insights! Reading Sylviane’s comment reminded me of my childhood where anger, along with any other emotion, wasn’t safe to express. My dad used corporal punishment (a few good whacks with his leather belt) when we misbehaved. I remember often as a child being told to “shut up or I’ll hit you again.” Obviously I developed some pent up anger over that.

In my early adult life, I was one of those quiet people that would unexpectedly blow when all the little things added up enough. I thought I was doing well if it only came out once or twice a year.

Now, thankfully, I know better. When I’m expressing anger, I take a deep breath and do my best to explain how I’m allowing something to bother me. I used to blame others for my anger but that only makes things worse. Thinking about how I’m allowing something to get to me helps to slow down the vicious energy and move through it. I think about (or try to feel) what my fear is and go there to dissolve the fear. Yes, the fear is usually of some form of powerlessness. I accept the way things are or change what I can and move forward without the anger.

Thanks for another great perspective Melody!
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:13

Hey Paige,

That’s awesome that you’ve found a way to evaluate and release your anger. Often, when we realize what the anger is ACTUALLY about, it really helps us to let it go.

To me, personally, I think corporal punishment belongs in an era where parents didn’t respect their children as people. Having to exert your dominance over a small child with physical violence can’t be the best way. I’m not talking about a smack on the hand if the child is about to grab a power saw, but an actual beating. That said, I know that even though many children have gone through it, they have the ability to release the beliefs this may have triggered or created. But I’m still glad that this kind of discipline is on the way out. Phew! Whole new discussion there! :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
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kelli cooper March 7, 2012 at 06:39

Hi Melody
Wow, the timing of my reading this post/watching the video was incredible. I just have come from a situation where I got angry and did not hold back expressing it. Nothing violent or wild, but more emotional than I tend to get. Like most people, something small started it but it was really about larger issues I was having with the other person and I put it all out there. Part of me was feeling guilty for expressing this and it was probably due to a mix of the programming we receive that showing anger is not okay and the faulty idea that personal development work should equal never feeling ”negative”’emotions. I found my expression to be quite constructive because it was not just about random shouting, I was expressing how I feel, whether those feelings were right or wrong was irrelevant; I needed to get it out there.

I agree with you that it is important to find healthy ways to express anger and that it is not something that we should just try to suppress, that will only work for so long
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:17

Hey Kelli,

Isn’t it incredible when you’re able to express your actual feelings to someone in the moment? I’ve found that even if we’re upset and it makes the other person uncomfortable, if we can be authentic and express what’s really going on, what we’re really experiencing, it stops the argument in it’s tracks and takes it to a whole new level. When people are able to communicate authentically, there’s a much greater chance that issues will get resolved.

Whatever people are arguing about, it’s never ABOUT what they’re arguing about. There’s always a deeper reason. Always. And if we can access that deeper reason and talk about what’s really going on, something beautiful happens. People stop being defensive and start listening to each other. It doesn’t guarantee that everything will be resolved, there’s too many variables at play, but with authenticity, resolution is almost impossible.

Thanks for sharing your experience here!

Huge hugs,
Melody
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veehcirra March 7, 2012 at 07:18

Melody am so glad you talked about anger. It is a very powerful emotion, they say that we should never make decisions when we are angry and never make promises when we are happy…

It’s true we should allow ourselves to feel the anger and let it flow out of us. When am angry,I cry buckets of tears and write out all my frustrations on paper. Then I chew the paper and throw it away lol. The feeling afterward is always much better.Suppressing anger takes to much energy, it makes me feel so helpless like you have described. Letting it go is always such a relief.

Thanks ;)

Veeh
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:19

Hey Veeh,

I like that. Chewing up the paper. Ha. For a lot of people, just acknowledging that they are angry helps a lot. Pretending that they’re “fine” keeps them stuck where they are. An angry person with a smiley mask. It sounds like you’ve found a great and safe way to release your anger. Bravo! Thanks for sharing your technique here!

Huge hugs,
Melody
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Derrek March 7, 2012 at 14:37

Hulk Smaaasshhh!!

Love the pic, love the article, but more than anything…love the video thumbnail. It looks like you’re playing with an imaginary keyboard, making an adorable face. :D

Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:22

Ha, Ha Derrek. I’m glad my choice of thumbnail (which is basically the one that makes me look the least retarded… Youtube doesn’t give me much of a choice) makes you happy. Anything for my readers. :D
Oh, and you get extra points for calling me adorable.

Huge Hulk hugs!
Melody
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Mary Carol March 7, 2012 at 15:27

Hi Melody,

I had to think about this one overnight. As a child and young adult, I was totally out of touch with anger. I didn’t even know what it felt like, or how to find it. Slowly I learned to recognize my own anger, always in hindsight – oh, I was angry about that yesterday. Slowly, the time gap shortened.

Now I hardly ever get angry, and I thought it was because my life is pretty serene. You’ve made me wonder if I’ve slipped back into repressing. Thank you for the idea of looking for a sense of helplessness as a signal for anger. Every few months, I get to feeling trapped by wherever I live. Maybe I can get angry instead of always moving!

Fran Sorin mentioned self-anger this morning, and that seems like a useful thing to think about. I’m not sure how self-anger works with LOA – it seems counter-intuitive. Isn’t it amazing how all this extra energy in the world is bringing more and more to the surface! Exhausting at times, but it feels like growth.

You mention feeling trapped and powerless. I wonder if anxiety could also be a sign of unexpressed anger. More to ponder…

Thanks and hugs, Melody! Enjoy the day!

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:27

Hey Mary Carol,

Don’t worry too much about not feeling anger often. But when it wants to come up, let it. If you’re feeling trapped, then anger would take you out of that, yes. Quite some powerful insights there.

Self-anger is destructive. When I coach people into and through anger, the first thing to watch out for is that they don’t direct that anger at themselves. Generally, when someone has been angry for a long time, it’s because they won’t allow themselves to be angry with anyone else. They feel guilty about it and they shut it down. So they get angry, but they direct it at themselves, which keeps them stuck there. To move out of that, we have to blame someone else, for fate or the world. We don’t want to get stuck there, either, but just for a little bit, it feels better than blaming ourselves. When we shut down any part of the process, we tend to get stuck in it.

It’s possible that anxiety is caused by unexpressed anger, but not always. Anxiety has different causes (It’s always a limiting belief, but not necessarily one of powerlessness). Although I would guess that anger will ease anxiety more often than not. :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Katherine Gordy Levine March 7, 2012 at 19:01

So glad you had a transcript. Hearing problems would have made listening difficult.

As I told you before, my husband and I cared as foster parents for an every changing group of teens in trouble with the law and unable to live with their parents. Some were depressed, most felt shamed, and many were angry. We were a study home and each teen lived with us an average of five or six weeks. We cared for four at a time.

Before becoming a foster parent, I was a clinician, taught at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and would have agreed with everything you say and believe about anger. My foster children gave me a reality check.

We hung the proverbial punching bag in the rec room. Your version of punching the couch. Worked well for one set of kids, but turned another group into out of control anger freaks, smashing walls, attacking others.

That is my major objection to books and views promoting things like The Laws of Attraction. What works for some is destructive for others.

Oprah says “If I did it anyone can.” Not true. Oprah was an incredibly talented woman–luck. She was in the right place at the right time–luck. No black woman would have been allowed on white tv twenty years earlier. She had suffered enough but not so much that she couldn’t go on–luck. Some would even say her drive is a matter of luck–the right genes and not too much trauma.

Not recognizing the “Luck” factor in meeting some of our goals leads directly to what you are fighting against. Feeling ashamed and powerless. I mentioned Jerome Kagan in my earlier conversations with you. He is one of the few human development theorists to suggest what he calls “Chance” as one of the major factors in making us who we are.

Thinking luck is part of the equation can create the problem of not trying to do all you can to assure your own success. However, as a Cranky Old Lady, and one who has achieved far more than she dreamt possible, I think more harm is done by thinking everyone can get all they want by their behavior. Not true. The ones who can usually have more resources, more talent, and more luck than the ones who don’t make it. The ones who don’t make it are seen as at fault and morally inferior.

One other point, you say that ” When people have been in a really low vibration – a really powerless state – for a long time, this is when you get that kind of explosive, violent outbreak behavior. It’s a rebellion against the feeling of powerlessness. And at the heart of that (being stuck in powerlessness, not the cause of the powerlessness) is an inability and/or unwillingness to get angry.”

Actually, that is not true. People at the lowest end of the vibration scale, as you call it, are not the ones rioting. The truly traumatized work only to survive and have no time or energy left to riot. Trauma shuts people down, the end point of facing a traumatic situation in which you are powerless is unconsciousness. Your body forces you to faint. If you survive, most often,thereafter, when your anxiety is re-triggered, that anxiety shuts down your capacity to think clearly or act wisely.

Those who riot still have hope, feel some power, and, of course, are helped by being surrounded by those who feel the same. So essentially the Laws of Attraction work for those of us I would say are among “The Worried Well” or the “Trauma Survivors.” That is not to deny anyone’s struggles or pain, but to recognized two things: their strength and their good fortunate in being able to stay above the pain and move on as Oprah did.

Katherine
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Melody Fletcher March 7, 2012 at 22:45

Hey Katherine,

I knew you were going to bring a really interesting viewpoint to this discussion. :)

Of course, every technique I publish isn’t going to work for everyone. I greatly simplify concepts and break them down one by one so that they become easier to understand, but in real life, it’s just not that clean. If that were the case, we could use a cookie-cutter approach to everyone and we’d all be happy. There is never just one belief at work and not everyone manifests beliefs in the same way (the same belief in two people can manifest in drastically different ways). So it makes perfect sense that some kids responded well to the punching bad and some didn’t. They may have been stuck in powerlessness, but what else was going on? Not everyone expresses anger the same way and as you so eloquently pointed out in the last post’s comments, some expressions of anger will actually make anger worse for some people. So each person requires their own, unique approach. These explanations are meant to give a guideline so people who are trying to heal themselves without a professional know where to start and have an idea of how to proceed.

I also agree that the concepts of the Law of Attraction have been greatly simplified by people like Oprah in order to get them out to the masses. A lot is left out because the general populace wouldn’t be able to digest it. But when we try to understand the actual principles, we have to go deeper. Personally, I don’t believe in luck. I find the concept dis-empowering, and it makes no sense to me given the framework of how we create our realities. But that’s my understanding. Some people find the concept of luck empowering, and if that’s the case, I have no issue with it. Some people find the idea of creating our own reality horrible. They don’t see it as a way to take control of their own destiny, but rather an indictment of how everything in their lives must then be their fault. I greatly discourage that point of view. I try to teach empowerment and whatever view point gets people closer to that is the right one for them at that time. The concept isn’t nearly as important as the state of being it creates.

Some people find Oprah inspirational. They see what she’s accomplished and they begin to take charge of their own lives. They dream bigger, take bolder action, overcome their fears and dare to hope again. Others see her as someone who was in the right place at the right time and the exception, not the rule. If you feel good following Oprah’s example, do it. If not, don’t. :)

I want to clarify the statement about prolonged states of powerlessness causing violent outbursts. There are many different degrees of powerlessness. I never intended to say that the lowest form of powerlessness causes violence, simply that the cause of behaviors such as looting and rioting are the result of powerlessness. But you’re right – these behaviors are actually a sign of peoples shifting up and trying to take their power back. People who riot are those who are sick and tired of feeling powerless and can’t take it anymore. Emotionally speaking, this is a sign of growth.

I totally agree that those who are stuck in powerlessness to the degree that they can’t move up at all are not anywhere near anger or violence. They shut down. Often, the best thing they can do is to sleep a lot, to allow this shut down so that they can heal. Even anger is too far of a jump for them. I would never advise such an individual to attempt self-healing, though and I doubt if they could even find this site.

Thank you so much for being willing to share your valuable perspective.

Huge hugs!
Melody

Brian March 8, 2012 at 08:55

Upon reading this post, I recall an unwritten rule of our high school gang; If one feels angry to another, let him express it. After the guys have slugged it out, it will then be time for negotiations. At least both are able to vent their spleen.
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Katherine Gordy Levine March 8, 2012 at 17:46

Teaches bullying Brian. The strongest one learns the pleasure of dominating; the weaker one the futility of fisticuffs. Might be a useful lesson for the weaker one, but as I watch the quest for nukes among the world’s bullies, I despair.

Of course, I always did prefer brains over brawn. But physically I was the weaker one. All humans love to win, and the trick is winning without creating shame in the other.
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Melody Fletcher March 8, 2012 at 21:15

Hey Brian!

It sounds like you guys did your best to try and figure out how to express your anger at the time. I wouldn’t recommend physically beating the crap out of each other, but if that’s the best you could do at the time, then I’m sure it brought a form of relief and resolution. The key is that after both parties released their anger, they were able to talk it out. That’s important, because we can release anger in more constructive ways and the same will hold true – after it’s released, we are able to think again, possibly even see the other person’s point of view. We remember what we want, instead of just reacting defensively. Slugging it out is one way. Punching the couch is another. Once we become more conscious of this process, we can learn to release anger in a way of our choosing, instead of in whatever way presents itself in the moment. :)

Thanks so much for sharing!

Huge hugs,
Melody
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Katherine Gordy Levine March 8, 2012 at 18:46

Melody, LUCK is part of life. Maybe you have a different name for what many call luck.

People pray for G-d’s blessings and feel blest or not. A sense of control is often maintained because self-blame too often becomes part of explaining why prayers are not answered. Can lead to fanaticism and such practices as self-flagellation. A former Catholic nun I knew told me she wore a hair shirt with barbs into it stop her evil thoughts. Didn’t work. Not healthy, and I am sure you agree. Leaving the church and warning others of problems like that within the church was far healthier.

Another healthier explanation for when prayers aren’t answered is that G-d has his/her eye on the bigger picture. For me this means no matter how devoutly I pray or how carefully I follow the Ten Commandments, if my needs run counter to the needs of the broader universe, I won’t get my way. Doesn’t make be feel shamed or forgotten, just a fact of human life–all life on earth. I am not the center of the universe. And yes, there are certainly times my prayers are answered, just as there are miracles.

That is my first response to the question of luck or chance. I am caring for my Grandchildren and will add more later.

Grannykat as I am known to my Grands.

Perhaps, you believe
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Melody Fletcher March 8, 2012 at 21:22

Hey Katherine,

“if my needs run counter to the needs of the broader universe, I won’t get my way.” For me, I would restate this as “If what I think I need run counter to what I REALLY want, I won’t get my way.” It’s a different perspective, but the outcome is essentially the same. You’ve put your finger right on it – the important thing is that our beliefs bring us peace. If we feel ashamed, diminished, unworthy because of what we believe, if we feel that God is punishing us or that we’ve done something wrong and therefore aren’t allowed to be happy, then our beliefs are not serving us. The key is always in how we feel. Many people put their faith in God and it brings them great peace. Others put their faith it God and it makes them miserable, like the nun you mentioned. It’s not WHAT we believe that’s so important, but rather how it makes us feel. Does it bring us peace? Does it make us happy? Does it resonate with us and make sense to us? If a belief doesn’t fit that criteria, we should keep searching.

This also makes it easier to allow other people’s beliefs. If the criteria is “How does it make you feel?” instead of “What do you believe?”, then I no longer need you to believe what I do. My only question is “Are you happy? Are you at peace?”. It opens the door for people to share their beliefs and discuss them without feeling threatened by differing views.

Grannykat. I love it! How cute is that.

Huge hugs (puppy hugs. Don’t be scared. This puppy loves “kats”. Ha.)

Melody
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Emanuele @ Freedom and courage March 10, 2012 at 14:32

In my experience, anger is actually fear. To scold children because they show anger, is to tell them that we aren’t interested in the causes of their fear. It’s the same as to say that we aren’t interested in them as long as they behave. When adults, those children will learn to ignore the causes of their fear and to blame themselves for being angry, instead of investigating the causes of their fear. That’s a recipe for unhappiness. I used to do that a lot. When angry, I felt guilty for that. It’s the same as to say that I punished myself for being scared. Later, I learned not to punish myself and to try to understand the causes of my fear and to take care of it. Life went much better.
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Melody Fletcher March 10, 2012 at 18:54

Hey Emanuele,

I think what you call fear is what I call powerlessness. I would say that fear results from powerlessness – it’s the emotional response (semantics…) It’s amazing how many people feel guilt around anger. This is how we shut ourselves down. Often, we feel guilty just because of the anger itself, or for being angry with someone we love. It feels disloyal, as if we can’t love someone and be allowed to be angry with them at times. We’ve gotten such a distorted view of anger and our emotions in general. If we just allowed them to happen naturally, we’d all feel a lot better. :)

Thanks for adding to the conversation!

Huge hugs!
Melody

Emanuele @ Freedom and courage March 11, 2012 at 13:24

Hi Melody,

Yes, you are right, powerlessness and fear come together.
If I feel powerless, I am also scared. If I feel empowered, I am also fearless.

Be well
Emanuele

Katherine Gordy Levine March 13, 2012 at 02:01

Lots of good thoughts from many. Emanuele and I seem to agree one place anger starts is in fear. As I noted previously, the fear is usually of being hurt. And it should be noted we can be hurt not just physically, but in many other ways. Feeling powerless is a hurt.

The tricky thing to tie some of the various comments together remains how to deal with the fear, the powerlessness, and if it develops, the anger.

The students of emotion make the point that what one does with one’s fear is determined most frequently whether one believes the other person is weaker and can be out powered. That is when anger and attack develop. If one feels that is impossible, then fear and powerlessness grow. Now there is also always the testing of those times, you think you might win and of course sometimes you do.

I oppose suggestions of duking it out or encouraging children to do the same. The one who wins only learns to be more physical, the one who is beaten only feels more hurt and powerlessness. Not helpful and is part of what makes the world a dangerous place.

I had one other thought Melody about feelings and belief. Let me frame it as a question as I am not sure what you are saying. You say “The key is always in how we feel.” But right before that you say: “the important thing is that our beliefs bring us peace. If we feel ashamed, diminished, unworthy because of what we believe, if we feel that God is punishing us or that we’ve done something wrong and therefore aren’t allowed to be happy, then our beliefs are not serving us.

So do feelings determine beliefs or beliefs determine feelings? And that is too simplistic, but you do say you try to keep things simple so others will understand.

Being a Grannykat keeps me busy, so I cannot always respond in a timely fashion. But I will respond in time.

Enjoying the conversation.
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Melody Fletcher March 13, 2012 at 21:02

Hey Katherine,

There’s never a rush. Respond when you feel like it. It will always be perfect. :)

I also would never recommend that someone duke it out. That flies in the face of what I teach: which is that the way we feel is all about US, not THEM. It’s not about proving them wrong or overpowering them. It’s about figuring out why exactly we are mad in the first place… And that has nothing to do with the other person. They were kind enough (on a soul level) to mirror our limiting beliefs back to us. Beating them up for it doesn’t seem right. ;)

Our emotions are a feedback system that tell us if what we think and believe (and our beliefs are just thoughts that we keep thinking habitually) is serving us or not.
So, when we don’t like the way we feel, we can trace that feeling back to a thought that isn’t serving us (or is “false”, according to our own truth). When we then change our thoughts or perspective, we change the way we feel.

For example, if your sister criticizes you and you find yourself wanting to punch her in the face, you could walk away, calm down a bit and evaluate what happened. You got angry. You don’t like to be angry. You figure out that your sister’s criticism of you made you feel worthless. You have a belief of worthlessness. That’s obviously not a belief that you want to keep. So, you work to shift this belief and over time, you begin to feel more worthy. As you do this, criticisms have less and less power to make you angry. You’re no longer afraid that they might be right and your emotional response changes. That’s in a teensy nutshell. :)

Have a wonderful time with the Grankittens! ;)

Huge hugs,
Melody
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Alice July 13, 2012 at 06:57

Great angry blog! :-)

1) Why do authority figures get angry? They have lots of power over one or many people.

2) Why is the bible Lord always so angry in the old testament? He’s OMNIPOTENT! :-)

3) What about people who have terrible tempers and allow themselves to express anger too much? Is my hot-headed father actually doing the right thing?

4) Anger, sadness and happiness are on different parts of the emotional scale. What about ambivalence? I can be all of those at same time. Angry with tears, Angry and happy to yell… mixed together.

The emotional scale just under neutral and boredom… Who would move into boredom? (on purpose)

Melody Fletcher July 13, 2012 at 18:58

Hey Alice,

That there’s another blog post, by dear. I have added your questions to the list.

Bravo, you.

Hugs,
Melody
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Alice July 14, 2012 at 06:38

WOW. That’s great to be helpful. *weird feelings* Hey I push,push push, jump around with people and then when I get a result or something comes of it (used to being dismissed) there’s happiness but slight embarassment. I’m always commenting then wanting to delete my comments. Then I post another one! lol. I don’t know what I’m doing. Just call me senile. :-)

Melody Fletcher July 16, 2012 at 20:43

Nope. You’re not senile. You’re exploring and discovering and hungry for knowledge and clarity and you’re gobbling up all you can and having all kinds of thoughts. It’s beautiful to watch. :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
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