Anger and the Empath

Anger is a tricky emotion. When I feel it in people, it feels like a wind storm.  There is such much swirling and debris.  It is explosive.  It arises in people quickly and sometimes dissipates quickly. Depending on the underlining catalyst, anger is unpredictable to me. I can never see it coming.  When people are taken over by the swirling forces of their own anger, I fight through the storm to try and help calm them.  It isn’t until the person is calm that I can feel/see what the catalyst is.  People use a lot of words to describe why they believe they are angry, but it isn’t until the dust settles that they can really see it.

“Anger is suppressed sadness turned outward.” I have read this quote many times from psychologists over the years, and I agree one hundred percent, but why do we turn sadness into anger and then fling it at our fellow man?

I spoke with a woman through a private reading the other day. I read a photograph of her and another man.  I could feel their long history together, and even though I knew that this was her husband, he did not feel that way to me.  He was emotionally closed off to her.  He loved her in that deep, timeworn way, but he was tired of her.  He was tired of her anger and her judgment and her demands.  When I voiced this to her, she was saddened.

“Yes,” she said, “we’ve had our issues over the years, but is it done?  Can we fix this?”

“I don’t know,” I answered.  “I feel like he is tired of the “bullshit”.  She proceeded to explain that three years ago his sister threw a fiftieth birthday party for him, and his sister invited her and their four children to the party as if they were merely guests.  She was furious and hurt.  She raged out against the sister for such a slight.  She was furious at her husband for not supporting her.  Apparently it is an argument that has lasted for three years.  The anger that she felt over this was still so strong.

“What are you really upset about?” I asked.  “Is it really about his sister?”

“No,” she answered.  “I am upset that he didn’t choose me. He didn’t have my back.  He never has my back.”

“So why do you want to be with this man if this is how it feels to be with him?”  I asked.

“Well,” she answered.  “I love him.”  And I believed her because she believed herself, but what she described didn’t sound like love.  I could feel her strong desire to remain angry, to still be so incredibly resistant to the idea of forgiveness.

Love cannot thrive where anger swirls.  It’s there underneath the anger, but it can’t flow and be healthy.  It will be trapped underneath the swirling dust of anger, waiting for a break, but it can not exist in the same space. The amount of time you spend feeding your anger you are making the choice to push away love.  How can anyone expect to have a loving relationship when your primary emotion when you are with that person is love.

I told her that right now she had a choice.  This man’s door was closed against her.  He was still contacting her, so she still had hope they could get back together, but she would have to deal with her anger first.  She could drop her anger and forgive this man for his transgressions or she could turn away from the door and work on herself to determine why she felt this angry for three years.  She needed to start to do the inner work or she would continue to drive her husband away.

Anger feels powerful when it is happening because it is a powerful emotion, but it does not make a person any stronger.  It is a destroyer of relationships and often has disastrous consequences. It is a storm only you can control.

Love and Light, you fine people!!

photography of woman surrounded by sunflowers
Photo by Andre Furtado on