acknowledging anger’s function (since a whole spirit is inclusive)


This is all about de-emphasizing any singular importance to anger, though to do that, we also may recognize a functionality for anger. Many of us may have “collapsed” (interlocked) anger and fear to such an extent that we are afraid to ever display anger, thus we may not recognize the value of anger (or fear). Of course, there is also tremendous value in knowing how to inhibit anger (or at least in inhibiting DISPLAYS of anger… or fear).

From being punished and so forth, we learn to fear displaying anger, so we inhibit it- sometimes to the extent that we are numb or blind or insensitive to our own anger until it surprises us or someone else. That capacity to inhibit is adaptive (contextually). Of course, so is anger itself, or else why would evolution (or God) produce and keep it?

In pretending to be angry, pick something you used to be angry about, then pretend to still be angry about it. Even talking about something you used to be angry about and demonstrating how you used to be about it IS pretending to still be angry.


Anger (Photo credit: ZORIN DENU)

Pretending to be angry is expressing any anger that is not currently “sincere.” It is imagining what being angry is like. You can use an old sincere anger of yours or anything else. You can tell a joke or story in which you demonstrate the anger of a particular character.

Consider that those who are “overwhelmed” may be experiencing motivation to express something which they have learned to inhibit. For instance, if it seems that anger is overwhelming, that could be due to inhibiting it. So, the typical response to “overwhelm” is further inhibiting the immediate perceived source of overwhelm. Another alternative is to safely explore the possibility of raising or lowering inhibition. Inhibition can be functional, and so can anger, as well as fear, and even overwhelm.


Raiva-Ager-Icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overwhelm is a signal. Understanding the signal of overwhelm, one recognizes the alternative to reduce any inhibitions on self-expression. Self-expression is also functional, though there are many ways to express anything and which form of expression manifests may correspond precisely to the context of one’s commitments.

When anger is inhibited severely, physical symptoms may manifest. When anger is completely uninhibited, that can be even less functional. Between no inhibition at all- like an infant- and total inhibition, there is a broad range of possible functionalities, as well as even the functionality of expressing anger one does not identify as one’s own. If others seem angry but are not expressing it, it may even be a service to display anger directly or even just tell a story or joke involving anger.

Expressing anger is a way to interrupt someone else’s process, redirecting their attention to you and possibly further to our own focus. For instance, if I tell you that I am angry about some political proposal, first your attention is invited to me personally and second to the target of my anger.

Functionally, these two are the same communications with a potentially insignificant variation in form: “Give me another damn cookie right now!” “Dear, if you would be so kind, can you give me another cookie, please?”

Also, noticing that blaming and justifying are just a few possible ways to focus, I invite you to question any blaming or justifying, such as: “I am right about this issue and anyone who does not agree with me that I am right, well, hmph, they do not even deserve my attention, which is why I am telling you and anyone else who will listen to me go on about them and about how wrong they are and how justified I am in my rejection or even condemnation of them.” In other words, “pay attention to me and the target or focus of my attention, pretty please… damn it!

Published on: Mar 29, 2010

Emotions associated with anger

Emotions associated with anger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angry cat

Angry cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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2 Responses to “acknowledging anger’s function (since a whole spirit is inclusive)”

  1. william60 Says:

    As a great spiritual leader stated, “anger comes from a false sense of self”, however, their are times when we must express our feelings, no matter the type of emotion they take on.”” Ego, first thought wrong””, is a good rule of thumb to not abuse others with anger! To act with humility, which takes daily practice, to make progress, not perfection For, perfection is to be right!


    • jrfibonacci Says:

      As we mature, we not only recognize the power of anger, but the importance of being responsible with how we deliver it, if at all. Of course, when there is rage that is “internalized” or repressed, that physical tension can eventually manifest in sudden, explosive outbursts. So, it is natural for parents, society, and each of us to be attentive to what works and what fits best.

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