I was talking with someone today who is about, with some resistance, to begin the Anger Burning Exercise in Phase Eight. He expressed what I know some people feel when they’re preparing to do this exercise, which is, Is this just going to open up a can of worms?
It’s a reasonable concern considering that when we’re healing our broken heart it can feel we have enough to deal with without diving deeper into our anger. But the reality is that our unreleased anger is hurting us, and not dealing with it head-on can impede our healing.
We’re all too accustomed to the cyclical pattern of anger. We get mad, verbally or physically express our anger, feel better for a while and wait for it all to happen again. We temporarily lower our “anger temperature” by blowing up, then without realizing it, we make our way back to the starting line and wait for the gun to go off again the next time we get sufficiently angry about something.
Let’s think of this process visually. Imagine a “pod” of anger shooting out of your mouth with an energetic emotional umbilical cord attached to it. The umbilical cord gets stretch taught causing the pod to burst open and your anger spews out. Time passes while your anger is batted around either by you or by people reacting to it. Once everything starts to settle down, the pod vacuums up the anger it sent flying and your emotional umbilical cord pulls it all back inside of you. Nothing is released.
To release anger, to burn it off, means that it leaves you and does not return. You can always add new anger into the mix, but the impact of both your historical and heartbreak related anger can be eliminate by staying with the Anger Burning Exercise.
As we know, the anger that comes up as a result of a broken heart is not solely about your ex and the lost relationship. Your history of wounding plays a significant role in how angry you get and particularly what you’re actually angry about. Your mind might misidentify the reason you’re angry and it takes some digging to figure out the truth behind that why. The writing part of the exercise (Mind) helps with that discovery, especially when you keep at all three parts of the exercise over a number of weeks. With more time added, your first explanation of why you’re so mad—which is perfectly valid but probably doesn’t tell the full story—begins to drop away and reveals the larger truth associated with your anger. Once that truth is revealed you will feel your healing deepen.
This is a process inside the process of Heal Your Broken Heart, so give yourself plenty of time and lots of permission. Time to stay with the exercise over a period of weeks, and permission not to do it perfectly, because you won’t in the beginning and that’s fine. Any progress you make toward releasing the anger held within you will make you feel better now and bring you that much closer to feeling your new and improved normal.