Again we began this double-session in the main hall with all the participants from the morning and evening groups together.
First we looked at anger and the words that we associate with this emotion. The negative words we “collected” included aggression, anxiety, barriers, belligerence, conflict, confrontation, defensiveness, destruction, disappointment, disconnection, disempowerment, disillusion, fear, fight, frustration, helplessness, high blood-pressure, hurt, intimidation, judgement, loss of control, loss of reason, misunderstanding, negative energy, not being heard, not being respected, rage, regret, resentment, righteousness, suppression of all other emotions, tears, and violence.
Anger is a response to another, more primary, feeling and it is not always a negative thing. Some of the positive words we “collected” that can be associated with anger are action, change, communication, confrontation, empowerment, galvanization, motivation, passion, release, relief, resolution, self-assessment, self-protection, and understanding.
We then paired up to describe how we respond when we feel angry. There was a time when I would really “let rip” when I got angry (I can be eloquently vicious) but I have learned that this is not a constructive way to engage. It is a fact that by acknowledging that no one can “make” me feel a certain way, I am able to own my own feelings and responses. So I avoid saying things like “you make me feel angry” (or whatever emotion is appropriate). Taking ownership of my own feelings is empowering, and discovering the underlying feeling from which my anger rises helps my self-knowledge and gives me better self-control. I still get exasperated sometimes, but now I can look at what it is in me that creates those “buttons” people inadvertently push.
Next, in our groups, we enacted various experiences we had when people were angry with us or we ourselves had been angry; as a child, as an adolescent, and as we are now.
Lifeline Course Module 1 – Personal Growth –Nine
The feeling that we explored in the next session was loss. Everyone has lost something: a job; a relationship; a home; a wife, husband, parent, sibling or child; a pet; a possession; or even status. At first I did not know which experience to describe to the group as I have lost many of these things, but then I realised that I should describe the loss of my child, because it was the most definitive experience in my life.
I spoke about the loss of my first child and of the damage that it caused in my other relationships, especially with my other children; that loving became a thing I fear. That a part of me shut down behind an impenetrable barricade.
I had no difficulty speaking about this whole experience as I have always done so in the belief that speaking about our feelings is a form of healing, but it was the most exhausting session.