Anger is Pain

In these contentious times where man is pitting himself against his brother in incessant, confrontational, violent ways, I think of one thing I know: anger is pain. Knowing this helps me to comprehend the incomprehensible, the how and why of cruelty, of a lack of compassion and decency towards others.

Knowing this personal adage helps me understand human behavior. Anger is pain is why abused children grow up to be abusers and perpetrators. Anger is pain is why so many choose to cope with adversity with rageful destruction towards their own bodies, others, or the environment. Anger is pain is why patients and families at the end of life may be difficult to deal with, despite our best efforts to help them deal with and accept the circumstances.

Unhealed pain is unplacated angst that we are worthless, unloved, not of any value, and this fear is converted subconsciously over time into a desire to justify worth through control. Anger is an aggressive counter-reaction to a perceived personal provocation which triggers a negative reinforcement of our poor self-worth through loss of control. With anger, we are brutally expressing our dissatisfaction with ourselves upon another being or entity.

Anger can be diffused; it must be converted into acceptance. But to do this requires confrontation of pain, facing the details of our full reality without flinching. It requires unbiased self-examination, seeing both the good and the bad in our behavior. It requires a deep courage to stay the course of trying to heal, even through heavy hurt. Humanity is full of anger right now, expressing its inner pain outwardly in brutal ways. We can only pray that humanity looks more deeply within, to change the rage outside.


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