Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries
Anger is a protective emotion. A slow burn or a flash of rage can both serve the same purpose – to cover hurt. I’m not putting anger in a box and saying this is all it is. Nevertheless, anger as a type of self- protection occurs all the time.
We misplace anger too. You’ve witnessed this. Someone goes off on a meaningless slight, leaving everyone wondering what made him or her snap. By trying to avoid the pain or discomfort of respectful confrontation, perhaps we allow anger to build until it has to release itself.
What are those hurts angry people try to avoid? That is anyone’s guess. The person who is angry may not know. I remember being so angry I thought it would kill me. It was a direct result of a painful marriage and a victim mindset. Realizing this was an impossible load to carry, I ran to God in prayer and said, “Please change me. This anger has to let up.”
Within a few days, it did let up. Issues I had ignored or blamed others for were drawn to my attention. I changed, and that protected me better than any anger ever could.
Fear can set off anger too. Rather than face our fears, we yell or stew or react violently at them. Road rage may sometimes be one of these types of anger. Fearing loss of control over one’s life, a driver tries to own the road. We see this fear in our politics, religions, and fights for rights. Dialogue seems too hard, and open-minded thinking too great a challenge. Most, or at least the loudest voices, would rather argue.
I’ve realized again today that fear is making me angry. I sat down with my Bible and asked God to reason with me (that is, to help me see his perspective). He showed me the root cause of my anger and self-pity. It is because of not facing again my greatest fear- fear of never being loved or accepted. He showed me how my fear has caused me to shut out friendships (I’ll leave them before they can leave me), and has held me in defeat (how dare I try, I’ll make a fool of myself).
Rising from that Bible study and prayer time, I immediately faced three situations that had me afraid and angry. This blog post is the fourth. For reasons I no longer understand, writing on this topic scared me. So here it is.
My hope and prayer is that this reaches you and helps you overcome some of your anger, too.
Today’s Helpful Word
James 4:4, 6-7a
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? … But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.