Hope :: When Anger Strikes

You know those moments where everything is fine until suddenly it’s not? Where you’ve been having a pretty good day and all of a sudden you’re overcome with this raging anger that takes over out of nowhere?

This was me just last week. I live 3000 miles away from my family, but I try to stay in contact as much as possible. I was talking to my mom over the bluetooth in my car. I was trying to explain something to her, but it kept cutting out and all of a sudden I just lost it! I said (more like screamed angrily…), “I’ll just call you when I get home!” I hit the ‘end call’ button on my steering wheel and just let the anger take over for a moment.

Ever been there? That wasn’t a first for me. Well, usually I don’t take my anger out on innocent bystanders, but the exploding, unforeseen anger was definitely not something new for me.

Once the initial anger started fading away, I began to wonder something I never used to think about: where in the world did that anger come from? I had been FINE! It made no sense whatsoever.

As I wondered where the anger came from, I began realizing that – once again – I had shoved every single negative emotion to the back of my mind where I didn’t need to deal with it.

Except I did.

This is a recurring cycle for me that I thought I finally outgrew several years ago. I’d been doing much better at not following the cycle (I explain below!) and I thought I was finally free of the cycle! But I had fallen right back into the cycle because I wasn’t working hard to remain free of it.

I had refused to let myself work through many different things (e.g., my boss resigning, my friends moving away, being 3000 miles away from my family, being sad that I still haven’t gotten to hold my five and a half month old nephew [if I get permission, I’ll post a picture of him next week! He’s the sweetest!!!]). Because of this refusal to do something that’s necessary and healthy, I let all of my gross feelings get shoved into a chasm that eventually gets too full and explodes.

By the time I got to Lowe’s that day in my car, I felt like a terrible person. I didn’t wait until I got home. I parked, dialed, and the moment my mom answered, I said, “I’m so sorry!” She forgave me, of course. But her forgiveness led to another explosion – this time in the form of tears. My mom’s response was, “You sounded so good earlier, I thought you were doing better.” And I answered, “So did I!” as I sobbed uncontrollably.

See, one burst of anger wasn’t enough to work through all of those messy emotions. I had to actually work through everything I had been dealing with or – rather – not dealing with over the past few months!

Now, a week later, I’m feeling much better. I feel like I’m back on solid ground again.

So this week I challenge you: the next time you explode in unexplainable anger, sit down and actually think what is truly bothering you. Obviously cell reception wasn’t the main energy behind my anger, it was just the spark that lit it up.

If you’ve dealt with this before and have some good suggestions, leave them in the comments! We can all use a little encouragement and other tips from those who have been where we are!

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