Deepak Chopra says anger is an inflammatory emotion. Parkinson’s is considered to be an inflammatory condition. Until I understood the role of fear in the development of the neurological condition [parkinson’s] I’m experiencing, I thought anger was the root cause. I still believe that anger plays a role, so it is important to understand it in order to dissolve it so that recovery is possible.
Quite often, you hear people say, this or that made me angry. “This traffic jam is really making me angry!” “You kids are making me so angry!” The truth is, it is not the situation that makes us angry. Rather, it is the anger we are already holding onto. This anger, in my experience, stems from three things:
- Growing up feeling like a victim [feeling powerless]
- Self loathing
- Believing that it feels better to feel anger than it does to feel shame, guilt, grief or fear
Let’s examine each of these conditions. Many people grow up feeling like a victim. I did. When you’re afraid to speak up for yourself for fear being yelled at or punished, it can make you feel powerless. Similarly, being harshly punished, bullied or not allowed to do the things you want to do can make you feel like a victim. And when you feel like a powerless victim it’s very easy to feel angry with the world and those who ‘wronged’ you.
When a person grows up feeling unloved, that person usually experiences self loathing. You have to feel something, so if it is not self love then it must be the opposite. Similarly, when a child is told that they are a bad boy or a bad girl and they hear often enough, they will develop self loathing. When you hate yourself, anger is not far away!
Shame, guilt, grief and fear are horrible feelings. We want to avoid them like the plague. One way to do this is to replace them with anger. Anger feels much better. It gives a [false] sense of empowerment.
Given how destructive anger is, particularly for those of us experiencing a neurological condition, how then do we dissolve it? I recently came to the realization that an effective way to let go of anger is to reframe our unpleasant experiences. The way to do this, is to simply think differently about them. For example, I experienced bullying for six years of my life. It made me feel like a coward. It made me feel powerless. I was scared all the time. I hated the kid that bullied me. But rather than look at this as a horrible experience, I realized that if I looked at it as an experience intended to help me learn about what it feels like to grow up feeling unlovable, unworthy, inadequate and powerless, in order to truly know these detrimental feelings so that I could then understand what it is like to feel lovable, deserving, good enough and empowered, the cornerstones of feeling good about myself, so that I could know how to recover my health, and perhaps, teach this to others [once I truly understood for myself, of course].
Other experiences caused me to feel unloved, unwanted, unaccepted and unappreciated, so that I could learn similar lessons.
Looking at my experiences this way helps me to understand that I never was a victim, that I never was a ‘bad’ boy. Instead, I was experiencing something unpleasant in order to learn and grow.
It is fascinating how reframing an unpleasant experience changes the way I feel. I suspect it will take some time to actualize the full benefits of this process, but that is okay, because time is something I have plenty of these days.
Have an awesomely happy day!