Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

We need compassion when we’re angry, not punishment

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Listening to your anger

My client suffers from road rage. Her rides turn into anger, yelling and frustration. She arrives upset and disturbed.

Anger impacts her relationships too.

She wants my help to deal with her anger more mindfully.

In a visualization exercise she asks her anger what it is about, and what it wants from her, so that it can relax and let her live her life grounded in her values. She asks her resistance against the anger the same questions.

She cries when she opens her eyes. “I need an outlet. I have so much anger in me. My childhood was drenched in anger and yelling. It was the only communication in my family.”

“Did anyone ever walk up to you, when you were angry? Did anyone ever stretch out their arms to you, when you were throwing a fit, and tell you ‘I’m here for you. I see how angry you are. I won’t go away. You matter to me.’ Did anyone ever just sit with you, creating a safe space where you could experience your anger and maintain connection?

She looks at me bewildered. “No! I was punished and sent to my room.”

Even now she thinks that that is the only reasonable response to anger. To express your anger with yelling and throwing a fit is childish.

“It is not childish. It is your child. It is the little child within you that cannot think of any other way to be heard. It is your inner child that desperately wants help for her suffering and longing.”

She looks at me bewildered, again. She had never even thought about her anger this way.

“When you think of yourself as this little child, maybe two years old, ‘throwing a fit to get her way’, what do you think she actually wanted?” “Attention.” “And if she would get attention, what precious need would be fulfilled?” “Belonging”, she says, with tears in her eyes.

We just want to belong

Just to know that you belong. That you matter. That someone cares about you, and wants to include you.

Such a beautiful, simple need.

How can we be angry with ourselves when we scream and yell in our despair, because we don’t know any other way to ask for help? How can we judge ourselves because we so desperately want to belong, to be seen, to matter?

We don’t need labels, judgments,punishment when we scream and yell. We need compassion. We need someone to stretch out their arms to us and tell us “I’m here to help. I’ll stay as long as you need. You matter. To me.”

That is the only way to heal. Ourselves. The world. Let us stretch out our arms to each other and say “I’m here for you. How can I help?”

—–

Contact me if you want my help to deal with your anger more mindfully 512-589-0482.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

2 thoughts on “We need compassion when we’re angry, not punishment

  1. Very moving, Elly, thank you for sharing! I am sure this is giving a lot of people comfort.

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