When pain goes on and on and on, we have to do something with it to keep living and going on with our lives. A lot of us flip the pain to anger. Anger builds up inside of us if we do not deal with it. It builds up in layers and creates rage. What the outside world usually sees is angry, bitter and critical person. The outside world does not see the hurt, pain or sorrow inside. This bitterness can be shown as zaps, yelling, negativity (that says nothing is right or good and will never be), depression and criticalness. Bitterness not only shapes us it touches everything in our lives.
I want to share with you from my journal about my experience of anger. It was during an awful time of persecution at me.
“To cope with this awful pain, I watch me flip the hurt and sorrow to anger…..no…. more like rage! It is deep, growling and wanting to destroy them rage. I want to hurt them like they have hurt me. Actually worse that, I want them to feel all the pain they have caused but at an intensity that is a thousand times worse. I want to destroy them and everything they stand for. I have become evil in my own sight and it is breaking my heart more watching me become like this.
“I am fighting to forgive, for I have to forgive for I love my Lord and that is what He tells me to do with enemies….to love them to forgive them……I CAN’T!!! I just can’t. I want to hurt them deeply. So I pray and pray, do my anger work, appropriately to release it from my body so it does not build up in me and hurt me. So I swim and work to reduce the stress and anger; I pray and find some peace. As I heal more, I am able to start forgiving, but limitedly. And the anger is still there. I am so deeply hurt and devastated.
“I beg God to forgive them through me but I can only forgive a small part. So I continue to be angry, the more they do, the more the anger flares inside of me like bombs going off. I swim more and hit the water hard. I scream and scream and scream into the water. Guttural sound come out like I didn’t know I could make. Non-human sounds come out of me. I shock myself.
“I beg God to forgive me for not being able to deeply, completely forgive for I am not healed yet…..how can I? They keep working to destroy me in any way they can. It never stops, when I sense some relief or safety they hit harder again and again.
“I am a psychotherapist and I know that the only way to heal is to feel the feeling fully and forgive. I don’t want to forgive, I want them to suffer and hurt. I want them to suffer and hurt for the rest of their lives. I know it is wrong, God forgive me. God please help me heal so I can get out of this rage.”
As I continued to feel, the pain began to leave my body. The anger didn’t have to help me cope with the pain anymore the more I felt my feeling fully about what happened to me and bitterness began to go away. I could forgive more and free me more.
All our feelings are good, what we do with them is good or bad. Even anger is a good feeling, it says “something is wrong. Stop it! Fix it!” Feelings give us a lot of information about our world that we need to make a good decision. We should never make decisions based on how we feel, but take the information the feelings are giving us and put it with our intellect and then make a good decision.
The information from feelings only comes after we feel the feelings fully. So as long as we work to release all our feeling appropriately, we will get through the pain. We have to feel the feeling of the betrayal, hurt, pain, etc. so there is no pain inside of us that we need to flip to anger and bitterness.