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Black and white photo of a clenched fist to show anger

Face your feelings to heal from anger.

I’ve been binge-watching a Netflix show called Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate. This seems like an irrelevant thing to say for this week’s Quote Quest. The quote is, “But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.” ~ Anne Frank. There are lots of twists and turns within Dead to Me, and the underlying theme centres on grief and anger. There is also the theme of gaslighting within an emotionally controlling relationship. These are pretty dark issues to examine. At some stage in our lives, we will all go through grief, whether it be for a person we’ve lost or a place we’ve left.

Part of the grieving process is anger. If we hold onto that anger, it will destroy us and the relationships we care about. Anger drives people away more than neglect does, I’d say. I know, because I’ve sometimes felt anger. I felt angry with my parents for making us emigrate so many times (4 round-trips within 10 years). I grieved every time we moved, for friends I said goodbye to, and the family that I left behind when I left England.

Sometimes I’ve felt angry with myself, for not being more resilient. For letting my emotions affect me the way they have. I’m trying to be more compassionate now. I know I’ve been a hard person to live with. I dislike upsetting those close to me. I feel like I’m punishing them when I should be showing love. Once Christina Applegate’s character acknowledges her anger, she can start to address it. She’s grieving after losing her mum to breast cancer. She was angry with her mum and with herself for feeling that way about her mum.

Anger often is directed at the person feeling it. It’s like an automatic response; I think it is linked with shame, perhaps. We don’t like something about ourselves so we find fault with it and resent the behaviour. When we realise what it is making us angry, we can rationalise it, and make peace with the feeling. We won’t forget, but we can forgive, and that will give us and our loved ones peace. Holding onto anger stops us from growing, so the sooner we let it go, the earlier we can spread our wings.

As for shame, we need to examine why we feel shame. Do we feel it, because we are told we ‘should be’ ashamed by something? Or do we feel the shame from our own sense of right and wrong? If it’s the former, it is misplaced, which can cause more harm than good. When it is because of our intrinsic morals though, it can be dealt with more meaningfully.

However we feel, we need to address the issues to heal. That is why therapy is so fundamental, even for those who have no known problems.

Read other people’s thoughts by clicking the link above. My other Quote Quest posts can be found here.

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2 comments

  1. In my opinion, a person, as a rule, does not feel shame, or does not feel it to the extent that he is told that he should be ashamed. We are more ashamed when it comes from our own understanding.

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