Are anger issues blocking you from your true Self?
Mr. Hyde, the Incredible Hulk, Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery: what do all these characters have in common? Anger issues.
They all have incredibly short tempers and get angry at the drop of a hat. In fact, many compelling characters in film and literature possess a fury indispensable to plot and character development . . . and their short fuses are part of what makes them such memorable creations.
But what happens when you can’t control your temper in your own life?
Anger can drain your energy, strain your relationships, and cause you to suffer in the long run. If you find yourself exploding with rage over minor annoyances, it’s likely that your anger stems from something deeper than the inconvenience at hand.
If you lose your temper often, your anger could be a primary symptom of your Substitute Sense of Self.
5 Ways Anger Issues Block Your Healthy Sense of Self
Here are five signs that your ego-references drive your reactions and that your short fuse exerts an inordinate amount of control over your life.
1. You are scared of getting angry.
You tell yourself, “I do not want to be angry,” I should not be angry,” or “I cannot be mad.” These are your ego-references at work: the rules you unconsciously set for yourself as part of your early childhood survival strategy.
As an adult, the stakes are higher when you lose your temper. Anticipating your failure to fulfill your ego-references, you may find yourself overcome by the fear of annihilation, which can agitate you further.
2. You get agitated if provoked by others.
People know they can get a rise out of you—it’s one of your defining personality traits. They may push your buttons for their own entertainment, confident that you’ll react the same way every time. Simple stress-reducing techniques help sometimes, but not always.
3. When you get angry, it’s in disproportion to the apparent cause.
You tend to explode over minor annoyances (maybe not quite like Annie Wilkes, but it’s all relative). Other people don’t understand the cause or depth of your anger.
4. You don’t feel in control of your emotions.
You don’t know how to control your temper. When other people talk about anger issues or choosing how to manage and express their anger, you may intellectually understand what they’re talking about—but emotionally, it’s like they’re speaking a foreign language.
In her book, The Motivation Cure, Healthy Sense of Self founder Antoinetta Vogels describes her husband’s reaction to her anger when she was just beginning to map the contours of her own Substitute sense of Self.
He asked her, “Are you not the one in control of this anger? You either choose to be angry or not.” Her response? “I simply could not find within myself any power, force, or will that was capable of such a choice.”
5. You feel your anger physically.
For you, anger is a visceral experience. You may experience a buzzing sensation, muddled thinking, sweating, shallow breathing . . . the list goes on. And your capacity for self-awareness is compromised by the overwhelming physical symptoms of your emotions.
It is virtually impossible to detect a lack of sense of Self. How can you sense the absence of something that was never there? You must instead rely on the signs of a Substitute Sense of Self. These signs may include temper tantrums, anxiety, inner turmoil: all stemming from a deep core fear of not existing as a real person.
Restoring your sense of Self will help you address both your fear and your anger.
Check out our animated video on the meaning of a Sense of Self.