I’ve been looking at / talking about anger and it seems to be a very unpopular subject.  I wonder.  I think people don’t like to talk about because a lot of us have been told we’re not supposed to have any anger.  Particularly "us" women.  (I don’t know about you but that idea pisses me off.)  Anyway, is it the actual FEELING that some think is "wrong," or the expression of it? 

In Christian circles I think this problem is even worse.  It’s easy to read the culture as saying that all anger is bad, and the Bible often says to "give up anger" or puts it in long lists of Things To Not Do.  But, again, is that the action or the feeling? 

It’s a huge problem, because what we see around us all the time are inappropriate, hurtful, sometimes deadly ways that people are angry.  So anger becomes the problem.  And "healthy" expression of anger has a tinge of being "therapeutic" or just a lot of trouble – punching pillows, talking to a therapist, making careful "I" statements – it’s easy to denigrate such things as being unnatural or contrived.  As I go through my life these days, my casual statements that I’m confronting or "working out" anger generally elicit uncomfortable silences.  Maybe people are afraid.  Maybe they disapprove. 

I agree that the root of anger isn’t pretty.  Sometimes anger is my first clue that my expectations were out of line.  I’m signed up to accept the life that God gives, after all, although I’m also allowed to take aspirin for headaches, see infertility doctors, and cry out when the pain is too much.  But just because a wound is swollen and ugly looking doesn’t mean I don’t care for it, and notice the way I got it.  And learn from it.

I still say that anger, like some other things, happens.  I still say that unacknowledged anger contributes to obesity, stress, addiction, relational and communication problems, illness, and depression.  I think anger is hard because once you let the beast out of the box, how do you know how to control it?  I say practice.   Either that or climb in the box with it and shut the lid.

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