I was reading a blog earlier (not going to link to it) that said every relationship has anger in it. And I vehemently disagreed with that.
Is anger a normal emotion to feel? Sometimes, yes. Irritation is normal. If the other person does something wrong, it’s normal to get angry.
I’ve been known to feel righteous anger over things I read in the news, made worse when there’s little I can do about it.
Hell, some people just come from very loud families who express all their emotions emphatically, whether anger or happiness. That’s not where I come from but I know that some people are just like that and it’s normal for them.
But I also have to stick up for the families that are relatively conflict-free. We have moments where someone expresses anger or frustration and we try to work through it, so I wouldn’t say that we promote repressing anger. (There were moments earlier in our marriage where I had more of a temper and my husband had tendencies to repress his anger, but we both worked hard to change those traits in ourselves.)
Anger can be healthy if dealt with in a constructive manner. But it’s also possible to genuinely be happy and comfortable enough that you just don’t feel anger very often and that’s where I’d say we are. It works for us.
What’s not normal, however, is rage. I don’t believe that full-on, out-of-control rage is ever healthy (but I haven’t gone through the program to become a therapist yet so I’m open to the possibility that I could be mistaken.)
Ranting and yelling at someone, sometimes for days, is not normal or healthy to me. It makes me feel physically ill and neurologically unhealthy to be on the receiving end of that kind of rage. I used to be subject to it and I had to get away from it for my own peace of mind.
In my perception, I tend to think that people with serious rage issues need some mindfulness training and need to address some underlying issues in themselves.
Whether you’re a type of person who prefers to resolve issues before they blow up into anger or you’re the naturally loud and expressive type, it doesn’t really matter to me. As long as you are neither repressing your bad feelings nor raging at the people you love, your particular approach to anger can vary and be healthy.
But I don’t think rage is ever healthy. It’s traumatizing to the people on the receiving end. I don’t throw this word around lightly, but I do think that uncontrolled rage is a form of abuse.
I’ve also read other therapy blogs that controversially say you should stay around people who are raging and try to help them. I vehemently disagree with that. Your first priority is to keep yourself safe. You never deserve to have people call you names, subject you to long monologues of hatred, wake up to tons of words telling you how horrible you are.
We all deserve peace. Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally to us; it didn’t to me. I had a lot of unresolved issues that I had to work through. I still mess up and I still genuinely apologize when I do.
But we have a choice every day about whether to make the world a better place or not, and a lot of that comes down to how we treat others. We may not be able to help the crisis in Sudan or save children from being separated from their parents at the border. But we can treat the people we come into contact with kindly and with compassion.