As a child, my Dad had major anger issues. When Dad raged on and on for hours or even days, no one had the courage to stand up to him, because if they did he would shut them down in short order.
Dad had a black cloud that followed him around and even if it lifted for a bit, we always knew it would descend again. We just didn’t know when. Walking on eggshells and letting the crazy train run the show was the norm in our household.
Dad struggled around the holidays too. He was hard to buy for, but not for the reasons you might think. One Christmas I gave Dad some t-shirts. They were the same as the t-shirts he wore to work every day, even down to the sewed-on pocket, but they were new. After unwrapping them Dad barked, “I don’t need any new shirts,” as he tossed them into the garbage basket.
At the time, I was devastated. It took me years to understand that reaction was because my Dad didn’t love himself and didn’t think he deserved nice, new things. My Dad didn’t know he was lovable. When someone extended love to him, their feelings about him didn’t match his feelings about himself, so he completely rejected them.
Other People’s Anger Has Nothing to Do With You
I wanted Dad to receive my gifts of love and to love me back. But Dad couldn’t receive the love that I offered him—whether it was in the form of t-shirts or acts of kindness—because of the self-hatred and self-loathing he carried. Instead, he would lash out at those closest to him projecting his own self-hatred onto others. His rejection of my gifts had nothing to do with me.
And yet, for years I carried the conclusion that if Dad couldn’t love me then I must not be lovable. I took it even further and looked for unavailable men to be in relationship with, since that is what was modeled for me. Unconsciously, that is what I believed I deserved.
Even though it was rare for Dad to talk about his childhood, as I grew up I began to understand the impact of the volatile environment he grew up in, and how that shaped his whole life—and mine.
And Your Anger Is Just Showing You What’s Up for You to Heal
Your feelings aren’t the truth of who you are, they’re just showing you what’s up for you to heal.
If you want more love in your life, it comes from seeing the world in Truth.
That means understanding that the opposite of love is fear, and that fear is at the root of all your anger. It means doing your work to see the Truth of your life. And, it means healing yourself of the charged emotions (even anger) so they no longer control you.
When you do your work to see the Truth of your life, everything changes.
In awareness, you can make new choices and open up to living more authentically. Along the way, as you get more intimate with yourself, you automatically extend that intimacy to all your relationships.
As we move into the holidays and a new year, I invite you to do your work to more deeply align with yourself. Experiences of fear, jealousy, hurt, shame, guilt, ________ (you fill in the blank), and even hatred can be completely transformed as you lean in, see the truth of how other’s painful BS isn’t about you, and release the charged emotions that knock you down.
You don’t need to be stuck in feelings of, “this is who I am and I am forced to live with it for the rest of my life”. Be gentle with yourself as you move into getting to the root cause of the pain you are experiencing. And remember, you often need support from another to transform your biggest hurts.
Previously Published on ritahenry.com
image courtesy of author