The Seductive Pull of Righteous Anger – And What You Can Do About It
It was a distinct shock to my system the day I realized that righteous anger is just an excuse to really get behind a reaction I was having. I used it to allow myself to burn fiercely with all of the anger I had in me and cross emotional lines I normally wouldn’t. It felt so good to just dump all of my angst, resentment, anger and feelings of injustice on another person without having to rationalize my reaction. That is the danger of righteous anger… the permission it gives you to relieve yourself of your personal emotional responsibility.
Here are a couple of examples:
That ego-maniac boss who treats you with no respect and who dared to make an inappropriate comment this morning. And you fume, you build that righteous indignation to epic proportions because it feels so good to have a target. After all, he was unequivocally wrong. No other way to look at it. He was dead wrong and you have the RIGHT to be angry. Yes you do. What you don’t ever have the right to do is ignore the fact that your reaction is ALWAYS about you.
How about that Mom who dares to question your parenting methods? She is blatantly rude, narrow-minded and so out of line. Whoa baby, watch my kids for a second while I tear her apart. After all, how dare she? Who does she think she is? And you fume, and you build that righteous indignation to epic Mom-kicking proportions because it feels so good to have a target.
Let’s face it – righteous anger is dangerous because it feels so fricking satisfying AND it feels justified. That feeling of justification is where this kind of anger is deceptive. It makes you think your feelings are accurate and based in a universal truth. I can promise you that is almost never the case.
Here is the truth – it is ALWAYS about you.
Your reaction is a product of your thoughts, feelings and experiences and has nothing to do with the actual behaviour that causes it. That boss who so offended you? He triggered YOU, and that is your job to manage. That rude Mom? She is hitting at your soft spots and triggering that reaction based on your beliefs about yourself. They don’t matter. Their behaviour doesn’t matter. Your reaction does. It is a magnifying glass focussed on all of your triggers. It is a gift to be explored – not participated in until is turns everyone around you to cinders.
The next time you feel that swell of anger, I want you to follow these steps:
1. Recognize that rising, swelling anger before it hits peak destruction mode.
2. Get curious (without judgement) about what it is in this situation that has triggered you.
3. Be a detective and gently dig in to where the trigger came from for you.
4. Thank the anger for showing you where you can focus your love and attention in the future.
Righteous anger is seductive. It can be powerfully destructive or powerfully informative. It is your choice to make because it is always about you. 😊
Wishing you awareness in the midst of your angst,
Copyright 2017 Sugar Soil