Do you have people in your life who have given you a lot?
- How do you feel toward them?
- Do you feel a sense of indebtedness, guilt or diminishment?
- Do you avoid seeing them or being in their company?
Are you a giver but not a very good taker or receiver?
- Do you ever feel that you’ve “done too much” for someone or a cause?
- Do you avoid asking for help because it feels uncomfortable?
- Do you ever think people should “just know” what you want and do it for you?
- Do you suppress being angry at your boss, co-workers, wife or husband?
These questions can reveal where you may be hiding, avoiding or disowning anger, and doing it in such a way as to weaken your personal power.
This month, we invite you to look closely at how these anger dynamics may be showing up in your life.
The “You-didn’t-read-my-mind?” Anger
This anger comes to the person who spends most of their life giving and giving, but finds it hard to ask for what they want or take what they need.
If they had asked for what they wanted there is a good chance it would have been given to them.
They’ll say, “I shouldn’t have to ask. It’s obvious and you should already know what I need or want”; or, “I don’t like to ask, it makes me feel very uncomfortable.”
So they are angry for what you did not do, even though you didn’t know what it was they wanted!
When you don’t assert yourself and take control by asking for what you want or need, the result is often overwhelm, then blame and then resentment and anger building up within your relationships. Sadly the consequences can become very ugly.
Commonly called passive aggressive anger, it becomes a substitute for taking action and will have a paralyzing and weakening effect on you. This anger has the tendency to linger for a long time and becomes a painful day-to-day strategy for living….
…. pleasant on the outside but seething on the inside!
The “You-gave-me-too-much” Anger
Have you ever noticed being given something and simultaneously having an uneasy, internal feeling? Perhaps even a twinge of guilt?
This is a natural response because, in a small way, you have become indebted to another person and feel a need to reciprocate.
When there is balance between giving and receiving, reciprocation can be as simple as accepting the gift with sincere gratitude and thanks.
Much of the time, however, that is not the way exchange gets handled, and unintended consequences can result.
A sense of guilt and indebtedness often manifests as a form of anger and irritability toward a giver. This can result in the receiver avoiding or even breaking off their connection in a relationship.
Here’s an example: Judy and Robert marry and Judy agrees to work, pay tuition, and carry expenses for the two of them as Robert goes to school, earns a degree and qualifies for a professional position.
It is natural that Robert feels indebted and an obligation to reciprocate.
Judy’s gift, in fact, is so great that if Robert is not giving back all along the way, he is in danger of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of his debt. He is in danger of replacing it with resentment and anger as his sub-conscious determines a way out of the circumstance.
The relationship is in severe danger of falling apart.
Here’s another common way we see this dynamic playing out: In a Helper/Client or Healer/Receiver relationship it is not uncommon for the warm-hearted professional to lower their fees, barter, or in some way de-value their service.
The Client/Receiver picks up on an imbalance in giving and taking, and it is a very small step to feelings of guilt and indebtedness. This is usually unspoken but soon the client begins to feel both weakness and anger, which is exactly the opposite of what was intended.
The client in this situation will find a way to disengage from the relationship and will ultimately disappear.
Self-awareness is always key to Self-empowerment.
As with most opportunities for growth these anger dynamics, once identified, can be a tool for self-empowerment and much less devastating in their impact.
When angry feelings resulting from guilt or indebtedness rise up within you, learn to take them as signals that it is time to take stock of what you are saying yes and no to in relationship.
When you catch yourself blaming someone, or feeling guilty and angry:
- Slow Down
- Reflect on the three types of Anger That Weakens You and see if you can identify one of them working on you
- Check in with your inner desires about what it is you want.
- Be bold and take responsibility by asking for what you want.
- See if there is something more you can give or receive
There is a saying by Bert Hellinger: “When you have been given something, give back a little more. When you have been hurt, hurt back a little less.” These are wise and powerful words to consider in any relationship.