Anger Series: Part 2 – Orientation, Process and Explanation
Dealing with Anger in a Ministry Session
The most effective way of addressing anger in a TPM session is to equip the recipient with a basic understanding of anger before the session begins. When the person understands and is looking for anger, it is usually rather straightforward to address. However, if anger is not on his “radar,” then it can go unnoticed by the recipient and potentially cause issues when trying to move forward in the session. There are several sources of information in this training that you can point them to. This discussion is a good starting point.
When anger shows up in a ministry session you are in the ANGER Box. Once in the ANGER Box there are a series of questions that will need to be answered. I did not say, “… questions that will need to be asked…” because sometimes the person automatically answers the questions before they are presented. However, there are two different paths one might take depending on who the anger is being felt toward.
NOTE: What follows is a summary of these two paths. Each will be discussed in fuller detail throughout the rest of this article.
Two Anger Paths to Choose From
The two paths are; 1) being angry toward God or, 2) being angry toward anyone or anything other than God (people, oneself, life situation, things, and etc.)
So then, the first question that needs to be answered is who or what is the anger being felt toward. The question is worded as, “To who or what are you feeling angry toward?” Typically the person will answer this question before it is even asked by saying things such as, “I am really mad at my mother,” or “I am mad at God!” When this is the case you now know what path to follow in the ANGER Box.
Two Paths with Different Questions
If the person is feeling angry toward any one or thing other than God, then you move directly into the SOLUTION Box and ask the three questions supplied in this box and then continue on to the BELIEF, TRUTH, TRANSFORMATION, and EMOTION boxes. The questions in this path are as follows:
- “Do you sense any hesitation or resistance at the thought of letting your anger go?”
- “What do you believe might happen if you let it go that causes you to hesitate or resist?”
- “What is your reason for holding on to your anger?”
- “Not is it true, but does it feel truth that ____________ [belief they reported.]” (BELIEF Box Question)
- “Lord, what do you want [name] to know?” (TRUTH Box Question)
- “Does it still feel truth that _____________ [the belief they reported]? (TRANSFORMATION Box Question)
- “What are you feeling now?’ (EMOTION Box Question)
If the person is feeling angry toward God, then you DO NOT go to the SOLUTION Box. If the person feels angry toward God the questions path is as follows:
- “Why are you feeling angry toward God?
- “Why does believing ___________ [reported belief] cause you to feel anger toward God? (“Looping Question” borrowed from MEMORY Box)
This question should reveal the belief that is causing the anger felt toward God. If the answer given is still a potential “truth” ask the “Looping Question” again. When a apparent lie is reported, continue on to the BELIEF, TRUTH, TRANSFORMATION, and EMOTION boxes.
- Not that it is true, but does it feel true that ____________ [the belief]?” (Belief Box Question)
- “Lord, what do you want [name} to know?” (TRUTH Box Question)
- “Does it still feel truth that________ [belief]?” (TRANSFORMATION Box Question)
- “What are you feeling now?” (EMOTION Box Question)
Anger is often used as a solution for dealing with a perceived problem
- Anger is often used as a “solution” to solve a perceived problem.
- When the mentee understands how anger works and becomes aware of its potential presence, the entire process becomes that much more streamlined.
- There is a question in TPM that is designed to help identify elusive anger, but should only be asked with the situation specifically calls for it being asked.
- Sometimes the reason for being angry toward God will actually be the truth.
- We are not angry with God because of what we believed happened (God not doing something or doing something), but rather, our anger is based upon how we interpreted what happened. This will be our personal belief about God.
- The “Looping” question borrowed from the MEMORY Box can help us to move past the “truth” of why we think that we are angry toward God, to the lie-based belief that is the real reason for the anger.
The reason that we move to the SOLUTION Box when angry is felt toward anyone or anything other than God, is because, anger is often used as a “solution” to solve a perceived problem. Such problems include, “I am going to get hurt again,” “The person is getting by with what they did to me,” “I may become out of control.” Anger is often believed to “solve” these problems and therefore, is held in place by lie-based beliefs such as, “Anger keeps me safe, in control and holds people accountable.” Anger gives a person a false sense of safety, power, and control that acts as a buffer from the more vulnerable and painful emotions coming from the lies they believe. Beliefs such as, “Anger keeps me safe,” “it protects me,” “it gives me power,” or “it holds people accountable” are commonly reported. Each of these beliefs would support the decision to remain angry.
The best approach for dealing with anger is to equip the “Mentee” (the one being prayed with) with the knowledge and understanding concerning anger. Providing good orientation on anger prior to the session is ideal. When the mentee understands how anger works and becomes aware of its potential presence, the entire process becomes that much more streamlined. However, if you have not provided good orientation regarding anger, and the person is subconsciously avoiding admitting he is angry, it can be elusive and remain “hidden.” If the person’s behavior suggests that he may be angry and yet he is not reporting anger, there is a question designed to help identify elusive anger that can be asked. However, you should not ask this question unless you are relatively certain that anger is present and you are not in a position to help orient the recipient about anger. This question is not a question to ask when you do not know anything else to do. It is only asked when you have genuine reasons for believing anger is present.
The “Potential Anger” Question: “Is any portion of what you are feeling being felt towards any person or any thing?”
If you –the ministry facilitator– are relatively certain that anger is present and yet the person has not reported it, you may ask this question. However, this is not a question to ask because you do not know what else to do. If you find yourself not knowing what to do in a session it is time to get help and more training.
This question is helpful because of the special characteristic of anger. As we have seen, anger is typically a protective emotion and it is felt towards people, things and/or circumstances, whereas other negative emotions are felt inwardly and not directed away from ourselves. For example, we do not feel sad at others, nor do we feel fearful towards our circumstances. We can, however, feel angry towards others and our circumstances. Anger is also unique in that it serves us in some fashion and we believe that we need it. Whereas, other negative emotions are typically avoided, denied, suppressed or run from.
When a ministry recipient understands the principles and concepts about anger, they will be more in-tune to its presence and be more likely to report it when it surfaces, therefore rendering this question “unneeded.” Nonetheless, this question can be helpful in the midst of a ministry session when further orienting the ministry recipient is not an option. For example, the person might be in the midst of his or her pain and to stop the session would hinder the flow of the ministry process. Therefore, by asking this question you are able to move forward without stopping. However, teaching the person about anger can preclude asking this question as the person will be aware of his anger and expose it himself.
Even if after asking this question the person says that they do not feel anything toward anyone or thing, they still may be angry. Nevertheless, you have run out of “tools” for identifying it without guiding and directing the session. Doing this would be a major violation of TPM protocol. Your only option will be to provide additional orientation as you are able and to allow the session to progress. If they are angry and do not initially identify it by you asking this question, it will find its way out into the open at some point.
People can usually distinguish between the emotions that they feel inwardly and those they feel outwardly (anger/frustration/rage/etc.). So, when you ask if what they are feeling is being felt toward someone or something, then they should be able to answer easily. If they say that they are feeling something outwardly and towards someone or thing, you can ask, “What are you feeling?” If the person reports feeling angry, you have what you need to proceed. Now you are ready to determine who they are feeling angry toward.
With Whom Are They Angry?
Again, it is important that you are not asking the “anger” question because you do not know what else to do. If this is the case, then you may need more training. If you are simply lost, you can asked the “LOST” question, “What is going on?” Their response to this question should give you the information you need to determine what “box” you are in. Asking the “anger” question is not the answer to your dilemma of not knowing what else to do. The answer is also not “just do something anyway” but rather, you can learn the Process, Principles and Purpose of TPM well, so that, you may be a highly effective instrument in God’s hand. Nevertheless, if you ask the “anger question” and they answer with, “Yes, I feel something toward …,” then you need to determine what they are feeling and who or what they are feeling it toward.
In most cases they tell you what they are feeling and toward whom they are feeling it. If they do not do this, you can simply ask this follow-up question: “What are you feeling and who are you feeling it toward?” People often answer both questions at the same time. For example, they may say, “Yes, I feel angry towards my uncle. What he did was wrong!” or “The moment my wife said that, I felt my rage stir up toward her!” or “I am still furious at God because He didn’t save me from that experience!” By saying that he feels something toward something, he usually also reports who he feels it at. If the person feels angry towards anything or anyone other than God, then you move directly to the De-Solution Tool. If they report being angry toward God you DO NOT use the De-Solution tool, but rather follow up with one more question (to be given in a moment) and then go directly to the BELIEF Box.
It is important to determine who or what the ministry recipient feels his or her anger towards because anger felt towards God is addressed differently than anger felt for any other reason. Anger towards God is always lie-based (or, at least, in need of His perspective). Anger felt toward others or things may have been initially established in the truth, but is now held in place by a lie.
The following video will help us when dealing with a person who is feeling angry toward someone or something other than God. The general process is simply to move directly to the SOLUTION Box and follow the De-solution protocol.
When angry Toward God
If a person reports feeling angry toward God, you will simply ask them, “Why are you angry toward God?” The reason that they give for being angry will usually be a falsehood, but not always. Sometimes the reason that they give for being angry toward God will actually be the truth. However, when they report a truth about their anger toward God, this will not be the actual reason that they are angry, but rather what they believe God did or did not do. For example, a person may say that they are angry toward God because God did not make the person that raped them stop what they were doing, protect them from the harm that befell them, or save their loved one from death, etc. The fact is, these things may all be the truth. God did not keep these things from happening. Nevertheless, we are not angry with God because of what we believed happened (God not doing something or doing something), but rather, our anger is based upon how we interpreted what happened. This will be our personal belief about God.
For example, if the person, while being hurt as a child, cried out to God begging to be rescued, but God did not stop it, then this is the truth: God did not stop it from happening. But it is not because of this “truth” that the person became angry, but rather because of how the person interpreted God not stopping it. This is the same process that occurs in all life events where lie-based thinking is established. It is not what actually happened in the event that brings about the lie-based core belief. Rather, it is how what happened is interpreted. The interpretation of the experience is the producer of the belief.
So when a person says something like, “I am angry with God because He let my mother die” this may in fact be the truth. However, his mother’s death is not the reason for the person’s anger. He is angry because he believes that God should have kept that from happening, God should have saved her, and because of this, God did not do His job. This is the true cause of the outrage; God failed, He did not do what He should have done, He abandoned me, God lied, God is not good. However, as we all intellectually know, these statements are not actually true. They are lies. But because the person believes them, he is in need of the Lord’s truth and perspective. Once he experientially sees the truth, he will see that he has no reason to be angry with God; for God never fails, He is always true, and He is always good.
Anger at God and the Looping Question
Using the example above, to resolve the anger, the person will need to get to the interpretation he ascribed to God for not stopping the abuse from happening. To do this the facilitator will borrow the “Looping” question from the MEMORY Box. This question will help the facilitator avoid asking the Lord for truth prematurely –before the lie is rightly identified. Ask the “Looping Question” –borrowed from the MEMORY Box– will move the person’s thinking past the “truth” in the matter –God did not stop it from happening– and help the person to identify the lie-based interpretation that he came up with. His interpretation of what God did or did not do is the reason he is angry.
So then after the facilitator has asked, “Why are you angry with God?” and the person has given a response, the ministry facilitator should ask the Looping Question.
“Why does believing … [the reason they say that they are angry toward God] … make you feel angry?”
Their answer to this question should reveal the lie-based interpretation they hold that is the true cause of their anger. Here is an example of what this might look like:
Person: “I am angry with God because he did not help me. He let that man do all those things to me! I cried out to God and begged Him to make it stop. He let it happen!”
Facilitator: “Why does believing that God did not help you and that He let it happen, make you feel angry?”
Person: “Because He cannot be trusted. He is not all that He claims to be.”
Now you are in the BELIEF Box and ready to ask the BELIEF Box question. Should the person answer with what appears to still be the “truth” then ask the “looping question” again using the new information. You will not hurt anything asking the Looping Question over and again as the person reports different answers to the question. However, at some point, the person will start “looping” with his lie-based answers. When this occurs you are in the BELIEF Box.
The following video will help us to understand how we have come to be angry with God. Anger toward God is always because we do not see life from His perspective. His ways are not ours and this can cause us to feel angry.
The following video with help us in understanding the use of the “Looping” question when dealing with anger felt toward God.
If the person is angry toward any person, thing, or situation, you use the De-Solution tool. If they are angry toward God for any reason, you go to the “looping question” borrowed from the MEMORY box. Most of the anger that is felt toward others was initially experienced in the context of perceived injustice. This is why the Scriptures tell us that we can “be angry…” This is also why many people are angry with God; they believe He acted unjustly, failed to do rightly, or did not fulfill his godly duty toward them.
Simple Role Play Demonstration