Anger Series: Part 3 – The Anger Family and How They Serve Us
The Anger Family
Anger belongs to a very big family and can manifest in many different forms. It would be wise for a ministry facilitator to become aware and acquainted with some of its members to include, but not be limited to: aggravation, agitation, annoyance, belligerence, bitterness, disgruntlement, exasperation, frustration, gall, hatefulness, hostility, and vexation, as well as being incensed, indignant, infuriated, irascible, livid, malcontent, maddened, peeved, piqued, provoked, raging, rancorous, resentful, seething, steamed, teed off, ticked, wrathful, and more.
When people come for prayer ministry they can bring all manner of emotion with them. However, when anger shows up things generally slow down and things often come to a halt. Anger can make it difficult to hear from the Lord, can displace the person’s more vulnerable feelings and basically distract the session in general.
To say the least, emotions that are found in the anger family are unique, or at least different from most other negative emotions such as worry, fear, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, etc.
Unlike other negative emotions that can help you to identify core-belief, members of the anger family are different. Rather than being helpful, they tend to move you in a different direction and away from the core belief.
Distinct Qualities of Anger
1) Emotions in the anger family are felt towards someone or something.
2) When NOT felt toward God, they provide their holder a perceived service or benefit— that is, they are accomplishing something.
3) When anger is felt toward God it is based upon a perception of God and not the truth about God.
All other negative emotions are felt inwardly and not toward others or things, they are not serving us, but rather are generally creating problems for us. There is some exception to this found with truth-based emotions.
Letting Anger Go is Usually Difficult.
If someone asked you if you were willing to let go of your feelings of worry, fear, stress, anxiety, helplessness, powerlessness, feeling out of control, etc. (and you believed it were possible to do so) you would probably not need to think much about it, but would want to do so. If someone asked you if you were willing to let go of your anger, (even though you might believe it would be the prudent thing to do), you would probably feel resistant and hesitant to do so. So why would we be willing to release our stress, worry and fear, etc., but yet hold tightly to our anger?
Different Types of Belief.
Emotions such as fear, anxiety, worry, stress, hopelessness, etc. are caused by lie-based core belief. We are feeling what we believe. If I feel afraid it is because I believe something that frightens me. If I feel worried and anxious it is because I believe something that is causing me to feel this way. These emotions are not generally serving me in any productive manner, but merely the consequence of what I believe.
I suppose one could argue that if you are attacked by a crazy man with a machete, your initial reaction of fear might serve you in the moment and cause you to run for your life. Typically negative emotions are produced as a result of a false understanding concerning the immediate situation. If we held God’s perspective, even a crazy man with a machete could not rob us of our peace.
Remember how the storm caused the disciples to conclude that they were about to perish, whereas, Jesus was at peace sleeping in the stern of the boat. When Jesus was arrested the night He was betrayed, he exhibited no fear, worry or anxiety. The reason was remained in peace was because He knew the truth.
Our negative emotions —those outside the anger family— are caused by core-belief which are made up of what I believe either about myself (self-identity) or what I believe about God (state of being.) We will soon discover that anger is somewhat different.
Anger is also based upon a belief, but a different type of one.
Anger is not caused by a core-belief. The belief supporting our anger does not say anything about our identity or state of being. The belief that supports our anger is actually solving a perceived problem. Angers rests upon what we refer to as a “Solution Belief.”
For example: suppose as a child I was hurt badly by someone. In the midst of the experience, I believed that I was not in control, I was helpless, powerless and going to die (state of being belief). Anytime thereafter, if I interpret my situation as my being out of control, helpless or powerless, I will feel what I felt in my childhood trauma. This is where the TPM principle, “We feel what we believe” comes into play.
The beliefs that I established in my childhood experience have become my current core-belief and the lenses through which I interpret my present situation. When this occurs, this core-belief creates a problem for me, in that I do not like feeling helpless, powerless or not in control. Therefore, I need a solution. My solution is to be angry. Anger causes me to feel empowered and displaces my feelings of being out of control and helpless.
The belief supporting my solution of being angry is, “My anger protects me, keeps me safe, keeps me in control, etc.” So anytime my belief is triggered and I feel threatened, out of control, or helpless, etc., my anger stirs up “solving” the problem. Should you ask me if I am willing to let my anger go, I will probably say, “No.” The thought of doing so causes me to feel hesitation and resistance. Without my anger I am left with the problem that my core belief has created.
Anger serves a purpose and letting it go does not seem to be an option. Some typical solution beliefs that commonly support anger include: “My anger keeps me safe, protects me, keeps me in control, holds people accountable, keeps me from making a bad decision, makes sure that people know how hurt I am, etc”. When anger shows up in a ministry session confessing anger as a sin and trying to convince a person to just let it go, is unlikely to resolve the issue. Until the solution belief that is supporting the anger is identified and replaced with the Lord’s perspective, the person is unlikely to let his anger go. As long as the perceived problem is present, the anger will be viewed as needed and beneficial.