In its various guises, Anger has been on my mind a lot lately. When I use the word 'anger', I should probably be more specific and say misdirected anger. As with any word or action, anger can be a good thing and used to a good purpose, when directed appropriately. That said, I haven't been angry but I have watched those around me succumb to their own anger. Watching this process made me think. It made me reflect upon my own anger, but more importantly, I began to reflect upon the anger projected on me by others, their reactions, and the lengths they would go to, to see me hurt in some physical or emotional way. Even now, I search my memory for actions on my part that would have precipitated such an angry outburst from these people.
In late 2010 my life imploded slightly. I found myself without a job and living with a friend. I was completely freaked out by this. My life had, mostly, been orderly with some sense of direction and I found myself with none. My friend and I managed as best as we could to make this arrangement work. We did well for about 3 months and then one Sunday, I found myself backed into a corner with her screaming at me about some strange overreaction she was having. Honestly, I was kind of clueless about the accusations being thrown at me. I was confused, to say the least. When I told my friend she'd lost her mind (not in so many words, mind you), she and another friend of hers attacked me physically. Now, I must add here, I don't like physical violence of any kind, but I had no choice other than defend myself. When the fight was over, the three of us were in a pile on the floor. I thought it was over. It wasn't. Once we untangled ourselves and I was told to leave (because I totally would have stayed with someone who liked to attack people physically), I tried to start packing my stuff. My friend decided that it would be fun to tell her daughter that I 'beat her up,' so her daughter would come after me. Thankfully, I talked the daughter out of a fight, called some friends for help, and left, leaving many things behind.
Over the next month, I lived with some more friends, doing my best to stay out of the way. This time it was a friend and her husband. When I moved in, my friend told me not to plan on staying very long because she was leaving her husband after the holidays (it was early December). The holidays passed and my friend announced that she was moving out. Her husband blamed me. He tried to get physically violent with me and she and I left, seeing refuge with yet other friends who so graciously opened their home to us both. Long story short, this time, he did not want to let me get all of my things. He stole from me, pawned some expensive electronics of mine, and was a general pain in the ass. When I was finally able to get my stuff (his landlord forced the issue, I believe), I had lost more stuff.
I can't say that I was ever angry at either of them for what they did to me. I can't say that I am angry now, not even over the loss of most of my stuff. In the months after these incidents, I watched these two people wallow in their anger. They lost or gave up many of the things that they loved while living in that anger. It was heart-breaking for me to see and hear what was happening in their lives (because some people found it necessary to tell me).
I didn't understand what I did so wrong. I didn't understand why I was driving the people around me crazy. I didn't understand why they were projecting their own concepts and anger over them onto me. I was worried that I was going to do the same thing to one of my current roommates and still not understand what was going on around me. I consulted with my high priest about why these things happened and why their anger was so disproportionate to what I perceived actually happened. What he said to me baffled me and gave me hope that I could prevent this from happening in the future (if I could figure out what it meant and how to do it, of course).
He said that, sometimes, people's energy changes so much that, without their understanding (or consent!), their energy affects people and when that happens, those whose energy vibrates at a lower level become agitated just being in the presence of that particular person. He told me that I must learn to mask my energy to keep this from happening over and over again. He didn't tell me how to do this, but that is his way, to let me figure it out on my own.
Even more importantly than learning to mask my own energy, I observed what kind of damage anger does. I watched both of these people, neither of whom I have any ill will toward, fight with themselves on a roller coaster of emotion. I could see which decisions appeared to be made in anger and which ones weren't. I learned to be compassionate toward them. I learned to love them instead of pity them. I learned that, ultimately, we punish ourselves with our anger, not anyone else.
Now, more than ever, when someone gets angry at me, I do my best to step back and be an observer. Did I do anything wrong? Did I say something wrong? Is it just my mere presence? I do my best to not succumb to my own anger. Sometimes I succeed, other times, not so much. I suppose that one must ride his or her own roller coaster of emotion to the end when it comes to anger and how it affects us individually.
Brightest Blessings, Friends!