Get help today 888-319-2606 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Using Anger as a Gateway to Your Power

Anger used to be one of the most uncomfortable emotions for me. I hated it because I felt powerless in its wake. My standard response was to shut it down and tell myself there was no point in feeling it. I just couldn’t see how getting angry would ever help the situation. That was, until the day came when I discovered that my anger was a gateway to my power.

Clearing Up the Misconceptions About Anger

I understand that for some of you, it may seem like power and anger should not go together. Perhaps your experience has been that you, or someone you know, has hurt others in the face of anger. Or you may have seen anger as a counter response when someone feels powerless.  In these cases, it is rarely expressed gracefully, but instead leads the person to exhibit controlling or manipulative behavior. I want to be clear that this is not the type of anger I am referring to.

When I talk about anger being the seat of my power, I am talking about the anger that would have been a healthy response to situations where I stuffed being shamed, diminished, overlooked, and used. My anger in these moments would have helped me stand up for myself and create a healthier dynamic, if I would have known how to use it properly.

If someone has spent his or her entire life bypassing anger in the name of being forgiving, loving, and kind, which has been my personal experience, allowing anger to arise is a huge step toward becoming more empowered. It is not so much the anger itself that I am talking about here. It is the energy of the anger, and what that energy can help us accomplish, that is so powerful.

Before I allowed myself to start getting angry, I bought into other people’s projections of me. I believed that I owed it to other people, namely the men in my life, to be what they “needed” of me. I let them use me as their source to feel better when they were down or upset.  Essentially, I was a stand-in for what they could not access within themselves. For a long time, when I would try to assert my boundaries, I was guilted and shamed. Thankfully these days, my anger can be accessed quickly. It has become one of my greatest feedback mechanisms for when I am needing to change a dynamic, speak my truth, or enforce my boundaries.

Making Anger Your (Healthy) Ally

Anger helped me create situations where my needs and desires became just as important as everyone else’s. I believe it can do this for others as well. In fact, I encourage my clients to get angry, as long as we are working with it responsibly. Every single person deserves to be upset for the times they were dismissed, abused, or used. Being angry about these situations is the healthy response. Forgiveness comes after the anger, not before.

…anger taught me how to lead myself through other people’s garbage. And it actually taught me to make my way through my own garbage as well.-Lesley WirthAdditionally, anger taught me how to lead myself through other people’s garbage. And it actually taught me to make my way through my own garbage, as well. Anger helped me question the beliefs that kept me bound to patterns that I was unhappy with. It reminded me that I am in charge of every circumstance that I am in. It did this by kindly showing itself as a tightness in my chest, whenever I was not honoring myself, and allowing my boundaries to be crossed. I can honestly say that today, I have mad respect for my anger.

You see, how we relate to the issue is the issue. If I believed that my anger was bad, unkind, or unspiritual, I would deny it. But I don’t. I believe it is healthy, normal, and my ally. My main responsibility, as it relates to my anger, is how I channel it. I do not need to attack others when I find myself upset with them. I do not need to have road rage.  And I certainly do not need to blame myself when I feel it. Instead, I get to look within and discover what I am not okay with that caused the anger to arise. Then I get to determine whether moving through it is solely an inside job, or if I need to use my voice to initiate change around me.

Give Yourself Permission

In the end, only you can give yourself permission to feel anger and utilize its benefits. I understand that letting yourself get angry can be difficult. After all, it’s not hard to come up with seemingly good reasons to bypass it. No one wants to feel it. It is uncomfortable. It hurts. And it can even be disorienting. But as you have read so far, it has its positive influences. I think for those who have repressed their anger, it should be considered the new black.

Image Courtesy of iStock

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.