You know the feeling.
The red-hot lump of lava gathering in your chest. Its acid vapours crawling up your throat. Clawing, constricting, squeezing until breathing is a chore.
The tension inside that’s mounting. Intensifying, swelling. Filling your entire body with unbearable pressure.
And you try to control your anger.
You do your best to force it back down, distract yourself from the overwhelming urge to surrender to it. You struggle against the impulse to scream and punch, just to alleviate the pain and make the agonising stress disappear.
But, once again, you fail.
Once again, the rage is uncontainable. Its sheer intensity and power take you over. You have no chance. It explodes from you in a violent outburst. Destroying, insulting, smashing, hurting.
And when it’s all over, the welcome wave of relief is soon obliterated by shame, guilt and self-disgust. You feel like a horrible, unhinged brute. Maybe even a danger to yourself and others. Regret chokes you, makes you hate yourself.
How can you ever make this right, repair the damage you did when you allowed your fury to take control? How can you live with yourself now and for the rest of your life?
And perhaps most importantly:
How can you stop it from happening again, and again, and again?
When anger destroys your life and mental health
For a long time, uncontrollable anger was a massive problem for me.
I could cope with grief and depression, had found ways to deal with fear and anxiety, but anger kept overwhelming me. Leaving me no choice but to act on it, lash out to get relief from the excruciating emotional pain I harboured inside.
And while I never physically injured anybody, my angry words hurt those I loved most, destroyed my relationship with myself and almost cost me my marriage.
I tried hard to overcome it. I meditated, repeated various affirmations and practiced “just letting it go”. But whenever things didn’t go my way, whenever disasters struck (no matter how small), I would still blow up.
Two years I was trapped in an endless cycle of rage, shame and remorse. I beat myself up for my lack of control, loathed myself for the mortifying outbursts and lived in constant horror that I may explode anytime.
I believed something was seriously wrong with me. Until I discovered the root cause for my anger. And was finally able to eliminate it from my life.
The vital cause of your anger
All emotional pain originates in increased internal pressure in our energy body, which results from excessive suppressed emotions.
The exact cause and mechanisms involved are discussed in detail in the first part of this series: A powerful tactic to release emotional pain.
In short, the more emotions and traumatic experiences you suppress throughout your life, the higher your internal pressure will rise. It’s like a party balloon. The more air you blow into it, the higher the internal pressure will be. Until the balloon cannot contain it any longer.
And it bursts.
When our internal pressure becomes critical, the unbearable burden of suppressed energies threatens to impair our energy system and health. It must be relieved at all cost.
In such emergency situations, the energy body therefore has three mechanisms (or valves) to release critical pressure before our energy system is permanently damaged:
Crying fits, panic attacks, and anger outbursts.
While all of these emergency valves are distressing and painful in their own rights, they serve the crucial purpose of dropping internal pressure below a (energetically, emotionally, mentally and physically) harmful level.
The type of valve release depends on many, individual factors and no fixed rule of thumb exists. But a main determinant is the nature of the emotions we habitually suppressed (and still suppress) in the first place.
The self-perpetuating reason why you cannot control your anger outbursts
When you feel an anger outburst coming on, you can try to suppress it again. But, at this point, your internal pressure is already at a critical level. And you physically cannot control your anger any longer.
So, your only option is to act on it. To scream, insult, punch, destroy. And then, to suffer shame, guilt and self-hatred as a result of your out-of-control emotions. Which you again suppress as good as you can, further increasing your internal pressure.
And since it is critically high already, this is often enough to take you back over the threshold, straight into another anger attack.
You are trapped in a vicious anger cycle.
But this doesn’t mean that you are too weak, too pathetic or worthless to get your emotions in check. Neither are you a horrible, aggressive person, with an irredeemably flawed character.
It merely means that the bulk of your suppressed emotions has become so damaging that the pressure needs to be released. Or else it will harm your energy body and, in time, your emotional, mental and physical health (in particular, the liver is easily hurt by excessive suppressed anger).
The anger outburst or uncontrollable rage is a (unpleasant and sometimes dangerous) way to relieve the pressure to a point where it is again bearable (if only just).
But if you cannot control your anger outbursts as and when they happen, what can you do?
The 3 steps to eliminating anger outbursts from your life
It’s improbable that you will be able to control your anger outbursts when your internal pressure has reached critical level. All those suppressed emotions must be released before they harm you.
It’s imperative. And natural.
If your bladder is full, you have no choice but to pee. If your energy body is full, you have no choice but to release the pressure.
So, it’s not your fault that you find yourself in this struggle, this angry battle against yourself.
But this is no excuse to hurt others or yourself (there is never an excuse to hurt others or yourself!). Because you are not a helpless victim of your rage. You are not beyond redemption or recovery.
I know, anger is one of the most socially unacceptable emotions. It makes it difficult to love and accept yourself, or be loved and accepted by others.
But your anger outbursts change nothing about your infinite worth as a person. You ARE worth.
And you alone have the power to eliminate the anger outbursts from your life. Bit by bit, in three powerful, daily action steps.
ACTION STEP 1: Reduce your internal pressure below critical level
If you want to control your anger outbursts, it’s crucial to reduce your internal pressure to a point where it is no longer at critical level. The lower your internal pressure, the lower the need to release excess pressure. And the less frequently anger outbursts will occur.
So, you have to start chipping away at all those emotions you stuffed into your energy body in the past. And you can only do this when you are not dealing with an immediate anger outburst or acute feelings of rage and frustration.
I know from experience that it is impossible to let the anger go when your internal pressure is critical. But you can let go of suppressed emotions in between anger outbursts.
With this simple, but powerful, breathing exercise:
5-Step Pressure Relief Breathing
- 1Sit or lie down comfortably. Don’t cross your arms or legs as it impedes the energy flow. Close your eyes.
- 2Now set the intention to release trapped energies. Just affirm: “I am willing to release suppressed emotions, stress and limiting beliefs. I am free.”
- 3Take a deep breath in through your heart centre.
- 4Hold for a second and remind yourself of the intention to release. Energy follows attention.
- 5Exhale through your solarplexus (a major energy centre about 2 cm above your belly button). While you breathe out visualise the released energies leaving your body.
Repeat steps 3 to 5 at least 5 times.
You can see a demonstration of this breathing exercise, that helped me to eliminate anger outbursts from my life, in this video, starting at 11 minutes 49 seconds. If you have the time, watch the entire video as it will give you a more detailed description of how suppressed emotions cause excessive internal pressure and what you can do about it.
ACTION STEP 2: Stop suppressing new emotional clutter
Reducing your internal pressure by eliminating old emotional baggage is a great first step. But to eliminate anger outbursts, you must also stop suppressing more anger.
You see, if your house is crammed with clutter, it helps to bin some stuff here and there. Maybe run a garage sale. But as long as you keep hoarding more stuff, your situation will only get worse.
Because anger is so socially unacceptable, we are especially prone to suppressing it. To just swallow it and assume it’s dealt with. But it’s now stuck in your energy body, festering, brewing, poisoning your energy system. Causing havoc along the way when the pressure becomes unbearable.
But you can stop suppressing it using a simple mindfulness technique.
Mindfully Dissolving Your Anger
- 1Next time when you feel an angry emotion, such as rage, resentment, frustration, hatred, do not push it down. Concentrate on it. Give it all your attention. Zoom in on it.
- 2Take a deep breath and focus on nothing but the angry emotion.
- 3Don’t act on it. Just breathe and intensely feel every last bit of your anger. Yes, it is uncomfortable, maybe it even hurts. At the beginning, it will make you squirm. You will resist, feel like an idiot. But keep going.
- 4The emotion cannot withstand your conscious attention for more than 60 seconds. Your awareness will use up all the angry energy, leaving nothing to be suppressed. The anger will subside, morph into something else or dissipate. And you dealt with it without increasing your internal pressure.
Do this every time an emotion stirs deep inside, and you will soon feel lighter, happier and more empowered to control your anger.
ACTION STEP 3: Forgive yourself
It’s true that anger outbursts stem from the suppression of mainly angry emotions through the course of your life. But we also internalise other feelings that will increase internal pressure.
You see, if we experience frequent anger outbursts, panic attacks or crying fits, we consider ourselves failures. We mistake the vital, automatic mechanisms our energy system uses to deal with critical internal pressure for signs of character weakness, worthlessness or unacceptable flaws in ourselves.
As a result, we feel guilty and ashamed, we beat ourselves up. And these extremely damaging emotions further increase internal pressure. Aggravating the situation and dragging you into an ever-deepening downward spiral of uncontrollable emotions.
So, in addition to removing old emotional clutter (ACTION STEP 1) and stopping to suppress new angry energy (ACTION STEP 2), you also need to reduce feelings of guilt, shame and self-hatred.
You must realise, and accept, that you are doing your best. Yes, at this moment in time, you struggle to control your anger. You hate the person you become when the emotion takes over.
But it doesn’t happen because you aren’t good enough. You aren’t a loathsome, aggressive monster. Or out-of-control freak.
You just suffer from excessive internal pressure.
And you can do something about it. You can work your way out of the daily struggle. You deserve to be at peace. To be balanced and happy.
You ARE worth. Regardless of how your body releases extreme pressure.
And it’s time to forgive yourself for what happened in the past. What’s still happening now. And move forward with a more positive opinion about yourself.
Because forgiveness too will reduce internal pressure.
So, every day for the next three weeks (at least), take out five minutes from your busy schedule for this easy forgiveness exercise.
- 1Sit or lie down comfortably. Avoid crossing your arms or legs (it impedes the energy flow).
- 2Now, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Relax your body as good as you can.
- 3Visualise yourself standing in front of yourself as a small child. Innocent, vulnerable, alone.
- 4Look at yourself and explore what you feel. Is there disappointment, regret, anger?
- 5Take a deep breath and say: “I forgive you. You are doing your best. I am here to support you. You ARE worth. And I love you.”
- 6You may need several attempts at this and there may be tears. Don’t worry about it. It happens to everybody. Just keep trying. Be patient. If you can’t say it today, attempt it again tomorrow. If you cannot bring yourself to say the words, hug your child. Give it some love in any way you can.
If you need help with this, try my guided meditation: Heal your inner child.
Once you are comfortable forgiving yourself as a child, move on to your inner teenager. Your inner 20-year old, 30-year old… And finally, your present YOU.
They all deserve forgiveness. It’s the best way I know to make peace with yourself and reduce internal pressure at the same time. Win-win.
The liberating reason why you are not a horrible person
Anger outbursts, crying fits, panic attacks make us feel weak, out of control of our own emotions and our life. As such, we tend to hide them as good as we can.
But, in contrast to crying and panic attacks, anger outbursts and rage are loud and destructive. They affect other people, hurt, insult, devastate. They convince us that we are evil, irredeemably corrupted, damaged beyond repair.
But there is a reason why you suffer from anger outbursts. And a way out.
Practice the three action steps every single day and you will soon feel the difference. Your anger outbursts will become less frequent, maybe even disappear. Not overnight, but gradually, your internal pressure will decrease.
Day by day, your emotional burden will be lifted. You will feel lighter, happier, more balanced. You no longer need to live in fear of the next detonation.
And you will have finally escaped the vicious cycle of rage and shame.
You will be free to enjoy your life. Just like you deserve it.
Because you are a good person. Don’t let anybody convince you of the opposite.
Especially not yourself.