I was raised never to be angry.

Perhaps many of us were.

Especially those of us raised as girls. Especially those of us raised in a purity culture cult, where Eve was the absolute cause of all human suffering. Because of her sinfulness. Because of her wantonness. Because she just was.

I was groomed and carved by my purity culture cult not to have wants or needs. Not to have Cain-like, ungodly feelings. Not to be sad when my mother left us to serve our new (fake) Messiah.

Certainly, never to be mad.

My therapist has long told me, as I’ve struggled to let myself be and feel angry, that anger is a way of us knowing what we want and need.

It’s at least mildly incomprehensible when she says it, and often goes to the “Wah, wah, wah” of the adults offscreen in the Peanuts cartoons. It’s as if the words don’t make sense and definitely don’t sink in. I often ask her to repeat what she’s said.

Or I’ll hear it and understand it for a moment and then lose it within seconds, as my brain rejects the concept, as it was groomed and carved to do. My brain that is afraid that I will break god’s heart if I’m angry. That I will be the cause of all human suffering.

But, spoiler alert, it’s true.

I heard this also on the We Can Do Hard Things podcast (which I wholeheartedly recommend!). That anger tells us what we need. That many of us, especially those of us raised as girls, were not allowed to be angry. Not allowed to have a voice. Not allowed to voice our needs. Not allowed to have needs, other than needing to keep everyone else happy.

I don’t have to do anything with my anger, other than acknowledge it, feel it, and listen to what it’s telling me.

It’s telling me what I want. It’s telling me what I need. It’s telling me that the boundaries that I may not even know I have, have been crossed.

I still stop and question the anger, to better understand it, although I now do so lovingly. I query how big and important the need or want is. I reflect on if it’s a fair thing to ask of someone else, if it’s something that someone else can actually give me, or if I’d be better off filling my want or need myself or in a different way. I pause. I breathe. I look deeply inside and around myself. I choose what I want to do with the anger and what is most likely to bring me more calm. More joy. More love.

More of what I need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on unsplash

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