|Photo Credit: Birgit Lengert|
- hurt, depression, rejection, fear, insecurity, anxiety, embarrassment, grief, disappointment, loneliness, and so many more.
- These feelings are more difficult to identify, accept and share even with our spouse.
- We may see ourselves as inadequate, less than our best, even a failure with these feelings.
- They send up red flags "Don't go there!"
MF: This masquerade of anger can make it difficult to identify other feelings. It has been our experience that when anger is a cover up feeling it is even more intense because:
- we are heavily guarded or defended as we protect and suppress the unidentified feeling.
- Questions like "Why are you so angry?" can be like adding oxygen to the fire.
- Anger can be off-putting, providing a wall and giving us space.
|Photo Credit: Abigail Keenan|
As I stood there, I was overwhelmed with tears at my response to the bird. I flashed on times when I had recently been "over the top" angry with Tom. I realized my response was not normal, but a symptoms of depression, general frustration and feeling unsettled in my life.
TOM: You do not fight fire with fire. When Mary Frances is over the top with anger, I'm most helpful by being patient and waiting momentarily for harsh words to cool down. Over the top is a clue there is something else going on and it is probably painful, and not my fault. Being kind and gentle is more likely to contain the fire than probing questions or accusations. This act of solidarity frequently allows Mary Frances time to recognize the buried feeling and to share it with me. Often being patient can allow her tears to completely extinguish the flames.
These experiences build trust that we will be there for each other if either of us experiences difficult situations where hidden feelings explode as anger. This solidarity gives us the security to be less heavily guarded when we experience these other feelings and more likely to recognize and share them with each other.