For me this has been true for most of my life. As for many men I worked with over the years.
My experience of anger was not very positive. As a child I haven't seen a lot of anger, except for the unhealthy and explosive kind, the uncontrollable rage. The big bang after weeks of swallowed frustration.
The anger I experienced in those situations had nothing to do with the situation that triggered it. For that reason it scared me as a young child. I didn't understand. Something small happened and was answered with so much fury. From these experiences I made an unconscious decision: "I will not get angry!"
This is what Core Energetics calls a negative intent. An unconscious decision of the lower self to protect me as a young being. "I will not get angry, because if I do I will get punished or I will hurt someone or myself."
Of course this decision was based on the expression of anger which I saw, not on the emotion itself. I perceived the aggressive expression of anger as dangerous and I was convinced that I would be seen as a dangerous person if I ever would express my anger. People would abandon me and I would end up alone. So it felt safe and loving not to get angry at all.
If I felt anger, I would just swallow the emotion, ignore it, or even turn the anger towards myself. To the world I put up a smile or I dissociated completely and disappeared.
A long time ago, a started to get awareness on what I was doing here. I started to understand why I always felt a pressure in my chest and why I wasn't able to express my anger (and with that my needs and boundaries).
A zen-master told me at that time: "Anger is like a telephone. If you don't pick it up, you will build up frustration due to the ringtone, which will go louder and louder. If you pick it up, you can ask who's calling and find out what the anger is about."
He said: "Anger is just information about your values which are not being met." If your value is integrity and someone is lying, you feel angry."
These were valuable lessons for me. Changing that mind set and learning that the emotion of anger just gives me information about my values and boundaries, completely changed my life. I can be in touch with my anger more and more and most important, I can choose how to express this! Most of the time, I can share my feelings of anger, I can set a boundary or express a fear or a need.
If I express my anger in a healthy way, I am perceived as safe, which completely contradicted my deepest believe.
Anger is ok, there is anger and I am picking up!
It will definitely come up in our ongoing men's group.
What is your relationship with anger?