Maybe you worry that if you finally let the anger flow through you, you’ll fall into a dark place.
This is one of the reasons widowed moms get stuck in a grief plateau.
But when you change your relationship with your feelings, anger included, your life starts to transform before your very eyes, and I’m showing you how on this episode.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 148, Why Anger is a Problem.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St. Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I just finished our Master’s Retreat, Mom Goes On Master’s Retreat, and it was so much fun. I forgot how much I love doing retreats. So, Mom Goes On Master’s is the program that the women who have completed Mom Goes On can do if they want to keep coaching and want to keep growing, and once every six months, we do an online retreat.
This was my favorite retreat yet. It was really fun for me to put it together, to watch all the lightbulbs turn on. I even had a fun playlist as we did it. It was just a really moving and enjoyable experience for me. So, for those of you who were there. I’m so proud of you. I’m so proud of how you showed up for yourself, and it’s just such an honor and a privilege. And for those of you who weren’t there. I missed you, but I know life happens.
So, anyway, okay, let’s get into the episode. Why anger is a problem. Have you ever wondered why you feel so angry, and you can’t let it go? Maybe you think anger is pointless, and you don’t want to feel it. Still, you also can’t seem to get away from it, or maybe you worry that if you let yourself feel angry that you’ll fall into a dark place or that you’ll act in ways that you don’t want to act or that you’ll lose control of your anger. Maybe this sounds familiar to you.
What I see and why I want to do this episode is because time and time again, as I work with widowed moms who want to feel joyful and confident, right? Who want to love life again. I see the same patterns with pervasive anger. I see them wishing it wasn’t there, judging themselves for feeling angry and actively trying to avoid feeling angry. So, if you’re doing this, I want to talk it through.
Because from where I sit, it makes total sense. When we understand a couple of things, when we understand that one, our primitive brain is wired to avoid pain, that two, most of us were never taught how to feel a feeling, and that three, mad is often the guardian of sad. So, let me tell you what I mean by those three things. Our primitive brain is designed to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be efficient, right? There’s a whole podcast episode called The Motivational Triad for Widows. You can check that one out, and this motivational triad has served our survival very well, right?
It’s kept us alive. It’s kept us procreating, seeking pleasure, avoiding pain. You know, staying away from things that could kill us, being efficient so that we didn’t burn too many calories if we didn’t have enough food. So, it’s served us very well in terms of our survival, but when it comes to the emotions of grief, it’s not working so well because the only way around emotions of grief is through. That’s it. You cannot avoid emotions. They will wait for you, but our primitive brain would just rather not.
It would just rather not. So, we avoid intense emotions, and we come by it honestly. Believe it or not, it’s the avoidance of intense emotions that actually takes more effort and energy than actually feeling them. Most of us, point number two, were never taught how to feel a feeling, and when we think of feeling a feeling, what we imagine is something awful. We imagine that feeling is going to overcome us. That we’re going to get lost in it, right?
That we will lose control of it. That we’ll react to it, and with anger, that will be an angry person. Especially if what we saw growing up was angry parents or angry adults, and we don’t want to be that way, and we don’t want to do that to our kids. Of course, we fear anger because we were never shown what it looks like to allow it and have a healthy relationship with it. So, it makes complete sense that we avoid feeling angry. Our primitive brain is wired to avoid pain. Most of us were never taught how to feel a feeling, and so then, of course, what we resist, persists.
So, the emotions that we avoid, including anger, become more pervasive, more problematic. It’s like we can feel the pressure building, and we don’t know how to release it without feeling out of control. So, we just do everything we can do to talk ourselves out of it, get away from it, distract ourselves from it, and not feel it. In some ways, this can be kind of protective because when anger is at the forefront, we don’t have to face what often lays beneath it.
Because mad is often the guardian of sad. Have you heard this before? Maybe you have? It’s what I find over and over in coaching widowed moms. Once we truly allow the anger to flow through us, what often lies beneath it is a deep sadness. And you think our primitive brain doesn’t want pain. Sadness is a lower vibration than anger. Right?
So, our brain would rather experience anger than sadness. Yet, sadness is what we ultimately need to process and let flow through us so we can start feeling joyful again. So, of course, if our human brain is wired to avoid pain, and we were never taught how to feel a feeling and allow ourselves to feel it so that it’s not a problem, right? And if allowing ourselves to feel anger means then that we’ll also have to feel sad, doesn’t it make sense that we might stay stuck in anger?
Doesn’t it make sense that we might not want to feel it? Doesn’t it make sense that we might push it away, which adds energy to it, and so it persists? I titled this podcast episode why anger is a problem, but the real truth is that anger itself is not a problem. Anger only becomes a problem when we resist it, avoid it, and react to it. When we don’t learn to feel and process it, that’s when anger becomes a problem.
When we define ourselves as an angry person instead of a human who is just feeling angry, that’s when anger becomes a problem. When we don’t listen to what anger is trying to tell us, that’s when it becomes a problem. So, anger is not a problem in it of itself, and that’s why you’ll hear me say it 37 million times. In my Mom Goes On coaching program, the number one relationship we work to change is our relationship with feelings, and anger is one of those feelings.
It’s exactly the work that our higher brain knows is valuable. Still, our primitive brain would rather avoid, would rather just not. It’s one of the main reasons that widowed moms get stuck in a grief plateau. So, if we change our relationship with feelings, anger included, then our lives start changing before our very eyes. I promise you.
So, if anger feels like a problem to you, if feelings feel like a problem to you, you didn’t do anything wrong at all. There’s nothing wrong with you, and you also don’t have to stay there. You can completely change your relationship with anger and learn to allow it and let it flow through you and learn to see it as normal, an absolute part of grief. Once you’ve figured out how to allow the anger, you’ll just apply the same skill to allowing the sadness that’s beneath it.
Ultimately processing all of that letting it all flow through you is what makes it possible for you to see things differently, for you to genuinely start loving life again. But, I promise you, as long as you’re resisting it, as long as you’re avoiding it, as long as you think it’s got some power over you, you’re going to stay stuck in that plateau. So, I want more for you. You do not have to do that. Better is possible for you, right? If I can do it, you can do it.
Okay, do you hear me? Okay, if you want more support on this, you might go back and check out The Widowed Mom Podcast episode that’s called How To Feel Better Now, and it’s episode three. Again, come join us in Mom Goes On. This is the first skill we’re going to work on. Over six months, I guarantee that if you follow the process, I teach your relationship with feelings, including anger, will change. You will start seeing yourself as more powerful than feelings. You will start believing that feelings aren’t problems to solve, they’re just experiences to allow, and that’s what I want for you.
Okay, shorter episode today, but I hope it was really helpful. Remember, I love you, and you’ve got this. Take care, and I’ll see you next week.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so that you can move forward with confidence. Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.