How Long Should We Hold Onto Anger?
By Bart Sharp
How long we hang onto anger is a good measure to how much we have resolved anger in our life. By definition, anger is an energy to take action and once we do or process what we need to move the anger, we should go back to a calm state within the space of an half a hour in most cases. The anger should not resurface again because it was resolved.
It is common for people to reenact anger of past events and become re-inflamed with the event. For some this is a steady reoccurrence and what it tells us is there are other incidents of anger unrelated to the event they are angry about that are triggered. When we re-live anger on a regular basis it indicates there are unresolved events in our life. These past events are being re-lived even though the topic the person is angry about is something from the recent past.
For some re-creating anger is an addictive process. They are drawn into their stories several times a day by reacting to daily events and then reliving them in their thoughts and stories. They never realize underneath the present tense stories are unresolved events being relived each day. For example, a person may have much anger at their boss and they are reenacting anger towards their father who is much like their boss. Anger never really stops till they start looking at how they have created anger throughout their life.
If we become angry about the same things regularly there is something within us that has not resolved issues deeper than the daily events. Otherwise we would be able to see the pattern and take action to resolve it. Repeated anger always has an unresolved judgment such as, “I am helpless when my father becomes angry and I cannot express my anger to father but repress it” Then as adults when we encounter a similar situation we unconsciously perceive ourselves as helpless because we could not find the solution as a child and believe we are helpless to find it as an adult. Once again we are left holding the anger inside of us. The pattern has been set until we can see the judgment we created but when we do we begin the path of emotional transformation with anger.
Looking at how long we hold on to anger in a situation gives us insight to how much repressed anger we have. Ideally we should use anger with an intensity required to get the job done. We may need to yell at someone such as our children playing in the street to get the message across playing in the street is dangerous, only the correct amount of intensity required. Using anger should feel like a role we are playing, it comes in us and we play the part needed and then its job is completed. We quickly return to a natural calm state. If we remain angry or continue to return to by expressing it or feeling it in resentments then we have unsolved anger within us.