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Why I’m not Clearing Anger on this Dark Moon

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Today I want to write about anger. It’s an emotion I’ve struggled with all my adult life. Anger is thought of as a negative emotion. We are taught not to show anger, to supress it. It makes other people feel uncomfortable when they see our ‘negative’ emotions. Parents don’t want their child to feel negative emotions, so they try to protect their child by telling them they’re fine when they’re not.

As someone who has been in an abusive marriage, anger is something which absolutely terrified me. It was a prelude to violence, aggression, screaming, shouting and other frightening behaviours. These are all behaviours we associate with anger, to the point that they are inseparable. Yet, that is not actually anger. Abusive people manufacture anger as an excuse to behave that way to negate responsibility for their behaviour, when there’s nothing to be angry about. Anger isn’t the cause of those behaviours, a choice to do those things is. The behaviours have nothing to do with anger. We need to separate emotions and behaviours. We can and do feel anger and not do any of those things.

Anger is actually a very important and necessary emotion. If no one ever felt anger, there would be no charities. There would be no changes in laws. There would be no united nations, children would have no rights. Slavery would still be legal in the US. Women and children would still legally be the property of a man. Without anger, women would not be able to vote, nature reserves would not exist and we would not be protected by employment laws.

There are many things which I think we should feel angry about. We should feel angry about pollution and the climate crisis. We should feel angry that racism still exists. We should feel angry about the glass ceiling. We should feel angry that four times as many black women die in childbirth as white women. We should feel angry about child abuse. We should feel angry that one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. We should feel angry that FGM still happens and that those it happens to rarely receive the support they need during and after childbirth. We should feel angry about corruption. We should feel angry when people are persecuted simply for being perceived as ‘different’. We should feel angry about government cuts to essential services such as mental health. If we didn't feel angry about these things, we wouldn't do anything to change them. This kind of anger doesn't need to have anything to do with aggression or revenge or unhelpful behaviours. Rather, a knowing that we want to do what we can to make a difference.

My plan had been to use this dark moon to clear out anger. And yes, there is old anger about certain things that no longer serves me. The kind of anger that can fester and cause problems, and that, I am clearing out. But I don’t want to clear out all anger. I only want to clear out the emotions, thoughts and beliefs which keep me stuck or hold me back. So, on this dark moon, I’m clearing out the old, ready for the new. But I’m keeping my anger about lots of things. Because anger is what drives us to take action and to make a difference.

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