Anger is like a fuel rising up from deep within me, attacking every organ in my body before exploding out. Like a fire that has just been ignited, once it leaves my body I have no control over where it goes or who it touches. Kept inside, its toxic poison plays pinball, bouncing off every cell in my body until everything is on high alert. Unable to function normally, I turn into a walking zombie – fully alive physically but often unaware of the voices and activity around me. Anger kept internally usually doesn’t appear as anger to others; it looks more like stand-offish indifference. Anger let out shows up as a short temper, as irritability, or as pathological perfectionism, hurting everyone it touches. Like its partners worry and guilt, anger keeps me completely shut off from what my senses are trying to bring in. As my senses push harder to make their input heard, my brain pushes back, focused on remaining self-absorbed in anger.
If my children are present, I become absent to them and they push harder for attention and affection, which often lands them in the path of my anger fire. Worried that they have done something, they may respond emotionally, with escalating ferocity until they break through. Those that I love now feel distant from me, unable to connect or help. As the fuel continues to burn, I begin to feel that no one understands, that no one can help, and I am alone. Withdrawing further, it becomes difficult to remember what started the fire initially, which ignites a new fire. I can see a fire storm developing. Taking a moment to focus on the cause now brings me back to the present moment. I look around at the people that I am hurting and see the love in their beautiful faces. Realizing that the anger originated from something said by someone outside of the house, I feel sorry and guilty (and rather stupid) for having behaved in this way. I return to my loved ones, now fully present in mind and body and committed to keeping the fire out. I need a drink of water.