When your life has been filled with disappointment and loss, a significant amount of rage can be built up inside. Rage at missing out, rage at being hurt so deeply. Rage at feeling unable to enjoy life. Rage at those people and events that hurt you, held you back or stopped you in some way from living life how you thought it should be.
The truth is everyone will experience loss and challenge. Life does contain ups and downs, good times and sad times, joyful and painful times. The rage is just blocked emotion. You have deep grief and sadness inside and you are stopping yourself from feeling it, it builds, it becomes a pressure, a weight, a burden on your shoulders pushing for your attention, asking you to feel it, to give in to it, to grieve what you lost and let go of the pain.
The more you resist it, the stronger the rage gets and the more easily you are triggered by day to day events. If your reaction is over the top, you know it is the pain underneath toppling out. The day to day events provides you with an opportunity to diffuse your bomb, to let out a little bit of steam so you don’t self destruct and explode.
When rage is felt at these extremes, it is dangerous and has the potential for harm to occur to others. It could be random strangers or people you love. When the top comes off the bottle it can be volatile and venomous. The challenge then becomes how to release this rage with as little damage to self or others as possible.
There are many ways to release the rage. Some people like to yell or punch a punching bag. You can run and stomp it out as you go. You can draw how you feel and let the energy move from within you out onto the paper.
You need to titrate it, to let it out bit by bit. Another powerful way to do it is to use Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to help release the stress, tension and trauma out of your body. You may have noticed that when you are enraged you start to shake. Your hands might shake with rage wanting to let it out, express it.
This is a sign that your autonomic nervous system is overloaded. It is highly activated and locked in fight/flight mode. You need to help it calm back down into a relaxed state. That’s what TRE does. It helps the nervous system to release that built-up tension. It unwinds the wound up tight muscles so that you can breathe more deeply and relax back down.
Whatever has triggered you on the outside may have been quite small. It’s the built-up energy and unexpressed emotion within you that leads to the overreaction, to blowing your top.
TRE is just a set of simple exercises to activate your body’s natural stress release mechanism. Just as your body automatically tenses up when a threat is sensed, it also has a process for it to relax back down. It’s just that most of us don’t know about it, so we don’t allow our body to naturally balance back up.
It does so through tremoring. Your muscles will tremor and move to use up the cortisol and adrenaline released in your body to prepare you to fight or run away. So your legs and arms may move, shake to use up this energy as if you were running or fighting. Your torso will twist and contort as well as shake mirroring defensive movements to avoid being hit.
When threat occurs we automatically contract. We hunch over to protect our self. We might stiffen and stand tall to show our strength resisting the urge to run away. All of this contraction, stiffness and hypervigilant energy stays in the body if we don’t actually fight or run. It’s this that leads to our stiff muscles, aching shoulders and backs. TRE is a natural process that you can use to help your body release this tension and calm back down.
If you’d like to learn more about TRE visit the TRE page of my website. There you will see what it looks like to allow your body to tremor and discharge the energy. You can learn TRE in a session or two, then you can use it as a self-care tool at home whenever you like for the rest of your life. It’s well worth doing for the sake of those you love and who hate to see you in pain or bare witness to your rage when it comes out in destructive ways. Give yourself and those you love freedom from that. TRE can help.
You can also use visualisation and ritual. Visualise a burial ceremony for the rage and acknowledge the grief underneath it. See a tombstone and grave in front of you, fall to your knees and allow yourself to cry. Cry for what you have lost, for what you missed out on, for what you haven’t been able to do. Weep for those you loved who left you or died when you were young. Release the pain to Mother Earth, she can take it.
Surrender to the process and let yourself grieve. You truly are mourning the aspects of life that hurt you. Be gentle with yourself over coming days and honour that grave and what it represents. Visualise yourself visiting each day and putting fresh flowers on it, caring for it, pulling up weeds and tidying up. Each day you go your pain will be less, you will find a sense of peace and belonging, a feeling of coming home to yourself.
Be humble and quiet and let yourself be strengthened. Love and light will fill the space in you that had been suffocating in pain. With that released you can now stand strong, welcome in the happier parts of you – your inner child – and you can start to explore life anew from this place of greater peace and freedom from the past.
You are not really angry at life, you are just hurting and need to release the grief. You can do so safely with little damage to self or others. Love and honour yourself and those you interact with. No one deserves your rage, your judgement or blame. Each has done the best they could. Each is coping with their own internal struggles. If they could have done better they would have. Let it go and accept what is. Choose love and peace in all you do and you will find happiness. It is inevitable and it will happen. Blessed BE, Amen.