You know the ones.
You want it to end.
You’d give just about anything to not have to deal with this person ever again.
But they’re still there.
You haven’t figured out how to break the ties with this person just yet. But oh, you’d give just about anything to be able to do so.
There comes a point in some relationships when we have to question why a certain individual is still showing up in our lives. Perhaps they’re our partner we live with, a family member, an ex, or maybe an old friend. Maybe it’s a whole group of people.
Whoever they are, you are vividly aware of the fact that they stir something up in you that is unpleasant.
You have the irritations. You’re short on patience. You sometimes stay exorbitantly silent (or perhaps get really loud). Your body tenses when you have to deal with them.
Perhaps they even consume a far greater amount of your thought space than you’d really care to admit. Either way, this person is taking up your energy, and you know it.
Undoubtedly, this relationship was once beneficial, but now it has gotten to a point where it depletes you. You consistently have your guard up. You practice avoiding them when you can.
But for whatever reason, it feels like you have to keep dealing with this person.
So now what? How do we get past the frustrations, irritations, and feeling like we constantly have to defend ourselves against this person?
Perhaps it’s time to question the bigger picture that this person is serving in our lives. What does this person bring to us to look at that maybe no other person really could?
Shamanic Practitioner and spiritual leader, Char Sundust, would say that what’s on the other side of our anger is our passion. While this individual stirs our anger in us, they give us an opportunity to witness our passions.
Perhaps we’re passionate about someone or something we love—maybe it’s our need for justice, or maybe it’s our need to be seen, heard, and acknowledged—whatever we’re passionate about, our anger gives us an opportunity to look at it more deeply and up close. (And undoubtedly, this is a vulnerable process.)
Our anger also gives us an opportunity to witness where our boundaries are and what happens when we do or don’t assert them.
Part of anger is the need for protection. Perhaps we grew up in situations that inhibited our ability to articulate our needs, and now as an adult, we feel the sense of tension that rises when our needs contradict another’s.
Yet, what is true is that when we maintain our own boundaries and stand firm in tending to our own needs, we also give other individuals around us an opportunity to be present to their own needs. And when two adults can take full responsibility for themselves, it can help the relationship operate in a way that does not promote codependency.
Anger can often present itself when we have been tending to the needs of others to the extent that it depletes our energy in the process. Sometimes tending to the needs of others will feel revitalizing and create sustainability, community, and intimacy.
But if it’s not adding to our lives, then we need to pay attention to the ways it’s taking away from our lives.
It’s up to you to listen to your body and feel into what happens in these different situations.
So, when it comes to the individual that you seem to not be able to get rid of, because they create more anger in you than what is comfortable, remember to consider what it is you’re passionate about and what your boundaries are that you need to follow through on.
While working with the anger that visits you, remember to allow it to speak through you.
Say out loud to the other person (if you can) how you’re feeling and figure out what you want to see happen instead. That way, you can make direct requests from the other person, so they know specifically what you want to see.
Otherwise, they may not even know what you actually want from them. And then neither of you will make progress together.
If you can’t speak directly to the person, perhaps finding other means of communication or your own form of processing (maybe with a journal) could be helpful as well.
Sometimes, we really can’t avoid a certain person (say our boss). But we can learn how to speak through our anger and assert our boundaries.
Otherwise, soon enough, the person we’re not comfortable being around will be ourselves.
Because it won’t be just this one person or one group. We’ll continue to find ourselves in situations where we get hurt because we haven’t figured out how to assert our own needs.
And lastly, if you can, thank your anger.
It’s teaching you a valuable lesson about the things you don’t like and creating a space in you that can inspire change.