We have been married over 23 years, and, as in any marriage, we have been through both wonderful times and many challenges. We also work together, writing and teaching, and have two offices next to each other. Inevitably, there are times when one or even both of us loses it. We are, after all, very human. But, in all that time, we have been committed to never go to bed angry with each other, or with anyone else.
What we have come to realize is that it is never really about the issue, but the need for the ego to be right. So we try to see how the ego is demanding attention, and then focus on what is really going on. Anger is a powerful and complex emotion — when it grabs hold it is difficult to control your mind or keep your bearings — but there are often layers of conflicting feelings hidden beneath it, such as hurt, insecurity, or fear, trying to make themselves heard. The power of rage is such that it can act as a defense mechanism and overshadow these other emotions, causing us to lose touch with ourselves and struggle to articulate what we are really feeling.
Getting angry may really be a cry for contact, having lost our connectedness with each other; it may be expressing feelings of rejection, grief, loneliness, or a longing to love and be loved. Often anger is saying I love you, or I need you, or please hear me, yet we are hurling abuse at each other instead.