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The topic this week was inspired by listener Jennifer
Linda, Can you read the email from Jennifer?
I’ve attended Al-Anon for about 3 years as well as O.A. I’ve been thinking about the difference between anger and wrath with the definition of anger being “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility” and wrath being “vengeance or punishment as the consequence of anger.”
Anger is an important emotion. It lets us know when something is wrong, sometimes inside and sometimes outside of us. It motivates us to make change, because we are uncomfortable, dissatisfied or unsafe. However, anger is a secondary emotion. It’s protective of more vulnerable feelings such as fear and grief.
For many years of my life I was out of touch with the feelings protected by my anger. Growing up, I lacked good role models to show me how to value my dignity and the dignity of others while addressing anger.
Wrath comes out of uncontrolled anger and a desire to punish. Wrath holds no space for compassion or human dignity, neither for self or other. Wrath requires purity of intent and of outcome. It is insolent and volatile. It seeks to shore up its own ego. It is intolerant of the uncertainty and imperfection inherent to the experience of being alive. It holds an unattainable ideal that will eventually leave it cast into exile along with the “offenders.”
I’d like a discussion about:
What is anger for you?
What is wrath for you?
How are they different?
How are they the same?
Is anger ok? Why or why not?
Is wrath ok? Why or why not?
At what point does anger turn into wrath?
Why is wrath bad for you? What are the consequences?
-What are the barriers to feeling our anger and getting to the underlying feelings?
-What are the rewards of doing this work and what are the consequences of not doing it.
-How can we make ourselves ready, willing and able to do this work.
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Buddy from Ga