Suzanne Says

Questions & Answers

April 2004

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Question: I am continuing to enjoy interrelating with the man in my life. I am learning much, and growing in self-confidence little by little. My current perception of things is that Jeff easily gets angry and I easily get fearful (I suffer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). My question: Is it that I've attracted (and am attracted to) a man who gets angry in order to heal the frightened parts of myself, or what? I'm wondering. From Faith S., Newcastle, Australia

Answer: Faith, that is a very good interpretation. Anything unfinished from the past that still frightens you inner child has the opportunity to heal today. It sounds like your current partner is someone you respect and are willing to work through emotions that trigger your issues.

I suspect that in the past you thought you had to get away from someone who got angry. This is possibly because you had a significant emotional relationship with someone who raged either covertly (slamming doors, using sarcasm, or was passive-hostile) or overtly (yelling, physically striking, critical/faultfinding). This traumatic relationship influenced your decision to put all anger, even healthy anger, in the "bad" category.

What most of us do next is use a psychological defense mechanism called projection to deal with what is labeled bad, in your case, anger. Projection is a way to protect ourselves from things we decided were off limits for us. For example, it could be possible that you project your anger outward on to others, mainly your partner, because you do not like to feel, recognize, or get angry. Since he is wired differently, he has permission in his belief system to get angry, so he easily expresses it. As you get more comfortable with identifying your own anger and learn to feel and express it appropriately, then your partner’s anger may not frighten you as much, as you have already stated in your own answer to your question.

Your partner, on the other hand, is probably doing the same thing with you over his fear. Anger, by the way, is a secondary emotion and behind it is usually fear of some kind—fear of rejection, of success, of getting what we want and deserve, and so forth. So, when you panic when another gets angry, go deeper to discover what your fear is. Shining the light of awareness into your inner world helps speed the healing process.

Those of you readers not with a trusted partner may benefit working through your issues in therapy or with a trusted, aware friend. Some people are so private or do not choose talking to another person about their problems. It is still important to do the inner work to heal your issues. Some ways to do this are meditation, prayer, and journal writing.




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