In this post, we’ll be going over ideas about shadow work for anger.
First, let’s quickly go over what shadow and shadow work is.
What is Shadow Self & Shadow Work?
Your shadow self, or shadow, is the side of yourself you have no awareness of. It holds all the qualities you disowned during your formative years.
Although you learned to repress these qualities and push them outside of your awareness, they still live underneath the surface.
They unconsciously guide your actions and are the unseen cause for many of the troubles in your life.
Shadow work is the intentional practice of becoming aware of your unconscious shadow and integrating these neglected qualities into your being—becoming whole.
This is a process of building self-awareness, self-acceptance, and universal Love.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”Carl Jung
Shadow Work for Anger
Anger is a foundational emotion that’s supposed to let you know that you’ve somehow been violated.
This is a self-defense mechanism built into us to protect our being.
However, many people only understand anger as something that others “do to us,” as opposed to being a feature that comes from within.
Society in the western world has done an excellent job of almost “pacifying” us into restraining any expressions of anger so that we can come off as more polite or civilized.
These unexpressed emotions, anger, longing, sadness, etc., get pushed outside of our awareness.
However, these emotional qualities are a part of who we are and need to be expressed.
Without a healthy outlet, these emotions become symptomatic, usually in the form of a distorted psyche and lack of self-awareness.
Managing Your Anger
There are times where you feel angry at someone or something, even when you don’t understand why.
This is because anger is something you feel in your body before it’s understood.
But even after it’s understood, it’s essential to know how you are managing this feeling.
As a baby and child, you would simply cry out of anger. But as you get older, you learn to restrain the angry desire to physically harm others and instead verbalize your emotions.
Some people in their formative years have been taught that there is no tolerance for anger. And many people who weren’t given space to express this emotion may find themselves afraid of their own anger.
There are three typical ways people handle their emotions:
- Repress emotions, which results in them attacking you from within later on.
- Act out on the feeling, which typically results in unsavory situations.
- Recognize the feeling and discern the best way to handle and utilize it.
Recognizing the emotion and honoring it in an intelligent way is how a person can harness and manage an emotion rather than be under its control.
Check out this brief video clip Genuine Anger versus Abuse & Drama.
Active Imagination for Self-Awareness
This here is a very broad active imagination meditation to consider.
Take time when you are alone and think about someone you are mad at. Then, close your eyes and allow yourself to imagine the things you wish to say or do to this person.
It won’t take much effort because something in your being already knows what it wants to do and how it wants to express itself.
Understand that there isn’t anything wrong with any fucked up desires you may be envisioning.
There’s a reason that it’s there.
By acknowledging that these angry qualities are a part of who you are, you will integrate your anger and build self-awareness.
When you deny that this is who you are, you let this shadow quality grow blacker and denser.
But when you contain these qualities within your recognition, it becomes tempered; you’ve brought it to awareness—into the light.
Shadow is not evil, and it’s not bad. It’s simply different than who you think yourself to be.
But you are more than you think you are.
This is not permission to act on those angry desires. That’s typically the devastating result of denying your Self—
Some murderers claim their actions to be an act of God; they deny their anger because they don’t want to identify their ego with it, so they project these disowned qualities to a higher power.
Instead, this is permission for you to acknowledge that it’s you—without judgment.
When you understand that it’s you, you have more power over it.
People who oppose this are judgmental and are lacking in their own self-awareness. They likely view it as evil, or in other words—opposing their own way of life (somehow).
This is arrogance; too close-minded to see another person’s perspective. A lack of compassion towards someone who may need it most.
Psyche Uses Anger to Point Out What’s Wrong
Your psyche uses anger to point out when you’ve been violated, when there’s something in the way of your goal, or even not getting a need met.
Fasting is actually a good way of getting in touch with your anger. You are sort of taking advantage of the “hangry” effect, on top of the mental clarity that resting your body from digestion offers.
A few years back, I would put myself on a drastic caloric restriction a few days every couple of months. During these restricted days, I noticed that my perception would change, and I would gain an attitude towards certain things.
Understand that when you have an “attitude” about something, it’s because you believe yourself to know something that others don’t.
I think it’s worth fasting to reveal anything in your perception that you aren’t recognizing.
Consult your healthcare provider/doctor/etc. before doing so.
Be Suspicious of Your Anger’s Motivations
Understand that your ego may conjure up explanations for why you’re angry that aren’t necessarily true.
Check out this brief clip How Ego Helps You & F%cks With You.
Sometimes our anger is a few layers deeper than we believe. Simply because the ego is uncomfortable with the deeper truth and would instead give you an explanation it’s much more comfortable with.
For example, a man or woman can decide to “switch teams” because it’s easier to point their finger outward at an entire group of people than to point inward and confront their own inner wounds.
Stereotypical Anger in Man and Woman
I want to point out that I’m going to speak very generally here.
Because although men typically feel freer to express their anger, I am definitely not a case of this.
I like to think that my readers aren’t so willing to make blanket statements. But considering the comment sections on my TikToks, I know this isn’t always the case.
That being said—
Many men don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with feeling and expressing anger.
Meanwhile, many women do feel that there’s something intrinsically “wrong” with feeling anger. Which can lead to repression instead of expression.
It’s also worth pointing out that aggression and anger can be two different things.
Boys are more likely to act out their aggression in their formative years and have (hopefully) learned how to manage anger-aggression as they enter their adult years.
Since girls are usually not “permitted” to express aggression and anger in their younger years, it can come off as more… lacking grace as they enter their adult years.
Also, consider that women are more resilient to another woman’s anger. Conversely, a man is much less resilient to a woman’s anger; hence “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
However, I do want to point out a much more deep-rooted aspect to all of this.
Ancestral Trauma, Intergenerational Anger & Retribution
Here is are some psycho-spiritual things to consider that can sort of explain some angry corners in society.
First, I want to point out that there is ancestral trauma within groups of people who have been marginalized.
I will be using black people and women as an example.
Black folks have been marginalized in the United States for a very long time. They were treated as slaves in colonial America and victims of systemic racism to this day.
Many black people experienced unlawful arrests and unfair trials. So to see a black man finally “beat the system” was a satisfying event.
Due to intergenerational anger, it makes sense that some members of the black community were happy that OJ got off despite not believing he was innocent.
This is called *retribution—*a social, inner desire for revenge.
In this case, it’s directed towards white people for marginalizing the black community for so long.
It’s worth considering that some women have intergenerational anger and feelings of retribution towards men.
Marginalization, Anger & Desire for Revenge
Before my time, women were told it wasn’t “lady-like” to be aggressive or angry. Society also normalized sexual repression within women.
Being forced to live in possible shame for very natural things such as anger and sex is definitely a means of conjuring a desire for retribution.
Towards who specifically? Men.
Women have been marginalized, and it makes sense that there’s an unconscious desire for retributive revenge.
For example, I remember a friend of mine was cheating on her boyfriend of 4 years. At first, she felt guilty for her actions, but when she told the other girls in the group, they applauded her.
They took pleasure over the fact that she was fucking someone else behind his back because “men ain’t shit.”
A week later, I met up with her boyfriend. I entered his apartment, and the air was tense.
He started crying that his girlfriend was cheating on him. He didn’t tell me how he found out, but he was heartbroken. He’d been cheated on before and actually put his all in this relationship.
He was a good dude.
But he would tell me that she adopted this gross attitude where she’d be dismissive of his opinions and feelings.
The way he described it to me felt like the same “men ain’t shit” attitude his girlfriend’s friends had. She took pleasure in causing this young man’s pain.
It was fucked up.
It was unfair.
I remember very vividly he said, “I thought I did everything right.”
But all I could say to him was, “It’s not your fault.”
I could only imagine that these women thought they were secretly “beating the system” by enacting retributive “revenge” on a man—
Not realizing that this human being, although a man, didn’t do anything to deserve the pain he was put through.
This “psychological inheritance” of a desire for revenge leads many innocent people to be traumatized. Destroying their psyche’s image of the other sex/race/etc.
Regardless of race or sex, it’s natural for the oppressed to be angry, prideful, vengeful, defensive, and feel entitled when the oppression subsides.
Usually, because oppression doesn’t subside because the oppressors discover that what they’ve done is wrong. Instead, it diminishes for some other reason.
Plus, the oppressed don’t suddenly just get equal rights. They get some, then they are left to fight for the rest.
How to Respond if Someone is Inflicting Abusive Retribution Upon You
This unconscious desire for retribution is why people can ruthlessly and relentlessly traumatize a person until the victim is dead inside.
Nobody deserves to be a victim of abuse.
Understand that people who seek retribution believe in the following:
If they don’t suffer and feel as miserable as [I have / my people have] then my suffering was pointless, and I had no reason to be miserable.
Nobody wants their suffering to be meaningless.
But that doesn’t mean you deserve to be a victim of their suffering just because you fit in a group category that you couldn’t help being.
YOU MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
YOU MUST DEMAND THEM TO STOP THEIR ABUSE AND THAT YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.
DEMAND THAT THEY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR FAILURES IN THE RELATIONSHIP.
Too often, a decent person is too willing to accept full responsibility for a relationship that failed due to the other person and their demented psyche.
YOU MUST BE WILLING TO LEAVE THEM.
And don’t be afraid to make them feel like shit. Don’t be scared to be angry despite your feelings of fear or instilled guilt.
A person’s retribution is typically activated within a relationship when they discover that you are afraid of them and when they are self-deluded that you view them as “most desirable.”
These people seeking retribution need to ask themselves the following:
- Would you want to be with you?
- Would you want someone like yourself in your life?
But deep-seated arrogance is what prevents this much-needed introspection.
How Society Has Screwed Itself
I find that there’s a tendency for women to be hyper-vigilant due to intergenerational trauma, as referred to in the prior section.
But I also want to point out that men have also been damaged by the very patriarchy that some of them still defend—which upon introspection, I believe is part of men’s intergenerational trauma.
It’s my personal opinion that one side of society suffers from some form of hyper-vigilance. While the other side suffers from some form of “societal” Stockholm Syndrome.
One side will continue to deny the issues of the other, further perpetuating it all…
How People Unconsciously Self-Sabotage With Anger
The following are unconscious ways people are expressing their anger without realizing what they’re actually doing:
- Complaining allows a person to release some tension over the subject they are angry about. The issue with this is that sometimes you need the tension to accumulate to the point where you have the energy to change. By complaining, you might be delaying this from happening.
- Displacement is when someone you perceive as more powerful than yourself affects you into an angry state. Since you feel you can’t dish the anger back at this person, you instead express your anger at someone else. Who then expresses anger at someone else, and so on (theoretically).
- Reaction Formation is when you portray yourself as the opposite of what you actually feel. This goes so deeply that you may even hide your anger from yourself as well. So while you’re appearing very sweet and kind, there is a monster about looking to unleash its rage at opportune moments.
These people aren’t aware that they are upset because they’ve pushed their anger far enough not to realize it.
Check out my brief video “Why Don’t You”… “Yeah, but—.”
How Unconscious Anger Impacts the Body
- Sleep Disorders
- Digestion Issues
- Skin Issues
- Muscle Strain
- Grinding Jaw
- Facial Tics
- Panic Attacks
- Limbic Issues (due to inherent adrenaline involved with anger)
Integrating Anger is Transformative
A quick way of telling that you have repressed your anger is by looking at your triggers.
If you are particularly triggered by the quality of cruelty then you may need to integrate your anger.
Now obviously, random acts of cruelty are triggering for anyone. So to more accurately determine if this is a trigger due to projection, you need to pay attention to how others are reacting to acts of cruelty.
For example, if you and a few friends witness someone expressing anger at a stranger, if you are triggered but your friends are not, chances are you’ve disowned your own anger.
To them, they witnessed anger that is likely socially justified.
But to you, you perceived an act of cruelty,
The emotional effect that you experience is very personal—this is what makes it a trigger.
For whatever reason, you disowned and repressed this quality within yourself. Effectively a form of self-hate.
That’s why you react so strongly when you see it on somebody else.
Not only do you lack an “inner point of reference” for anger, but you are also associating (projecting) all the underlying negative stories you’ve unconsciously told yourself about “people who are angry.” The same stories that made you disown this quality within yourself.
Understand that this serious issue you are having is not between you and “other.” This is an issue that is between you…and you.
By slowly integrating anger back into your personality, you gain a more accurate sense of reality. You will realize that what you thought was cruelty just turned out to be anger.
Anger is loud, authentic energy that’s rooted in sadness and seeks to be heard. Unfortunately, most people only ever experience “anger” as a theatrical and abusive means to control somebody—abuse and drama, or “fake anger”—not real anger. Here’s a cute cartoon that demonstrates real anger and its hidden sadness.
Understand that being able to tap into your authentic anger is what makes your niceness genuine.
Otherwise, it’s assumed that niceness is your default, so it’s taken for granted.
How Anger Is Ideally Managed
- You feel angry.
- You become aware of your anger.
- Give it recognition.
- Allow it to be expressed.
- Harness it for change.
However, many of us don’t do this. Instead, the ego pushes it into the subconscious.
As a result, the anger seeps into the psyche and influences our entire lives unconsciously.
Over time, the anger comes back as a powerful psychic force known as resentment.
But that’s a post for another time.
If you’re dealing with resentment, consider A Light Among Shadows. This is knowledge I needed to learn to help free myself from the heavy burden of resentment.
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work for Beginners is based on my in-depth research and personal experiences with shadow work, projection, sadomasochism, inner child healing, triggers, and all things shadow. This resource gets updated at no additional cost.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This series goes over consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, and makes sense of why people are the way they are. Recommended for anyone dealing with resentment and self-hate. Learn more here.
Shadow Work for Relationships teaches you everything you need to know about attachment theory, practical inner work, and your dysfunctional behavior. By the end of this, you will have developed your earned secure attachment style so you can put an end to your cycle of bad relationships.
Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Shadow Work Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Self-Love Subliminal for self-hypnotism that will help you change your behavior and gain self-love, self-awareness, better relationships, greater health, and improve your creativity.
Shadow Play (or “DsR”) is a sister website that goes over “sensual” shadow work through BDSM experiences. If you are 18+ and are interested, go here.
Mindful & Mending is a small website that’s about self-hypnosis, affirmations, auto-suggestion, and more techniques & tools to help you shift your unconscious mind. Check it out here.