Fuel on the Fire: Anger by Shanyn SilinskiBy
I am excited to have guest post blogger Shanyn Silinski from “the Scarred Seeker” contributing to our Anger series while I am taking some time off to vacation in Mexico. Please share your thoughts and feedback about her take on the subject of Anger.
Darlene Ouimet ~ founder of Emerging from Broken
Fuel on the Fire: Anger by Shanyn Silinski
You may not guess from reading what I write or from knowing me now but I’ve got anger issues. I struggle, really struggle with being angry, becoming angry and what to do with that fire I hold in my hands.
For me there are three kinds of angry and like the real fires I used to fight each can be deadly, scarring and wounding to myself and to others. What kinds am I referring to?
Holding fire, throwing fire and hiding fire, holding anger, throwing anger and hiding anger. Much like their real counterparts, the fire of anger burns sometimes just on the surface and other times deep enough to reach the bone. Some fires are hot enough to render us down to ash and others barely singe the hair on our arms.
When I hold on to my anger whether it be old or new anger, it is like holding fire without gloves. It is hot and it burns. Burns me, hurts me, causes me to be in pain. Holding on to my anger doesn’t cause any pain to the one I’m angry at. It doesn’t even warm them up. I can be as righteously angry, unfairly angry, grudge holding call it up from the past furious or newly started.
When I throw my anger, like throwing around Molotov cocktails I cover everyone in flames, burning fuel and I hurt them. Scarring, burning, scorching and delivering pain I serve my anger as a slave. I’ve become that which abused me – a controlling person who needs to hurt. I’m throwing hurt around, anger around, and feeding the flames of myth. What have I become? That which hurt me, I’ve become the person and the people who scarred and scorched me. How does that honour my healing path? It doesn’t.
Hiding anger can be as sneaky and deadly as any fire because you don’t see it coming. When you are fighting a grass fire you have to watch your back. Fire can sneak up on you under the grass, under your own feet and when it gets a chance it engulfs you. Hiding anger, for me, is the one that preceeds the other two. Hiding anger is like putting fire in your coat pockets and then hanging up the jacket. The fire smolders, it waits quietly for a breath of air and WHOOMP!
Anger, like fire, requires three things to burn us: fuel, ignition source and air (oxygen). In a real fire each element is separate and independent, in people and in anger they can be all in one person, they can be interchangeable. That just makes the fire of anger even more deadly, scarring and harmful.
My personal fuel can be something as simple and complex as unresolved feelings from recent or distant events. Fires can burn out of control when there is a large fuel load. When we have a lot of dry, burnable materials stacked up we are just a fire waiting to happen. Emotionally we also stack up lots of fuel and it’s just waiting for a spark.
Sparks! Flashes! Steel wool and a battery, matches, BBQ lighters or lightning – sources of ignition. A quick flash that can cause things to explode or a small spark that starts a slow burn.
No fire will burn, no anger will burn, without AIR! Anger, like a fire, needs to breathe, it needs air to keep it burning. Air is simple, oxygen is simple – we keep talking, we keep shouting, screaming, yelling, hitting and we keep pumping the air into the fire. We burn hotter and hotter, we burn deeper and deeper. The anger which burns those around us will like a fire consume us as well.
There is a simple way to extinguish a fire: remove one of the three key elements. Remove the fuel, the ignition or the air source. Simply said, very hard to actually do! What is the best way to stop a fire? Two ways – controlled burns to reduce fuel load and fire prevention. Stop fires before they start, have prescribed burns to reduce the fuel load which would create an inferno. Who is doing your fire control? How do you do controlled burns?
Controlled burns are venting, therapy, writing, art and keeping the fuel load from stacking up, keeping the anger from building up. Keeping the air circulating, controlling the ignition sources (and those can be hard to manage!) and stop stacking up fuel. We can prevent fires, prevent burning scarring anger from consuming us by preventing those fires, those raging emotional and physical infernos from getting out of control. Smoke detectors in our homes detect the early signs of fire – smoke. We can do the same with anger – when we are ready.
You cannot control your anger until you know it, understand it and can face it. We can still be angry – anger is a natural response to certain kinds of danger, certain kinds of injustices. Controlling our anger so it is a vent which safely lets the pressure off. Finding ways to release that anger can be positive and healing, it can clean our wounds and cauterize the cuts, it can be a warning and it can be a signal.
I know I have anger issues – I’ve had them as long as I can remember. I know I’ve got challenges with my fuel load and I’m a deadly ignition source and I can hear myself sometimes adding air to the fire building it higher and hotter. But I know my anger now and it doesn’t control me. I have flare ups, explosions and yeah sometimes I get caught making Molotov cocktails. I can recognize that in me, just like I recognized the fires when I wore the turnout gear of a fire fighter. I’m working really hard to not burn everything down when I’m feeling angry. It lurks there, though, below the surface. At least I know it is there and for me that is over half the battle.
Shanyn Silinski is an outspoken survivor who writes, creates and lives life as fully as she can with her husband, son and the animals on their small ranch in Manitoba. The author of a number of blogs, a book of poetry with two more in the works, Shanyn also sculpts, scrapbooks and loves having fun with photography. Visit Shanyn’s blog “the Scarred Seeker”
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