There are several different kinds of anger.
For example, if someone attacks me or does me an injustice
and I react with appropriate anger and rage,
this anger enables me to defend and assert myself energetically and effectively.
It enables me to act. It is constructive and it makes me strong.
This kind of anger is to the point and it dissolves when it
has achieved its goal.
I may also become angry because I realize that I have not accepted
what I could, or that I've not demanded what I ought to have demanded,
or that I've not asked for what I could've asked for.
Instead of asserting myself and taking what I need,
I'll become angry with the persons from I have not taken or asked
or demanded, although I could have or ought to have taken or asked or
demanded from them.
This anger is a substitute for action and the result of inaction.
It has a paralyzing and weakening affect and often lasts a long time.
Anger as a substitute for love works in a similar way.
Instead of expressing my love, I become angry with the person I love.
This sort of anger goes back to childhood when it was caused by a painful
interruption of movement toward my mother or father.
It is repeated in similar situations later in life and derives its power
from the repetition of the early experience.
I sometimes become angry with someone because I've wronged that person
but I don't want to admit it. I use this anger as a defense against the
consequences of my actions, and I make the other person responsible
for my guilt. This anger is also a substitute for action.
It enables me to remain inactive. It paralyzes me and makes me weak.
I may become angry when someone gives me so much that I cannot repay
the debt. That's hard to bear, getting too much that is good, and I become angry
with the giver as a means of defending myself against the obligation
to compensate. This kind of anger is expressed in the form of blame,
for example, when children blame their parents. It functions as a substitute
for taking, excepting indebtedness, thanking, and acting with gratitude.
It paralyzes those who experience it and leave them empty. Or it may take the
form of depression, which also serves as a substitute for taking, accepting,
thanking, and giving. It may also be expressed as a long-lasting sadness after
a separation, particularly if I still owe acceptance and gratitude,
or feel to acknowledge my own guilt and its consequences to someone
who has died or left.
Sometimes people are filled with anger they have taken over from someone
else. For example, when a participant in the group suppresses anger,
another member of the group (usually the weakest one) subsequently
becomes angry for no apparent reason. In families, the weakest member
is a child. When, for example, the mother suppresses her anger toward
her husband, one of the children often becomes angry with the father in her stead.
The weakest member of a group or family often becomes not only the instrument,
but also the target, of anger. For example, when people suppressed anger toward
a superior, they often take it out on a weaker person in the company. Or when a
husband suppresses anger towards his wife, a child often becomes the target of his anger.
Or a daughter and her mother's anger toward her husband, not on her father,
but on someone with whom she is on a more equal footing, such as her own husband.
In groups, weaker member of the group becomes the scapegoat for this assumed
anger rather than the stronger person, therapist or a group leader, for whom it was
originally intended. Those who have taken on anger have a specific quality of
rage and feel proud and righteous, but they are acting with alien energy and alien
righteousness and remain ineffective and weak. The victims of assumed anger also
feel strong in their righteous indignation, but, in fact, they remain weak,
and their suffering is pointless.
Finally, there is an anger that is virtuous and beneficial. It is strong,
wakeful, centered, and assertive, and is directed toward appropriate goals.
It is enlightened and courageous, incapable of facing up to hard and powerful adversaries.
But it is without emotion. Persons experiencing this kind of anger do not shrink
from harming others when necessary, but you're not angry with the person in question.
This aggression is pure strength. It is the fruit of long discipline and practice,
but it comes easily to those capable of it.