Bypassing anger

“Healing doesn’t take place until we surrender to our feelings and allow them to wash over us.” —Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause

When you’re angry or hurt, do you say, “I shouldn’t complain. After all, other people have it so much worse.”?

Women do this a lot. Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause writes: “Many women downplay their pain by comparing themselves to someone else who is much worse off.” She calls it “bypassing anger.” We tell ourselves that it’s selfish to feel sorry for ourselves. We shove our own pain aside to deal with the problems of others.

I felt this way last year when I lost my dog, Sasha. I really missed my dog. I work from home, so she was my shadow every moment of the day. I felt like I’d lost a limb. But, in the last few years, several of my close friends lost spouses. How could I voice my grief over a dog to someone who had lost their life partner? How selfish would that be?

One day, a friend who had lost her husband asked about Sasha. I said something like, “Oh, I really miss her, but I shouldn’t complain. After all, I know it’s not the same as losing a spouse.” She said, “My loss doesn’t make your loss any less real.”

Now, that’s a friend.

I breathed a long sigh of relief and surrendered to full grief over my little doggie.

“Comparing our path to that of someone else invariably takes us away from our own emotions and what we need to do with them.” Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause

If you hear yourself saying, “I shouldn’t complain. After all . . .”, stop. Catch yourself in that moment. Surrender to whatever it is. Allow your grief, your anger, your hurt to wash over you. Let the healing begin.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have empathy for the pain of others. It means you’ll be in a better place to support them.

Sasha's dog collar and my Weeping Yogi

Sasha’s dog collar and my Weeping Yogi

5 thoughts on “Bypassing anger

  1. Joanne

    thank you…….you gave me the ok to feel grief for the pain, and mobility issues I live with. Yes there are others worse off than me, but your story made me realize that it is ok to occasionally be sad for my own situation.

    Reply
  2. dmdobbins98

    I so agree. We have to honor our feelings and feel them. I don’t usually tell the story out loud much, maybe to one trusted friend and then I try to drop the story and just feel the feelings as long as I need to with no judgement.

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’m so glad you dropped into my blog. I’ve been following your inspirational tweets, and they always brighten my day. It’s true that we have to find the right balance between acknowledging our anger, grief, or hurt and wallowing in it. That’s not good either! Like the phoenix, always forward progress . . .

      Reply
  3. Pingback: I’m Not Sorry – Smart Stunning Searching

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