Anger Alerts Us to Boundaries Crossed
When our personal space is entered in a way that feels disturbing, anger can alert us take action. In response to our sense of discomfort, we may physically exit the situation, speak words that give us more space, make ourselves unavailable through non-response or surround ourselves with other people to create a buffer. Unless it is a reoccurring pattern with a person we know, having a boundary violated usually catches us off guard. When we recognize it in the moment we have a chance to respond and shift the energy. Otherwise we will find that we’ve given our energy away and have some self-healing to do.
Recently at a conference out of town, a co-worker asked me to meet over dinner to discuss business. When the opportunity presented itself for me to meet with a critical client at the same time, I asked if we could postpone our meeting. He urged me to say no to the client, because he needed to tell me something important. Over dinner I found myself listening to a long resume of this man’s experience that eventually led up to him admitting that he wanted to pick my brain for insights on how he could better sell himself as a writer and see if I would be interested in selling his writing services for a commission. Over the course of the conversation I noticed my energy getting depleted and activated the Protection Rose tool described later in this post. I was angry at myself for saying yes to his request without a clear understanding of his expectations and angry at him for violating my boundaries. When he finally got to the punch line it was clear that his urgency was to serve his private agenda not our mutual business commitments and I had missed an opportunity to do my job. The boundaries of my time and energy had been crossed.
Anger is a big neon flashing light pointed at an infringement of our boundaries. It may feel like self-criticism if we noticed the boundary being crossed and didn’t stand up for our self, or it may be directed at the person or experience that crossed our boundary. Usually people who push our edges aren’t conscious of it. They are simply on a path to self-satisfaction and operating within their own reference points for what’s acceptable. They may not know any other way to source energy than to take it from someone else. Physiologically anger gives us a surge of adrenaline that is necessary to go to battle on our own behalf. The warrior within comes to assist us with resetting the boundary. We show up for ourselves.
Anger itself is not negative but what we do with anger has given it a bad reputation. Paying attention to the source of our anger awakens us to a boundary being crossed while it’s happening. Only then do we have the opportunity to use our energy tools to hold a healthy space for ourselves. My favorite in-the-moment tool is the Protection Rose. When you feel someone trying to tap into your energy or enter your personal space in a way that is unacceptable, visualize a rose in the space between you. The rose has a stem deeply rooted into the earth. The blossom of the rose acts as a filter, protecting you from any energy coming from the person that is depleting or not in your highest good. This works for phone conversations too. Use of a Protection Rose shifts the experience so you can stay present to take further actions that are in alignment with your health.
Very nice technique. Thanks for this.
. . ./John
Thanks John, I checked out your blog and enjoyed your post on yoga too!
Major enthusiast on this blog, a bunch of your blogposts have definitely helped me out. Awaiting up-dates!
Thanks Carl, Great to have you following!
I had a look at some of your other posts Natalie. You are perfectly attuned to what I am trying to accomplish on my blog. You’re on my blog roll. Thank you for your recent reply. Your work appears to be changing peoples lives and contributing to Peace on this Earth. Peace begins with each individual and your work is helping. May your life be filled with light.
. . ./John
You’ve given an excellent description of boundary crossing and a great example of someone using your friendship for their own gain. I like the way you say that anger is like a neon flashing light telling us that someone is trespassing. If we can use the energy of our anger over being violated in a nondestructive way, we can establish a stronger, healthier boundary for the relationship to function in. I agree, anger in itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s how we use it that makes all the difference. Knowing why we’re angry and knowing that our anger is legitimate is a powerful tool in establishing clear boundaries.
Sandy, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The beauty is that emotions can be our roadmap to inner peace if we what they are trying to show us.