Women’s relationship with anger and rage doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s connected to three different influences that are intersecting with one another:
- The message that runs through patriarchal societies that your voice, your perspective, and your opinion doesn’t matter.
- The disrespect of the feminine in patriarchal cultures. The characterisation of the feminine as weak, pathetic, and not valuable.
- The lack of permission given to girls and women to feel or express anger.
In her book ‘Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger’, Soraya Chemaly speaks about the conditioning of girls as it pertains to anger and rage in the following ways;
‘Ask most parents and they will swear that they teach children to be polite in the same way, regardless of gender. But as it turns out, boys and girls are not learning this lesson in equal measure. In one study, researchers deliberately disappointed children in a series of gift-giving scenarios. Regardless of how they felt, girls were more likely, on average, to smile, say thank you, and appear to be happy, despite feeling disappointed. Studies show that girls who begin to exhibit behavioural problems at these ages score high in measures of feeling that they are unable to openly express displeasure or anger, even in private, after a disappointment.‘ p. 7 (2018, Simon and Shuster)
Psychologists and educators Brown, Gilligan and Simmons have throughout their work, ‘turned increasingly to the importance of understanding anger and aggression, demonstrating how girls – operating in a vacuum of information about their negative emotions – channel their anger and aggression covertly, resorting to gossiping and spreading untruths about others...’ p. 15 (2018, Simon and Shuster)
This three part equation puts women in a deeply unhealthy situation when it comes to anger and rage. It has the strong possibility of getting stuck in the body, creating unease and disease, and leaving us exhausted and less powerful than we might otherwise be.
In the video I take you through an exercise for releasing stories about anger and rage so it can start to move more healthily around the body.
You might also use this exercise as a starting point to dive even deeper, investigating a whole lot of other stories you have about anger and rage and then using the EFT/tapping tool to clear them out. Stories like:
- Anger is dangerous
- I won’t be able to contain my anger if I start to allow myself to feel it
- It’s going to destroy me
- It’ll overwhelm me or others
- It’s inappropriate or not professional for me to express anger
- Anger or rage is only for people who aren’t in control of their emotions
- Anger is necessarily synonymous with violence
Interested in books about rage? We’ve a few favourites we recommend right here.
Want to access the rest of our series on Women and Rage? You’ll find that right here.
Need to unpack the patriarchal conditioning that’s keeping your emotions suppressed and unexpressed? Take our short course here.