One of the more common generational imprints I’ve seen within my practice are those in which Rage is passed down generation to generation. Most of us understand that anger in itself is not a “negative” emotion, although most of us are uncomfortable expressing that emotion. We’ve all had anger directed at us that when expressed has been done in such a way that causes damage all around.
Anger can be a force for good. Most reform happens because someone and then a critical mass of people have become angry enough to stand up for themselves and enact change. In fact, I tell my empathic clients not to be afraid of their anger for it is usually a signal that they have let their boundaries and limits be overrun by someone else. Then we break down the incident so the empath can learn where her limits are so she does not have to become angry in similar situations.
In this way, Anger can be seen as a survival mechanism. It can be very protective and helpful. However, when we are enraged, that is usually because we have old bottled up anger that is ready to explode and wipe out everyone around us. If this anger is generational, then not only do we have our own old anger, we have our ancestors’ anger, too. This sort of rage can be very hard to control, and we may need help understanding it, or we may need to understand why it became a part of the family contracts so we can rewrite those contracts in a way that serves us better.
There is usually some hidden benefit to becoming that angry. The benefit may be that it keeps us from being totally overwhelmed by life circumstances. It may be that it prevents us from dealing with grief or sadness that underlies the original anger. In my own life, I have a very strong anger streak that runs through my father’s side of the family. We even call it the Moran family anger. My great uncle, with humor and chagrin, told stories of how his aunts met in wagons at intersections out in Minnesota, and yelled, screamed, and insulted each other on the weekends. My great aunt, this great uncle’s wife, told stories of him throwing food around the kitchen when he wasn’t satisfied with his dinner, and she also told stories of my grandmother angrily cutting off family members for tiny slights. This was hard to picture, visiting their calm and tidy house with my great uncle’s beautiful garden during the holidays, but I had seen my own father, normally quiet and introverted, fly into similar rages.
Needless to say, I was terrified of my own anger and that I, too, had inherited this curse. I saw it play out with my father and my mother, and I did not want to have those outbursts myself. But I did anyway. It took great practice to label my anger as my own responsibility. Each time I tried to say that that person “made” me angry, I had to very firmly take responsibility for my anger back to myself. I had to ask myself, where did I allow my limit to be crossed? Did I know my limits? Was I inviting someone to fail so I could take a stab at them later? Did they know what my expectations were, or was I expecting them to read my mind?
I also journeyed to take a look at what the benefit for my family was in holding all this anger. There was a strong sense of justice that came along with it—that ancestors had been wronged in the past. The anger gave them the strength to survive. I had Irish ancestors that weren’t well treated, and then later I had French Canadian and Native American ancestors that had continued that pattern. But, the gift was clear—anger led to a sense of strength and endurance, and it also led to a sense of justice and fairness when it was not twisted into victimhood and blame.
So, in understanding the benefits of the generational imprint, I was able to honor the gifts my angry ancestors had given me, and discard all the rest. It is still a practice to honor my anger, and express it without insult and on time when it does arise, so it doesn’t blow into rages.
If you are suffering from unresolved rage, it might be generational. It probably is if as a child you had an angry parent. Soul Retrieval and Extraction Work will probably help a great deal. Becoming conscious of the benefit of the anger will also help. But ultimately, taking responsibility for the anger, owning it completely, reminding ourselves that we are the ones responsible for our anger and our expressions of it puts the power directly in our hands.
As we practice taking responsibility for our anger, at first we will discover to our horror how much damage we have done to the people around us. We have probably been holding our loved ones hostage if we have been blaming them for our anger. They might have stopped speaking to us their real needs, thinking that all they will invite is an angry outburst. They probably have their own resentments brewing since they do not feel safe enough to express them to us. Or, they might have left entirely just to get away from the constant sense of danger. They could also be so beaten down and victimized by our anger that they have given up entirely and tip toe around us, and then we may be angry at them for being so weak and cowardly.
The practice is, whenever we become angry, to step back and ask ourselves, where did this come from? It is perfectly OK to say to the person with us, “I am so angry right now, I don’t know what to do!” Refrain from blaming (i.e. You are making me angry!) If we need to leave because we know we are about to fly out of control, we can tell that to our companion, and go for a breath of air or leave the room. Then, we can look at what limit has been reached. What happened to trigger the anger? Is there a need that can be met? Is this old anger, or is it really something new?
With practice, we can move into conscious competence of this powerful emotion. We no longer have to be frightened of the anger that lies within us, but can use it for self-discovery and personal power.