Upset

If we're having a political conversation, and you’re visibly upset and aggravated, that's okay. It just means that we cannot take your words at face value right now. We have to figure out what's underneath the anger or the defensiveness or the posturing, so we can continue the conversation.

When we're triggered (upset, angry, sad, hurt), we get tunnel vision. We cannot see or think straight. Let’s talk that through, so we can get you back to your full resources.

It's okay to be triggered. We all have triggers. It's part of being human. I understand you're scared or upset. I, too, get that way sometimes. I used to get that way quite often. It's taken a while to sort that stuff out. But it can be done.

Anger is a sign of a trespass. Someone has violated your boundaries, if not in the real world, at least in your mind. You feel territorially threatened or violated.

Underneath the anger is usually sadness. A feeling of loss or betrayal. Maybe your trust was violated or abused in the process. We need to get underneath the anger to the pain it's trying to cover up.

Anger and sadness combined is what's know as "hurt". Whenever you say you feel "hurt", what you really mean is that you're feeling angry and sad. You want to protect yourself with your anger, maybe lash out and get back at someone for violating you. And underneath, you want to be held, to cry, to be comforted. This is so common.

Next time you find yourself upset and angry, try to get curious about the pain underneath the anger. It doesn't have to be sadness, it can also be fear or something else. But there's always something.

The interesting thing is, once you break through to that thing underneath, things have a tendency to take a 180 degree turn. From being upset that something happened, to being grateful it happened. From hating someone, to loving someone. I've seen it many times. I've done it many times.

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