I am not an angry person. I know people who say they’re angry, often, but that’s not something that comes to my mind. Until…I took my deep dive into the Enneagram. What I learned was that my type, the 9, the peacemaker, is “asleep” to their anger. It’s not that the anger isn’t there, it’s that they don’t even recognize it, they don’t associate with it. Um…ok…that got my attention.
I once met with a friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while. At the time, I’d gone through my coaching class and was increasingly self-aware. She made a comment that I used to seem “angry all the time.” This was pre-Enneagram and I remember being surprised and thinking that I didn’t recall being angry. When I learned the Enneagram, her comment came back to me, clicked into place and made more sense than I was comfortable with.
Describing myself as angry is something I wouldn’t do, it’s an uncomfortable emotion for me. Maybe you’ve felt the same way. Anger feels almost dangerous to me, an emotion that there must be a way to get around. Except there’s not. Post-Enneagram, I’ve noticed that uncomfortable emotion, and made an effort to recognize it when it comes up.
At the same time, I think about hurt. Stay with me. Hurt and anger are two sides of the same coin. No, really. Anger often comes from hurt, it’s a response that allows us to do something with the hurt we feel. Because if we don’t do something with all that hurt, it simply simmers inside of us. Eats at us. We want to make it go away but that’s a hard ask without action.
I’ve noticed there are different ways that people can take their anger, their hurt and act. A few month’s ago, I went to a women’s empowerment conference. On the second day of the conference, I was walking to lunch thinking about an uncomfortable feeling I was having. There was an intangible I couldn’t put my finger on about the conference. Then it dawned on me, there were a lot of angry women there. Anger manifesting itself in action, but negative anger. Railing out against “the man,” which in this case actually was man, the laws, the behaviors, that prevented women from equality. I did not share the anger, which explained my discomfort.
That said, there are circumstances which I am not in agreement with, and I am pro-equal rights for women, but how I choose to respond is different than anger. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the conference was purely a fight against male oppression. Far from it. Dynamic female speakers shared thought provoking insights into a wide variety of topics and I was thankful for attending. I simply noticed the simmering anger.
I’m finding that I also have a spirit to do something about circumstances that I don’t agree with, but it comes from a different place. A broken heart. My heart breaks for people who are made to feel “less than.” I fundamentally see the equality and sameness in people. When I see people being treated as though they’re doing something wrong simply for being who they were born to be, it hurts my heart. That’s when I feel anger. The broken heart “anger” makes me want to come alongside people, to show them God’s love, love that God has for each and every one of us.
So, while I may not like the emotion of anger, I can see where it serves a purpose. It gives my hurting heart a way to action. Honestly, understanding anger through the lens of the Enneagram allowed me to name it, and move through it, rather than allowing it to simmer. I’m still not comfortable with it, and it feels bold to even say I have it, but that’s my plan this year, being bold. I’d ask you to think about hurt and anger in your own life. How does it come up and what are you doing about it? Recognize it so that you can heal and move forward, whether it be into action, forgiveness, acceptance, whatever your heart needs to have peace. That’s your brave path friends. I’m on it with you.