Denial’s Evil Twin

If denial is the protective stage of the journey through change and loss, anger might be its evil twin. Feelings suppressed in denial release, resulting in an explosion of emotions. It is the coming to grips with our current situation. Our behavior can be irrational, hurtful, out of character, or downright scary. It is that moment of realization that whatever happened, whatever was lost, whatever changed, has changed from this moment forward. We can sometimes pinpoint that exact moment of the change, or it may be gradual. At other times, it hits us like a tsunami wave throwing us completely off balance and leaving us reeling in mental anguish.

It can be a time that we blame someone, something, or ourselves for our current situation as we forge a pathway forward. Sometimes the anger directs itself outward at others and sometimes directs inward to ourselves.

Anger can be paralyzing and blinding. It can paralyze us from advancing and looking for solutions, blinding us from our value. It compels us to take action with emotions that have been simmering quietly in denial.

Anger, like denial, can be protective as well. Let us be honest, an angry person lashing out is a person most will stay away from.  Most do not want to argue with them, as their behavior will appear completely irrational. The approaching of an angry person puts themselves at risk of being the target of their anger. They may be inconsolable and unreasonable. They may hover between anger and denial or anger and depression as they try to find their way through the grieving process.

So how do you move through the anger?

Honesty with yourself and others is sometimes all you need to be able to move past this stage. In the moving past it, other feelings may emerge, feelings of sadness, panic, failure, and loneliness. These feelings may be more difficult to admit to ourselves, and the anger may overcome them again.  The sooner you can come to grips with the changes that are behind and ahead of you, the sooner you will be able to move to the next stage and begin seeking your new normal.

In the end, we are creatures of habit. We create markers to measure our success as individuals. When faced with a change in these habits, and there is a decline in the measurements we look to blame. We blame others and circumstances. We reflect back to when the measurements were better, but instead of looking forward to making them better, we can become stuck in anger and fall back into denial.

Some will be lucky enough to move past anger or skip it altogether. The goal for moving through is to do just that, move through. If you recognize where you are in the process and use self-awareness and honesty, it will be a much easier path back to that which you are masking with your anger and will be one step closer to your new routine and the happiness and fulfillment we all desire.


Raissa Urdiales
Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.

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  1. It is essential to recognize anger when it emerges for what it is, that is a protection mechanism that signals to us that something is wrong, that our rights have been violated, our real needs disregarded. Anger expresses a reaction of intense dissatisfaction, of frustration, that is, it acts as an alarm signal.
    Listening to one’s anger helps us to know our real needs, our values, helps us to be more authentic to ourselves and to maintain more authentic relationships with the people around us.
    We must also remember, when anger is towards someone, forgiveness reduces all those negative emotions that do not help to overcome the damage suffered but on the contrary worsen their psychophysical health.

  2. I love this my friend. Anger is a hard one. I have asked myself at why did I do that or realize the angry was a drain of energy on me and my emotions. I would ask that you ponder if there is a time that anger becomes a tool. As in getting mad enough to take action or as a kid standing up to bullies.