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Survive, Transform, Soar! - Issue #80
How to Free Your Energy after a Toxic Relationship 
Article by: Irene Lyon, MSC in SurviveTransformSoar.com | Friday, September 21, 2018
Anger as Medicine-Part 2

Anger may be a loaded word if you have been in a toxic relationship, but positive, healthy anger is powerful in releasing life force energy that will help you break out of the limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors that may attract or keep you stuck with a toxic partner.

Last quarter we discussed what anger actually is and how it is real medicine when tapped into effectively and safely. This week, you will learn how repressed anger turns into illness (physical & mental) plus self-sabotage, as well as the essential steps to start accessing life force energy that has been trapped inside you for way too long.

Anger Is Your Friend: Fearing and Holding It Inside Is the Enemy
One thing my clients have in common is difficulty—and often blatant inability or deep shame—when expressing the emotion of anger.

Throughout my years of private practice and working with the participants in my online programs, I’ve seen that, hands down, the emotion of anger is one of the trickiest to work with because:
      • Culturally, it’s not acceptable.
      • Relationally, it feels scary.
      • Biologically, it packs a big punch (pun intended) of energy to the body system, meaning it feels intense.
Anger is like a geyser--keep it bottled up and eventually it will explode...but release it slowly or as it occurs and you can use its energy to power your own goals.
In a society of love and light pushers and gratitude journaling junkies, the thought of anger and harnessing its healthy aggressive energies seems opposite to evolving. But it isn’t.

Your truest birthright is to be free and liberated so you can set off and do what you are meant to do. To accomplish this, you need love, empathy and gratitude, along with fierce primal emotion that protects you, keeps you safe and allows you to push forward.

Anger Is Scary!
Most of my clients feel that if they let their anger out, it’ll kill someone! And that makes sense. That’s how strong the survival response is. We need to remember that we’re human animals, warm blooded mammals with the same basic autonomic responses as a wild animal – our fight response is the same as a lion’s or bear’s.

Only, when they’re threatened, the lion and the bear get to fight, kill or be killed – either way, the threat is resolved.

But as young kids, we really can’t fight, kill or escape our attackers, especially when they are the very parents we need for survival or the siblings and peers we need in order to feel accepted and part of the tribe.

As tough as it may be to believe, from the perspective of the child’s nervous system, a screaming, raging mom and/or an emotionally non-responsive dad both signal the same level of threat to a child as an attacking pack of hyenas does for that lion. Seriously, when you boil it down, both are simply threats to safety and possibly our lives.

Most children who were abused or chronically neglected had to suppress these incredibly powerful fight/flight responses that put them into freeze, which biologically is the only option once fight and flight have been unsuccessful.

But under that shutdown is a massive container of survival energy, wanting and waiting to be released. You must tap into this carefully and skillfully so that you can access that livelihood again.

Without it, you will continue to be low in energy; boundaries will be difficult to set and self-sabotage will continue.

The other consequence of these insidious threats and non-completion of a child’s fight and flee responses is chronic illness, physical and/or mental.

A groundbreaking research study called The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is shocking the medical and psychiatric communities because it tells us that at the core level, most chronic illnesses (including many common to toxic relationship survivors, such as depression, anxiety, panic disorders, fibromyalgia, obesity, osteoarthritis, autoimmune disease, sleep difficulties, heart disease and even some forms of cancer, just to name a few!) are a result of early childhood adversity.
If you've been 'in freeze' since childhood, you have a massive supply of energy that can be freed ...if you proceed slowly with the right support.
When a little person’s autonomic nervous system is constantly under attack, s/he never gets a chance to set up a solid nervous system foundation of healthy self-regulation. This faulty circuitry lends to suffering of all sorts later in life. 

You Need Healthy Aggression
As mentioned, humans share the same primal emotions as other animals in the wild: joy, surprise, fear, disgust, sadness and anger.

You can’t meditate away your basic primal life force emotions, nor would you want to. You need to access your anger and healthy aggression and not be afraid of it.

Fear of anger is the killer. Fear of your own power and rage will stop you from moving forward.

Remember, anger is just an emotion and it isn’t bad. Hurting others is. Aggression comes from the latin word, “Aggredi” which means to move forward, to attack, to understand, seize opportunity and/or attempt.

Anger—healthy, energy-rich anger and aggression—is the antidote to self-sabotaging behaviors.

When moving forward in any endeavor, be it for health, creating a new business, showing up for your loved ones or risking failure via a new creative pursuit, you need to have this “aggredi” energy readily available at your fingertips so you can keep going and never give up, even when it gets tough. Cause it will, right?

If you lack this internal pilot light and can’t feel that flame burning bright, it’s very easy to admit defeat, find ways to play small, not know your heart or speak your gut and continue to self-sabotage yourself into misery.

Understanding your biology, specifically your nervous system physiology and the stress response, plays a big part in your success, yet too often we focus solely on changing our behavior or thought process.

Unleashing Your Life Energy
So, how do you start to tune into your biology so you can unleash the healthy beast?
I wish it was something that was a quick fix. Or could be taken in pill form. But it isn’t. The steps to get started on this process are complex and intricate. But they work.

As I mentioned above,
Something all my clients have in common is difficulty, and often blatant inability or deep shame, when it comes to expressing the emotion of anger.

In your young life, if anger was either a) denied and seen as bad, or b) there was too much uncontrolled and abusive rage and violence, then it will take some time to build up the capacity to feel safe expressing anger.

You need a smart, slow and safe approach to unleashing this life energy.
Imagine the energy you will have when you no longer use it to contain past anger.
Another reason you want to take time is if you have any of the chronic illnesses I mentioned above or you think there’s a predisposition to them.

This is because when you unlock a lot of stored fight and flight energy and literally “defrost” your nervous system (i.e, you come out of freeze and functional shutdown), you will undergo a cellular organismic change that will affect your entire system (organ systems, hormonal, circulatory, etc.).

Slow and steady wins this race and I cannot stress this enough.

Three Ways to Start

1 – Because this is a delicate and lengthy process, education is key.
This idea of expressing anger and healthy aggression is new to civilized humans, which means you need to understand how your internal body physiology and stress chemistry work.

It’s also important to understand the finer details of unlocking emotions that have been held in for decades. Once this education is onboard, usually a shift happens and your circuitry starts to crave and organically move toward a re-wiring process almost immediately. Which means that after some solid educational pieces are in place, the next step is….

2 – Cultivate a strong sense of biological awareness and self-awareness—what is called “interoception.”
Having a good sense of your internal spaces when you’ve shut them down for decades is not a quick fix. It takes times to rebuild your capacity and to feel and trust your gut. When you get this back online, if you really do have a significant level of nervous system dysregulation and poor foundational self-regulation, then …

3 – Working at the level of the stress organs is essential.
When you’re in a cycle of unresolved survival energy, the brain is signaling danger to the stress organs and related chemistry, which responds and in turn signals danger back to the brain. This is a loop that’s really hard to break. You can interrupt this cycle by learning to work directly with the organs involved with stress chemistry and interrupting their frantic signaling.

I hope you will begin exploring anger inside yourself as you proceed through your recovery from a toxic relationship. You will unleash energy that can propel you forward into creating the kind of life you really want.
*  *  *
Irene Lyon, MSC, is a nervous system specialist and therapeutic coach with a master’s degree in research in biomedical and health sciences who teaches about nervous system health, trauma healing and neuroplasticity. IreneLyon.com
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