A while back, I looked at anger triggers and the associated remedies. Recently, while in a difficult situation (with someone mad at me), I thought afterwards it would be interesting to look at the emotional reactions we have when we become the recipients of someone’s wrath.
My instinctive reaction for many years has been to “fight back” – especially if I feel the anger is unjustified. This comes from the Vine corner of my personality, wanting to be right. Often, it is associated with feeling indignant - a Vervain state. Vervain people are sensitive to injustice. However, this strategy leads to escalation and arguments, and costs energy. People get excited and maybe things are said that one regrets. This type of reaction can be destructive.
So, being aware of this habitual reaction (and after a few liters of the Chestnut Bud remedy over the years), I have learnt not to react, or at least to react less if someone flares up. This is not easy, and certainly depends on how mindful I am in the situation and who the person is who is getting angry with me. This ‘not reacting’ is like a cool and gentle Water Violet state. I withdraw, go quiet and observe. Maybe I can say something to calm the situation. Perhaps I have to walk away.
One of the most difficult things about being on the receiving end of someone’s outrage is avoiding a Willow state. By this, I mean bypassing feeling offended, hurt, becoming bitter or a victim. Obviously, if someone has hurt us, it is normal to feel hurt. By ‘avoiding a Willow state’ I mean being able to cultivate the ability to let go when things have calmed down. This means reconciliation and accepting someone’s apology (if offered). It means not going off in a huff.
Another reaction that can be observed when someone is on the receiving end of anger, is making light of it; laughing it off, not taking it seriously. This may be an effective strategy, but it may also be an Agrimony state. Think of a child whose mum or dad easily and angrily scolds them. Joking and appeasement might get them out of the firing line but can also lead to a lifelong habit of not taking hurt seriously.
Sensing and being on the recieving end of animosity can also fill us with fear and make us lose self-confidence. It might also lead us to feel guilt and self-approach. So if this has become a familiar reaction, the remedies here would be Mimulus, Larch and Pine.
Perhaps the best way to deal with anger when it flairs up is to recognize one’s own role in triggering it and quietly acknowledging that. I helped an old lady with her heavy luggage recently. When I put her suitcase down, it tipped over onto the dry and dusty ground. As she lent over to right her case and dust it off, she had a little angry (accusing) outburst directed at me exclaiming, “Look what you have done to my new suitcase!” I didn’t have the presence of mind to say, “oh dear, sorry about that, I didn’t notice the ground was uneven.” That would have probably been the wisest reaction. Her vehement reaction surprised me, above all, because I had just helped her. Later, on the same day, I encountered an angry car driver, I annoyed him at a roundabout because I wasn't fast enough. I smiled whole-heartedly at him, even gave him a wave. How delightful to see that his anger dissolved immediately - he waved back, a huge grin lighting up his face.