How To Turn Anger into Growth

“A man’s hatred is always concentrated upon that which makes him conscious of his bad qualities.” — C.G. Jung

I remember being in my early twenties and one of my exes would always question why I didn’t go for my driver’s license. At the time I wasn’t keen on being so vulnerable about what I thought was a stupid flaw about myself.

I didn’t go for it because I had a driving phobia. My ex must’ve really been scratching her head wondering what was up with me, but it was something I didn’t even want to admit to myself. But my subconscious wouldn’t let it go.

For about three years, I would have nightmares about the car moving and steering itself. If I slammed on the brakes, it still moved. If I pulled up the handbrake, it still moved. If I tried to steer it, the wheel went stiff.

These dreams were trying to communicate to me, and I’ll explain what that was in a bit. But all I felt was immense shame. Driving is often thought to be a rite of passage for a man. I rejected the notion. In truth, it is a dumb thing to think. But my resentment of it was due to my insecurity.

Eventually, I did some emotional processing on it. I embraced my shame and fear and eventually, I got my license. I drive perfectly fine, never been in an accident and I actually enjoy driving.

However, on Monday night/Tuesday morning, the dream came back.

I was backing out of a parking spot with my mother and sister but I wasn’t doing anything. The car had a mind of its own and was about to mow down a woman and her daughter. (In my dreams, the car is always about to crash into someone).

I flung up the handbrake, nothing. I slammed on the brakes, the car was still moving but slowly. You’d think the revving would be enough to warn the pedestrians but it wasn’t. The dream reset itself over and over again. The car never hit the lady and her child, but it always came close and then the dream started over.

So even though I had addressed the emotions behind my hatred of driving, which was fear, it was clear to me that there was something I didn’t investigate. And so I did just that.

Maybe it’s because I’m better at being real with myself nowadays but the answer just came right out when I was journaling. I hated to drive because I believed that I had no control over my own life, let alone a car.

Not only did I believe that I couldn’t literally or figuratively steer a course for where I wanted to go in life, I believed that life was antagonistic. Life wanted me to suffer and that my suffering would inflict suffering onto others.

It makes sense that this dream resurfaced. Lately I have been wondering if I truly can direct my life in the path I want it to go. I realize that while I consciously know this because of the preponderance of positive affirmations floating around the internet and seeing other people flourish, I never uprooted the subconscious belief that I can’t control my life, hence the fear of driving, the nightmares and probably a bunch of other stuff I’ve been ignoring that are linked to my fear.

We tend to believe that hatred is something that needs to be eradicated. We see it in racism, sexism and nationalism. We see the destruction it can cause and the innocent lives that are victims to hatred. We’ll do just about anything to destroy the emotion and the actions that stem from it. We hate hate.

But hate, like any emotion, is communicating something to you. And if you would just look deeper at why you hate what you hate, something that you need to know about yourself will be revealed to you. Something that will be especially helpful the next time you encounter that thing or that person you despise.

This isn’t just about getting rid of a painful emotion. It’s about you and caring enough about yourself to wonder why you have such an axe to grind about a particular issue but not some other issue.

It is as Hermann Hesse wrote: “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” So even if you don’t approve of someone or something, there is no reason a healthy boundary would turn into a toxic resentment.

So I invite you to explore what you hate. You might not like what you find, but it’s what you need for your own evolution.

Written by

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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