Anger Oh the anger . . . The visceral experience of being betrayed has triggered thoughts that consume my mind yet again. I haven't slept more than three hours straight in many months and the Benadryl I regularly take just leaves me feeling groggy. I only have two hours before I have to be in front of the first of many demanding clients today. My efforts to make it through the motions of my morning have been interrupted by my teenage daughter's demands. She desperately wants me to accommodate her schedule in order to have time with friends this afternoon. I tell her it's not going to work today. As the demand relentlessly continues, I blow a gasket . . . An intolerable feeling of pressure rises up in my stomach. Negative emotions of frustration build and finally give way to rage. I try not to speak but I can't help myself . . . so I yell . . . belligerently. I hate myself in this space. Is this what I've become? A hare trigger waiting to be bumped- stimulating fear in those I want close to me? I wallow in pity as I'm consumed with what this affair has done to me. I found myself in these situations over and over after D-day. The smallest thing would set me off and I would spiral into a space of self-loathing. Finally, I decided to face this demon head on. The truth is my anger has been unhealthy for much of my adult life. Infidelity, like it or not, definitely shines a beaming light on any negative traits or coping skills whether you're the betrayed or unfaithful. It took me a while to realize that my wife's infidelity caused me pain, but it did not create dysfunction in me. You see, that was already there. Who knew? Turns out I'm imperfect as well. Anger is an odd emotion in that it's not just a feeling but it creates such a discomfort it motivates action. It can drive me to seek justice and truth, or, in its darkest state, can drive me to destroy. As I've wrestled with this power, I have come to understand it in two parts: the feeling and the reaction. The feeling is intense. It creates anxiety and pressure in my stomach that causes my mind to focus on a hurt or injustice in my life. At its core, it is fed by my fears. It can be intense, frustrating, and deactivate my ability to think rationally at times. This part can come out of nowhere, and without any anticipation or intention by me. This part I cannot control, I can only accept. On the other hand, my reaction is completely within my power to manage. I've discovered that it's not the experience of feeling anger that leads to lingering negative consequences but rather how I choose to respond to the anger. When I acknowledge my circumstances and give myself space to experience the discomfort without verbally or physically responding, my dignity is left intact and my perspective returns without harm to my self-esteem or others. It is only when I try to transfer the pain of the emotion that I am left with regret. This seems elementary to write but I have found simple awareness is extraordinarily powerful in confronting and overcoming dysfunction. Infidelity stimulated anger in an intensity I had never felt before. I suspect I am not alone in that regard. When you feel it rising up, I hope you too can acknowledge it and find your own perspective to help keep your self-esteem in check, as it will pass again . . . it always does.