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Excerpt from Dr. John Rifkin's book, The Healing Power of Anger. ... _anger.htm


Chapter 1:
Why Is There a Hole in Your Heart?

George thought he was dying. In fact, he wished he would die, since it would be hard to imagine how he could be in more pain. He had already vomited several times and continued to suffer from stomach cramps and severe nausea. He had a migraine headache, complete with visual distortions and impaired vision. When he could see, he had vertigo; the room seemed like a ship at sea, swaying back and forth. He was hyperventilating and had severe chest pains, too. His wife, Betty, had already called an ambulance.

George and Betty were on their honeymoon in San Francisco . They had been married for all of forty-eight hours. He was twenty-seven.

When they arrived at the emergency room, the doctors couldn't identify anything wrong with George. He was extremely dehydrated, but he didn't respond to the intravenous fluids that they gave him. His symptoms were so severe, though, that they decided to admit him and run some tests.

After keeping George for a week, running extensive tests and spending almost $15,000, the doctors concluded that George was suffering from anxiety. He had experienced a severe panic attack.

The discovery of the hole in your heart and the beginning of your healing process don't have to begin with a panic attack. It might just be mild anxiety or nothing more than a dull ache, a feeling that you don't really belong. You may find yourself sinking down into the black hole of depression, where all light is absorbed by despair. Perhaps you find yourself unable to control your anger, exploding with people and feeling out of control. Maybe you find yourself unable to connect to your partner, or even find a partner. Maybe you find yourself betraying your partner. You may notice that you're less able to keep from having another drink, no matter how you might try to deceive yourself. Or perhaps it was consuming that next line of cocaine, the extra box of cookies, or whatever form of pseudo-love you find yourself drawn to as part of your own personal nightmare.

What all of these difficulties have in common is that they are a result of anger being acted out in a dysfunctional way. Each represents the inability to use anger to fix what is really hurting them--their underlying emotional injury.

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