Growing up, I never thought I had an issue with anger.
I didn’t lash out at people, in fact, I kept most of my feelings inside. I swallowed them to the point where I actually got physically ill. I had severe acid reflux, which my mom referred to as “water flush.” I was afraid to express my anger because I saw anger as a scary emotion. When people got angry, they raised their voices. When people were mad, they were unpredictable. I didn’t want to emulate that level of anger. It wasn’t the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be someone who was happy. I wanted to be a person that made people laugh. When I made people laugh, it was thrilling. I still love making people laugh. When I do that I feel like I am fulfilling part of my role in society. I love to use humor to amplify my voice.
But anger? That wasn’t an option.
Being angry was something that I was afraid to embrace because it meant that there was a problem with me. What if I threw something and broke it? What if I hurt someone with angry words? What if I made a fool of myself from speaking loudly or unkindly to someone? I had seen other people behave like that and I didn’t want to engage in that behavior. So I lived in fear of being angry for a long time. In therapy, I talked about it briefly, skirting over it as if it was something that didn’t need to be addressed. I focused more on my abandonment issues and insecurities in relationships.
In reality, anger was the thing I needed to look at.
Anger was something I needed to work hard to accept as a part of being a human being. Anger didn’t make me crazy, it wasn’t something that was going to kill me, it was something that I needed to release safely and I didn’t have the tools to do that. I wanted to be able to be angry like a “normal” person, but the fear prevented me from even learning how to do that. I’ve always been a person who liked to be in control of things. I’d look at other people who were cool with going with the flow. I didn’t understand them.
I wanted to go with the flow but it seemed unattainable, and it still does.
I had a friend reach out to me and tell me that he was going to teach me how to go with the flow. I know I need to learn that lesson, but it scares me. Mostly because I’m afraid that anger will be a part of that equation. If you let yourself lose control you might get angry. And anger is something that I kept under lock and key in my brain. It was something I wanted to bury. Recently I’ve been looking into my anger issues in a serious way. My anger comes out when my PTSD is triggered. When someone lies to me, makes me feel like I am unheard or unseen I get extremely angry. These are issues that we (as human beings with anger problems) need to deal with and you can even get help with anger online. I know these are my triggers and being aware of them is the first step towards healing. I am ready to face the fact that my anger is something that I am afraid to look at.
Looking at anger in a real way.
I am ready to see my anger as something that isn’t threatening. Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience to varying degrees. Anger is a signal that we need to express something that is making us unhappy. Don’t ignore anger, because that will make it worse. What makes you angry? Are you ready to face those issues?
Originally published on Huffington Post
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