Day Forty Six
I used to think I wasn’t an angry person because I didn’t shout or yell.
Sometimes people told me about episodes of shouting and screaming during blackout, but I just put that down to being just a silly drunk girl, it couldn’t possibly be real anger.
I couldn’t bear the thought of being angry because angry people scared me. I found out I was just as angry as the next person, but I turned it inward. Its undeniable process would roar when I was drunk past the point of recognition, or trip over into complete numbness. It triggered my self-destruct impulse and it caused me to lash out with self-harm and destructive relationships. I thought the only person I was hurting myself, and oh boy did I hurt myself, but it also harmed a lot of people who cared about me – to watch me reject all of their love in the pursuit of oblivion. It’s not our job to regulate other people’s emotions, but the rejection I showed to my friends’ concern was painful for them, and I’m so grateful for the ones who stayed.
Anger is a natural, human emotion. Anger is not a moral failing. Anger is usually a secondary response to shame or fear. For me, choosing to live in anger was a choice. As I dealt with the underlying causes, I had to feel and process a lot of internal reactions to mistreatment as well as a lot of anger towards myself.
I like to process anger physically, with movement and exertion. I also like to journal my anger, letting it out without judgement. Having a space to release my anger without my initial response of “put it in a box, I’m not allowed to be angry” was useful for actually living my life as a less angry person. It always, always passes. Journaling it found the truth at the root of the anger, rather than the blind rage. Clearing out the box eventually led to finding forgiveness, but the only way out is through. I can now walk through anger without lashing out on myself or others.
How do you react to anger? How do you feel in its discomfort?
Three tiny things:
- Move your blood around in a way that feels fiery and free.
- Breathe deeply for three minutes.
- Write a letter you do not intend to send.