Growing up, I was not allowed a safe outlet for my feelings.
Being sad or angry at my caretakers resulted in punishment, so I kept my emotions inside.
But more than that, I could see where they were coming from:
They simply had too much to deal with already, and couldn’t handle my feelings.
My feelings were dangerous to them, and thus to me.
Anger and aggression are not the same thing.
Often I equate the physiology of anger (red face, loud voice) with aggression.
There are ways of expressing anger where we do not hurt others or de-escelate the situation.
I didn’t allow myself to be angry at others for many reasons: I didn’t know their backstory, I knew that everyone tries their best with what they were given, I didn’t want to be inconvenient.
So all that pent up anger grew cold and turned towards me.
“We’ll see how denial of anger, not the feeling itself,
is what undermines our relationships and serenity.” – Richard S.
We can deny our anger, but it will come out in other ways: intrusive thoughts, passive aggressiveness or even chronic illness.
Whether it’s logical or fair or justified, the feeling is there, so why deny it?
We are powerless over what emotions come up.
How we express it however is a different matter, and up to us.
And why we express it is important too – do we have expectations that accompany it?
Are we actually manipulating our feelings and others to reach a goal?
Being angry (and showing it) requires vulnerability and strength.
By taking the “easy” way out and not confronting others, we are denying our very core.
Anger is important for healthy communication, and can even create room for others to heal.
I am not actually helping anyone (least of all me) by denying and not expressing my anger.
Usually I would rant to friends and go for runs, but sometimes its not enough.
Pretending to be the bigger person and keeping the peace leads to passive aggressiveness I cannot hide, making me a hypocrite and a coward. Which leads to intrusive thoughts of me hating myself.
Let’s start with allowing the anger to simply exist.
The journey to recovery takes patience and compassion.
It’s all about progress not perfection, and shaming myself for my intrusive thoughts will only make them worse.
What should or could happen doesn’t matter, my feelings are valid.
How do you deal with unhealthy expectations towards anger?
I find writing out a letter or practising what I would like to say helpful, how about you?