Not all the time.
Just some of the time.
Mostly, I’m fake about my anger.
If you’ve ever seen those flashbacks on TV or the movies where someone flashes a mental picture of them hurling said irritant out the window and then you come back and see calm composure – that would be me. When I’m mad my insides explode and my outside get’s calmer. Dead almost. Or I just get a goofy ass grin and go blonde. Either way.
There is a part of me that truly envies women who can express anger openly. I wasn’t raised to do that, so for me it is very foreign.
Truth is, I have a horrific temper, I just don’t allow myself to express it, even in healthy ways like saying “I’m really angry right now, let me cool off and get back to you.” — I never get back. Most of the time, I rarely even let on that I’m mad.
I actually fired someone years ago over anger/hurt feelings and they have no idea I fired them.
I can still remember the trigger and the rage. I wasn’t just mad by what happened, I was deeply hurt and I wanted to inflict bodily harm. I wanted to create a scene. I remember visualizing bodily harm and a multitude of cuss words, throwing things (I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to throw something at that man’s head) and in your face so theres.
I didn’t do any of that. I left with a goofy smile and see you tomorrow, and I just never came back.
Well that’s partly true anyway. Once i cooled off I went back to talk, but they weren’t available, and they stayed unavailable. Guess they have the same issues.. avoidance. It’s just as well really – if I can’t be honest, maybe we shouldn’t be doing business together. Or be friends.
The kind of anger that is triggered during those moments usually involve personal shame, history and fear and I really do want to lash out with emotional violence. Not doing that is healthy, not addressing that at all however, is not.
To this day this man has NO idea how deeply hurt I was by his words – or by the fact he had someone on speaker phone when he said them and I knew it. I just avoid his area of business and his circles.
I live in a small town ya’ll. Reckoning day will eventually arrive. Not just for that relationship, but the countless others in my past that have fallen by the way side because of unresolved and unaddressed feelings. Anger or otherwise.
I’m not alone either.
I once polled my Facebook tribe and asked “What would you do if fear was not an issue.” I got the typical responses like skydiving, comedy, write a book, but then one response stood out.
“I’d give myself permission to express my anger.”
That came from someone I admire a whole lot and it hit me square between the eyes.
I’m not alone.
I’m not the only person who plays dumb in the face of anger because I’m afraid.
Anger is one emotion I’m very familiar with but really struggle with expressing. I’d rather stuff it, deal with it in private (my shower or journal) and leave you out of it than risk vulnerability, embarrassment, physical harm, shame or worse – abandonment. I never had permission to express anger growing up or as an adult with some extended family members. It was always a get over it or leave kind of environment. Avoidance is the motto and key to getting along. Stuff it and smile.
Or how did Miranda put it? Oh yeah, “Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.”
I’ve only met a few men (or women for that matter) in my life that I trust enough to go toe to toe with. One of them happened to be on our church plant team years ago – oh man it was awesome. There was no fear of abandonment, physical harm or shame. He knew how to fight and I enjoyed the freedom of being able to do that with him. Neither of us took offense, and neither of us liked to lose which was a problem. So we dropped the ball.
It wasn’t a healthy expression of anger, but it was refreshing to know that I can express my personal anger full on and be taken seriously, not have it held against me, and move on. Somewhere in all of this is balance.
Wish I had an “in conclusion” to give here – with some great sage words of wisdom about speaker/listener technique or “I feel statements” but I really don’t right now. Yes, all of that is good, but when I’m blindsided by anger I still struggle. Maybe for me a good baby step is learning words like “ouch” and “I don’t know how to take that.” and start from there.
Have a great day peeps.
Don’t forget to breathe.