I'm angry because....

I've talked before about issues with anger.
Pete (whose top secret blog I won't link to) wrote about anger the other day on his blog. He wrote about this underlying anger that seems to be seething just beneath the surface of his everyday demeanor. He talked about wanting it to go away.
I commented about my own struggles with rage and how I realized that I'm rarely angry because I'm mad. I usually fly into a rage because of so many other things.
I feel lied to, taken advantage of, betrayed. So I get angry because I don't want to give people the satisfaction that I feel those things, because I have in my mind that those things are weak whiny little girl things to feel.
I feel let down, disappointed and hurt. So I scream and yell and dig into a supply of words to wound people so they feel as hurt as I do. Because to tell them I'm hurt is to expose that I'm vulnerable, that I feel things deeply and that they have the power to wound me, a power I'm terrified they'll use to the fullest extent.
I feel scared and unsure. I want to be reassured or even protected but I don't want to ask people for help so I lash out because the rage makes me feel powerful and in control when really I'm anything but.

Rage and anger, for a long time and sometimes even still, is a blanket I pull over my head and hide beneath. I use it to stamp out a world that is overwhelming and terrifying to me almost every minute of some days.
I'm so scared of being rejected I've cultivate the ability to shut down my emotions and play dead relationally which I just don't want to do anymore. I don't want to be powerless. I don't want to feel like you can just manipulate and push me around as you please so I clutch rage to my chest and shove you away with my feet.

It wasn't until I realized that I was able to be strong and powerful without anger that I could let go even a little bit. It wasn't until I realized if I measured my words and leveraged the right kind of anger at the right time that I could have an even larger impact on those around.
Speak softly but carry a big stick as it were.

So now I can get mad for mostly the right reasons.
Old habits are hard to kick, and a lot of the time I have to kick the same ones over and over again for years.
But I'm a lot less angry now. I mean, I could throw down if needed, but mostly I try to compromise.
When I feel that seething anger building inside me I try to take a minute and finish the sentence: "I'm angry because....."

Most of the time, it ends with scared and I can work through that fear instead of lashing out at anyone close to me.


Pete said...

I've realized since I wrote that, that I can finish that sentence usually with.."I'm angry because....of my own stupidity.

There is a lot to take from this post.

ellenjane said...

I don't think that's true Pete.
It's very easy to blame everything on yourself and call yourself stupid. Why do you think you're stupid?
Because you fell for it? Because you believed them?
I'm not saying you don't have responsibility for managing your anger, but it's statistically impossible for everything to be your fault all the time.