Grief Is the New Anger
As humans we all know anger. It’s the red warm flash, heart racing, rapid thought-producing, judgment-clouding, yet necessary emotion.
I grew up around the incalculable explosive anger. You never knew when the heat would set in, you just had to be prepared to put out the flames.
This form of anger is destructive physically and mentally for your material objects, as well as the mental well-being of your loved ones.
Seeing this form of anger every day growing up gave me my own anger. Growing up you can really see the reactions in someone’s face and body, when they are the target of this anger. Growing up you can really tune into the intricacies of how your words effect others, especially when the explosive anger is behind them.
I promised myself I would never make others feel bad with my words. I would not explode on others. I felt so strongly about this that I made it part of my identity for a long time.
I had done it, I wasn’t like that! Woohoo!
*Cue the record scratch*
Well…that’s partially true…
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t push the anger away forever. It has to come out some how (spoiler alert: it’s by using professionally recommended coping skills, who knew!).
The way I found to express mine, was to internalize it. As you could imagine, if you’re coming from an environment of incalculable explosive anger, a lot of other areas of expression and ways of thinking are pretty out of whack.
I used my internalized anger to power and propel myself. I thought I had it all figured out. I could get out all of this anger of my own by doing things to myself. If I did X, Y, and Z, I could reset my brain in a second. Similar to a medication finally kicking in and doing its job. My emotions would go into check and I could think clearly.
After a while though I noticed my remedy started backfiring. I couldn’t keep up with every new crack in my “fool proof” ways of handling anger.
I noticed my loved ones becoming effected. This is exactly what I tried not to do.
I worked so hard to find something that worked for me, that wouldn’t hurt others.
Come to find out internalizing your anger doesn’t stop the effect on others, nor does it make it less destructive. Internalizing your anger, from my experience, still effects your loved ones just as much.
My internalized anger was self-destructive. My loved ones hurt because of what I would do to myself, while trying to not hurt or bother them.
With no idea how to process emotions, I felt so lost and confused. Everything I had made for myself crumbled away. I never wanted to explode, but I was exploding on myself and needed to finally figure this out.
I’m lucky and I know that. I’m lucky and so grateful that I am here typing this. I’m here because I had loved ones who helped me push myself to seek professional help.
It was nothing to be embarrassed about; I had grown up and developed in a household that was never taught to process emotion. It wasn’t my fault. Yet it quickly became my responsibility to re-learn, and rightfully so.
Through my many years of learning, I found that the problem wasn’t with anger. Behind the anger is something else, commonly known as grief.
Through my many years of learning, I found that I had lessening anger the more I talked through my grief. I also now understand that my household was flooded with grief.
Finding the true emotion behind so much has been essential in my recovery. It was the key I was looking for all along. This key unlocked many things like: how to identify other emotions, take a step back, rationalize, and express in a healthy way.
I hope, with my whole heart, that you can find your key. You are your own best ally. You deserve happiness, and you will get there.
If you don’t know where to start, you can visit NAMI.org, the SIDRAN institute, or SAMHSA.gov.
Getty image by Olga Strelnikova