Anger: The Mask Unveiled

Last week I read this post by Dorothy (she’s really writing some awesome stuff at the moment!) on Anger.  It really hit home with me because anger has become my default emotion recently.  It used to simmer under the surface, now it bursts out before I can get a handle on it.

angerI had always put my anger down to circumstances, I had a right to be angry at the injustice that I was feeling.  Anger has become so much more than that over the last three or so years.  At first I still put it down to circumstances, I had a lot going on, I was right to be angry about it.  Right?

One thing that my psychologist has reiterated to me over and over again in the time that I have been seeing her is that all emotions have their place.  Even the ones we see as negative serve as a warning signal for us that something is not right.  These emotions however don’t serve a purpose beyond that, and that is where I run into trouble.

I was using anger as a mask, as is so common with people who have troubles with anger.  The anger acts as a distraction, so that the real issue doesn’t show it’s ugly head to the people around me.  Of course the anger causes issues all on its own.

A few months ago I was writing a short story, and it was only when I got to the end that I realised that the story was about me.  My readers were much more intuitive and picked it up much sooner than I did.  That short story was a turning point for me.  It was the point where I realised that anger was much less of the real issue for me.

I was using anger to mask the anxiety that I was feeling.  The feeling of being judged by the people around me, the people who really didn’t know me at all because they were faces in the crowd.  I felt it easier to be on guard, ready to snap at a moments notice than to own up to the anxiety I was feeling.  How wrong I was.

Owning up the feelings hasn’t magically made it better, but it has meant that I can begin to work on it therapy.  It’s going to be a hard process, I know that it won’t just disappear forever and that like all things I will have to work hard to keep on top of it.  However I want to see an end to the anger.  I want to see an end to the lava that is just waiting under the surface.

Do you struggle with anger?  What have you done to help stay on top of it?

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