I read this post last week and it explained the white hot anger that I often feel perfectly. I have talked before about my anger and how it has started to have a bigger impact on my life. As intense anger is one of the diagnostic criteria of BPD, I wanted to talk about it more in depth.
Think of the last time you were angry. I mean really angry. The kind of anger where it starts to give you physical symptoms. The room starts to spin, and you can feel your pulse pounding through your veins. It is almost like your blood is bubbling under the surface, like a volcano.
Now imagine feeling that way every single time something annoyed you, every time you felt slighted or every time you felt that things just weren’t fair. Imagine feeling it when you forgot to buy milk while you were out. The white hot anger bubbling under the surface with a hair trigger before it comes spilling out.
One of the friends of anger is shame, at least for me. With anger I also feel exhausted. Anger means that my body is in fight or flight mode. I are on edge, waiting for someone to trip me up, waiting for that trigger to fire.
When that trigger is tripped and the fire comes raging out, it’s like an out of body experience. I am standing beside my body, knowing that what I am doing is over the top, that the reaction doesn’t meet the circumstance. I can feel myself trying to stop before the words spew out of my mouth. It snowballs, gains momentum until I am chasing a firey ball, exhausted but unable to stop.
People believe that anger is easy to stop. They believe that people who struggle with anger can just take a deep breath and count to ten. I do use that technique, I do try to recognise the triggers before they are tripped but there are times when the fire comes rushing at me like a bull to a red flag. I feel powerless to stop it.
This isn’t about excusing anger. I know that I am an arsehole when the anger consumes me whole. I know that I hurt people with my actions and the words that come out of my mouth when I am angry. Like everything that I write here, it’s about understanding. It’s about explaining why I do some of the things that I do.
Anger is still one of the biggest things that I struggle with. I often feel that white hot power rushing to the surface. However I am getting better at recognising my triggers, removing myself from situations when I feel the lava bubbling and realising that anger, like all emotions, is valid. The last point is especially helpful in reducing the severity of my outbursts because it means that I can release the anger without shame, in a healthy way.