Song of the Day: Winter Light by Tim Finn
My anger management course place has finally come through the post after a year of waiting. I think most people I know would be shocked to learn that I’m doing it. I think I do come across as cheery and bubbly and friendly, and I hardly ever show my temper, but for those that have seen me when I do, they know I lose it big time.
I think most of the problem with my current way of dealing with anger is that I bury it as much as possible. I don’t think I ever really learnt to express it. I was brought up by parents who have both been traumatised by various events throughout their life. They hated us to be angry and we learnt to hide it to keep the peace. I also went to a strict Catholic school until I was 10 and was carted off to church every Sunday. The messages I received there were that anger is bad, only bad people are angry. We should be loving and kind and gentle and peaceful, anger was most definitely something to be ashamed of- particularly anger at your parents. I still get angry with Mum and Dad a fair bit, but even at the age of 31 I am absolutely terrified of ever standing up to Mum and Dad. How pathetic does that sound! If you met my Mum and Dad you’d think they were the most lovely people ever! (Which most of the time they are). But my general experience of being angry with Mum is that she bursts into tears and becomes extremely distressed; and Dad starts the old defensive victim strategy by getting angry and sarcastic. Either parent in this state, even to me as an adult, is quite a difficult thing to deal with. So I guess it’s only natural that those of us who have been taught to bury our anger, in order to avoid a potentially more traumatic experience, will have issues with expressing the emotion in a healthy way.
With me, little things build up and build up until one more little thing can make me fuming with rage. The energy of it is intense, like a burning feeling surging forcefully throughout my body. When this happens I will usually snap, but if I’m in the middle of a bipolar episode it can go as far as me screaming obscenities at someone or even trying to hit them. This has only happened about three times in the last 10 years, but my shame and guilt as a result have been extremely painful to deal with. I think this can often make my depressions really despairing. It’s not a nice thing to read about how despairing a person can get, but I know there are loads of others out there who have, or are, feeling like this. For me I was always so shocked at the intense emotional pain, I literally would feel like I was being sucked into a big black hole. But I think I’ll talk more about this in another post, as it’s such a big issue.
Anger has definitely led me down some dark paths, but I’m here on the other side and I am grateful for my lamotrigine 🙂