So I was talking to my therapist not too long ago and they said something that really hit me:
Anger isn’t a bad emotion. In fact, it’s a good emotion. It’s what you do with that anger that matters.
When I heard this, I almost started crying. But let me backtrack for just a minute.
When I was about seven or eight years old, I had this “friend”. His name was Max and he would constantly “tease” me about having anger management issues (Yes, this really happened). Fast forward to when I was twelve and I had a classmate named Alec. I don’t know what I did but he seemed to make it his mission to piss me off every chance he got, just because he thought my anger was amusing. Skip forward another couple years to when I was seventeen and my friend Lex pointed out my shirt was pretty low-cut and I snapped at her because what the fuck did it even matter. She immediately got defensive, said I was overreacting, and refused to acknowledge any worth in my emotions.
Here’s the thing, for the entire twenty-one years of my life so far, I have been told that being angry is a bad thing. I was convinced that anger is this sick, negative emotion and that I should suppress it at whatever cost. I mean, sure, I’ll feel anger at one point or another. But it was like I had a time limit on how long I was allowed to feel it.
Which is bullshit. All of it.
And it only took this single statement to for me to realize that.
As a woman, I’ve been told that my anger is “ridiculous” and “not justified”. I’ve been told that I need to tone it down, that I should learn to take a joke, stop being so emotional, etc.
I’m finally realizing that my anger–like all my other emotions–is perfectly valid. My thoughts and words when I’m angry are valid and are NOT inherently bad.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m an “angry person” but I never really talked about why that was a big deal and it all just stems from this idea that Anger is bad. I’ve been surrounded with this belief that being angry and feeling that anger is unacceptable. So I pushed it down. Waaay down.
But that wasn’t fair.
So when my therapist said that anger isn’t bad, I questioned everything I thought to be true about the emotion and I saw that they were right.
I don’t have anger management issues, Max was wrong.
Alec, had no right to manipulate my feelings the way he did. He was in the wrong.
My feelings of annoyance and anger were justified, Lex was wrong to make me feel otherwise.
It’s more than just, “Anger is a human emotion and you have to feel it”; it’s, “anger is an important emotion and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it.”
There’s a difference and it’s important to know that.
So yes, I almost cried. Because I learned that there’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with my emotions; I’m not sick and twisted for being angry.
I’m just human.