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On Understanding Anger

Throughout my youth, anger was my #1 most repressed emotion. Having grown up in a household where anger was often present, I internalized at a young age that expressed anger = emotional damage to loved ones. As a result of this, the pendulum of my psyche swung as far in the other direction as possible. I was “nice” to a fault, my backbone having been dissolved into a formless goo. In elementary school and the first two years of high school I operated as a human doormat, terrified that I would cause even the slightest emotional discomfort to anyone. It wasn’t until a couple of consecutive bad relationships shocked me awake to the fact that my lack of boundaries was causing me immense unhappiness.

I slowly came to the realization that I was weak. My chronic inability to stand up for myself was not me being truly kind to others, but rather an attempt to manipulate everyone around me through the only tool I felt capable of using, being “nice”. I had built my personality around the thesis that if I gave everyone around me exactly what they wanted in any given moment, it would equate to them giving me what I wanted. Of course, that is not the way the world works, at all, and so I found myself repeatedly disillusioned.

I had to come to some new understandings about anger in general to move forward and debug the faulty code in my human operating system.

Anger itself can be thought of as either being either expressed or repressed. First we will talk about the expression of anger, and then about the repression of anger that I experienced personally.

Expressed Anger

Expressed anger, as an emotion experienced inside your body, isn’t inherently a positive or a negative thing. For example, if I was to use righteous anger to defend my family from an intruder and the rage blocks out the pain from a gunshot wound so I could overcome the invader, then my anger acts as a shield and is a positive biological trait.