Sunday, November 13, 2016

I'm angry, too

As a kid, I often felt sad.  Not chronically sad, but sad enough.  Maybe more sad than other kids.  I felt like my heart was so easily broken.  I was just a sensitive kid.

At some point in my life, and I'm not sure exactly when, I determined that sadness felt weak.  I was tired of feeling sad and tired of feeling easily heart-broken.  I determined that anger was better.

Anger didn't seem to last as long as sadness...although I have reservations about this sentiment now.

So over the years, I became quite adept at feeling angry.  I trained myself very well since anger is still my go-to emotion.

I rarely cry, but I frequently rage.

If someone hurts my feelings, I get angry.
If I am frustrated, I become angry.
If I am uncomfortable or tired, I very easily swing into anger.

I have this sign hanging in my kitchen:

When G and I were in therapy to try to manage his temper tantrums, our therapist wrote these down for him.  Considering my own issues with anger, I felt it was probably good to keep it up for the both of us.

It isn't easy to talk about anger.  People don't know what to do with anger.  Even if someone is not directing it at you, it feels like they are angry at you.  And when someone feels like anger is directed at them, they go into fight mode, which results in greater anger on both sides.

Tonight at dinner, we were talking about how D is the type of person who shuts completely down when confronted with anger, while I'm the type of person who would engage in an angry battle.  It didn't take very long after our marriage for me to realize that getting angry and blowing up wasn't the way to get anything accomplished with D.  In some ways, this blog has been a communication tool for us.  I write and try very hard to work my feelings into some thoughtful shape.  He reads and is able to see what I'm thinking and where I may be coming from without feeling attacked.

I saw this the other day, courtesy of The Gottman Institute, and realized that this is what half the electorate is feeling.  Anger masking all kinds of other emotions.  Anger was felt by a different group of people in 2008 when Obama was elected president.  What was motivating their anger? Was it the same thing that is motivating people now to feel angry?

For me, personally, even though I know that people had a variety of reasons for voting for DT, I have found myself watching people.  I am looking at them as if I could bore a hole into their souls.   The people in line in front of me at the grocery store.....are they xenophobic or racist?  Are they anti-Semites?  What is in their hearts?

It is hard enough to manage my grocery shopping without fretting about the intentions of my fellow cart-pushers and whether they would do harm to others.

I have never felt this way....this wondering what people are really feeling.  I know people hold darkness in their hearts...we all do in some small way... but I never felt like it was pulsing right under the surface, ready to bubble up, potentially ready to blow.

Now I worry that it is.

And I'm angry about it, too.  

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