Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Let’s talk about it: Your anger is valid

Posted on December 10, 2016 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By Johnna Ossie, News Editor

Why are you so angry? This is a question I think a lot of women get asked throughout  their lifetimes if they dare to show strong emotion. Anger is an emotion that many women struggle to display. If you’re like me, you’re scared to come off as too aggressive, or too intense, or too bossy.

I’m not an angry person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel angry just like I feel any other human emotion. Anger is a feeling. Just like joy is a feeling, or sadness, or love, or grief. All emotions need to be expressed in order to move past them. Smothering anger doesn’t make it go away, it only buries it.

A few weeks ago I sat on the couch across from my therapist, clutching a pillow and holding back tears. I told her I was tired, not just from lack of sleep, but tired deep inside. It had been a long few weeks, too much had happened, and all I wanted to do was pull my blankets over my head and hide in my bed.

She asked me, “Are you angry?”

I said, “I used to be, but now I’m just tired.”  

She asked me where I thought the anger went, and I didn’t have an answer.

“I guess it just goes away after a while,” I said, finally.

She paused for a moment and said, “I don’t think it goes away, I think it turns into depression.”

I couldn’t believe what she was saying, it had never occurred to me that by suppressing my anger I was turning it into depression. I was shoving it so far down, rooting it so deep inside me, that I turned it into deep sadness. We talked more, and I realized that I have no idea how to express anger. My whole life I have worked to suppress my anger so I don’t cause conflict, or come across as aggressive.

I talked to a few of my female friends and they told me they felt the same way. They wondered if they knew how to yell, or scream, or how to express anger at all. I asked them what they did when they felt angry and they both responded, “well, nothing.”

There is a place for anger. I want to clarify that anger does not equal violence. Telling someone you are angry with them does not equate to violence. I think a large reason I’ve been afraid to be angry is because I have always equated the two things.

When my therapist asked me to yell and throw pillows around her office, I spent the whole time scared I would break something. But still, no one was harmed. I was angry, and it felt bad and scary, but when it was over. It was over. Nothing had happened except that I had allowed myself to feel a normal human emotion.

A lot has happened over the last month (and long before that). I want to remind you, now, that it’s all right if you’re angry. It’s all right if you’re angry at injustices large and small. It’s all right if you don’t know how to express that anger yet. There is a place and a purpose for your anger. Your anger is valid, just as all of your feelings are valid.

 

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