You know which one I'm talking about, right? No, not that one. The other one. Yep. That one.
I don't like anger. I've been told it's a productive emotion, that it can actually be rather helpful, especially when it comes to taking your anger out productively, like, say, cleaning, for example. (Not something I'm terribly fond of either.) I have spent much of my life suppressing most of my feelings - good and bad. Anger, though, has been stuffed down the most, and felt the least. The way I dealt with anger was to take it out on myself. Which is not all that great. Definitely not healthy. I get mad at someone else, for whatever reason, and I turn it inward, beating myself up instead, then they'll never know I was mad at them, right?
Or so I thought.
Turns out, that when anger isn't expressed properly, it seeps out through your pores, and explodes at very inconvenient times. So not helpful. Either that, or it causes some pretty uncomfortable inner turmoil, which isn't very helpful either.
I experienced some anger this past week. I tried to stuff it down, but that didn't work. I tried to take it out on myself in rather unhealthy ways, but that backfired too. Turns out the only way I was able to work through this much-feared anger was to discuss it with those in which I was actually frustrated. (Intentionally using the word "frustration" now instead of "anger") And talking about being frustrated with someone else, actually having that conversation with them? It was so freaking hard. I thought I was going to explode, literally. And I had to have this conversation twice, with two separate people, both of whom I have incredible respect for and care very much about. And I exploded into tears both times.
My past experiences with speaking up when I felt frustrated have not been positive. I'm usually blamed for feeling frustrated, told that it's my fault, and that I just have to deal with it. Either that, or I've had to endure rather violent and unsettling explosions by the person I was frustrated with, which is a big reason I avoid confrontation at all possible costs.
This week, though, I was actually encouraged to express my frustration. So I did. I was utterly shocked at the response. Both individuals were not phased by my frustration. They took it. They listened. We talked through the situation. All was cleared up. And while I cried for what felt like hours, I didn't come against any explosions of any sort, nor was I blamed or told to deal with it. I was utterly shocked, though I've known these two people long enough to know that I shouldn't have been shocked. It just showed me how much I have to learn. It's going to take a lot of these kinds of experiences, ones that have positive outcomes, to relearn that feelings, and talking about them - good and bad - is actually a healthy, positive thing.
I'm hoping that next time I am frustrated, I don't spin into that self-destructive space for as long. Ultimately, I'm hoping to start skipping that whole self-destructive route in favor of the healthy conversation that has now had surprisingly positive results twice in one week.