Anger Can Hide Pain

I have trouble with anger. Generally the most angry I have been has been righteous indignation over mistreatment of someone, some country, or some animal.

In my family we rarely were angry at each other. I remember only two maybe three big arguments my parents had when I was young. While growing up we siblings had disagreements and sibling rivalry of course. But we all got along well.

While married to my husband who had physical problems and became emotionally abusive, at first I was seldom angry at him. That’s because I bore the blame of so many failings, mistakes, misjudgments, and disobedience that I blamed myself for being a bad wife, mother and a failure.

Until one day I finally got mad and defended myself verbally against someone else’s rudeness. Well that didn’t last long. Soon I became upset about something else and spoke before I thought.

Later I regretted saying something I shouldn’t have said, so I decided to keep my anger under lock and key so I wouldn’t hurt someone unnecessarily or say something that wasn’t true. I was also afraid of blasting someone about something and then finding out later I hadn’t had all of the facts. before I spoke. Then I would have felt terrible for hurting someone for the wrong reasons.

The other day I learned something about my anger. While eating supper with an old friend, I explained to her why I had ended a friendship with a friend we had had in common. The ex-friend asked me to do something immoral for some other people. I refused firmly. When later invited me to lunch she trapped me into meeting those people to try to get me to reconsider. I was furious!

I could not trust a friend I had known for at least 7 years. We had traveled together, eaten lunches together, shopped together, and she even helped me move out of my house and put things in storage. She had been a true friend.

So when she apologized I forgave her. Later another situation occurred that made me change my mind. I was angry with her and soon after ended the relationship.

While I was explaining all of this to my present friend I kept getting angry and speaking about my ex-friend in angry tones as I tried to explain the events of the friendship’s demise.

Later at home I was puzzled by so much anger over something that had happened so many years ago. I did forgive her, I just couldn’t trust her anymore. Why was I still angry at her? The answer came the next evening.

Norie, my black cat, rarely wants to sit in my lap. When she does, I try to be considerate and observe her signals that she is getting overstimulated.

So when I saw her switching tail, parted ears and staring eyes watching my hand, I stopped touching her. I thought I was being very careful by stopping my petting her for a while then when she relaxed petting her some more.

What I didn’t know then, that I finally understand now, was that my petting at intervals had a cumulative effect. Suddenly she lunged at my hand and nipped me enough to say, “STOP IT!”

In my wounded mind and ignorance I shoved her off of my lap and started yelling at her about how much I had done for her to give her a good life, and how I tried to respect her wishes and comfort zones and how much I loved her. In my anger I even called her a “dumb cat!” (I adore my cat and have never spoken ill of her like that.}

Then I started crying. I felt betrayed, hurt, and unloved. I didn’t deserve to be treated like that. I must say she barely broke the skin and could have bitten much harder. But at that time it was like a slap in the face to me. As I ranted at her I added my ex-friend’s name. I cried from the hurt and betrayal of them both.

Then I sobbed hysterically over the pain and “betrayal” of my husband. Even though he had physical problems and issues, he hurt me emotionally. That hurt has taken almost 10 years to free myself from! I didn’t deserve that pain.

Finally the sobbing subsided. I realized that I had stored up a lot of pain that I had not dealt with when it was caused. The pain had been hidden by the slow boil anger I had for all the pain. Then the anger had been avoided to prevent hurting someone else or because I didn’t want to feel anger or pain.

With my husband I had had to store a lot of anger and pain out of fear of making him more angry. The truth was I had been hurt emotionally so many times and sealed it away under a rising anger that all came tumbling out when Norie nipped my hand.

From this I learned: Get the anger out safely then deal with the pain. Don’t just stay angry and cover it up. Go running, beat a pillow, scream at the walls, whatever is nondestructive or hurtful to yourself or others. This may help ease the negative energy of anger which can cause damage to your body.

The following article is by Debbie Strong on the site: Everyday Health.

Recognize and figure out what you are feeling; feel the pain and recognize it separately from anger; realize the cause, and resolve whatever pain you feel. That is the way to be healed. Anger and rage that continues over the years will cause physical problems and can change your body, brain, even cellular activity for the worst.

Frequent or long term anger or rage can kill you. I know this. This is what precipitated a lot of my husband’s mental and physical health problems and finally killed him.

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