I don't really know what it's like to be angry. I'm slow to anger, to begin with, and I never learned how to express it without it being followed by guilt. I always regret the things I say and do in anger. Like so many, anger makes me cruel, petty, and vindictive. I don't like who I am when I'm angry, and I've convinced myself that anger, like hate, is a useless feeling. A remnant of our days of daily life-and-death survival situations. That surge of adrenaline from anger could save your life if you're backed into a corner and the only thing between you and a massive grizzly is a wooden spear.
I'm sure I'm butchering the timeline of human evolution, but you get my meaning.
So, I've become an expert at swallowing my anger, but that's not the healthiest option either. I suffer in silence and don't express how upset something is making me. When I try to communicate what I'm feeling without lashing out, it's as if I'm not taken seriously when I do. As if the lack of anger makes my feelings less valid. As if not being angry is a sign that I'm not actually as upset as I say I am.
My therapist talked to me about assertive communication; expressing your frustrations and needs in a firm but respectful fashion. I'm not very good at it. I gaslight myself into believing that I'm overreacting, or that I'm in the wrong. When I do try to defend myself, if the other person has their guard up their position starts to make sense and then I feel foolish for having gotten upset in the first place. It's like going into court certain that you did nothing wrong only to be proven otherwise by the opposing side, and now you're assuming the guilty verdict of a crime you know you didn't commit. Who would shoot themselves in the foot like that?
I have second-guessed myself and my feelings so many times. Do I want something because I want it or because someone has convinced me that I'm supposed to want it? Am I actually angry, or am I just taking things too personally? Are my triggers really that serious, or am I just too sensitive? Was my logic as sound as I first believed, or am I just not as smart as I think I am? Do I really consider that person a friend, or am I just too polite to say otherwise?
One can go mad with these thoughts constantly swirling in their mind. The truth is I'm terribly afraid of messing up. Of saying or doing the wrong thing. Of hurting someone's feelings. So I stay silent. And truthfully, I stay angry. I can only express my anger to someone who's not currently the cause of my anger, which is hardly fair to the innocent party.
And many times, those bottled-up feelings will rise to the surface and come out as tears. I make myself miserable trying to do right by everyone else. I am forever crying at how something someone said or did made me angry yet I feel powerless to do anything about it. Have you ever angry cried? It's a bizarre phenomenon, to say the least.
That's how you end up being a welcome mat, a dumping ground for everyone else's dirty shoes with no room for your own. And you're supposed to be okay with that because you're not an angry person.
(Sidebar: My father said that to me once. "Your mother and I didn't raise you to be an angry person." That's true. Anger is not a feeling I saw often in my parents growing up. I'm sure they felt it, but like me, they must have hid it well. I guess I get it from them? I had asked him if that meant I wasn't allowed to feel anger. He didn't have an answer for me.)
Then you get destructive and realize that the person you're the angriest at... is yourself. You're mad at yourself for being a pushover, for being too nice, for caring too much, for letting others take advantage of you and using your compassion to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings and faults.
Is this how people destroy the good in others? By convincing everyone else that the only way to survive and persevere is to be as shitty and miserable as they are, and then creating a toxic Enviornment that ensures that you have no other choice?
If so, maybe anger isn't itself the problem.
Maybe we just need to redirect it to the right place. Maybe anger wouldn't be so useless if it was channeled safely away from people and into more constructive actions, like a red-hot lightning rod protecting your home in the middle of violent storm.