After my outburst of anger last week I realized this is my modus operandi.
I’d rather be mad than sad. Mad is a driver and I am comfortable being angry. It is what I know very well, since I operated from mad and I lived in mad in my house growing up, it is familiar and I know how to be mad.
Sad, on the other hand, is Eeyore to me. Dreary and depressive and I don’t particularly like being there. The flip side of the anger in my house was the message “if you’re going to cry, I’m going to give you something to cry about.” Therefore, I am uncomfortable being or feeling sadness or grief.
When I am hurting or grieving I default to mad. The anger is familiar and comfortable.
It happened last year when my dad died. I was angry for months. Once I moved through the anger, I could allow myself to be sad and cry over my dad’s death.
Anger is the protector of the hurt and sad. I did not know why this was happening for most of my life. I spent most of the early years into my 20’s stuffing the anger. Then, when I’d drink I’d experience outbursts of RAGE. When I stopped drinking, I had no idea I was so deeply angry and when I actually felt it, it terrified me that I could be that angry.
After 20+ years of sobriety, I still experience anger as my comfortable default emotion. It is much less often that I participate in this anger, but it still shows up to remind me I have more healing and transformation around this kind of pain.
This latest situation that occurred in my life revealed one more layer requiring deeper healing. When I had my raging outburst last Friday(the last blog), I finally clued in that there is grieving to do around the loss of a friendship. Once I had the ourburst of anger, it allowed the energy of anger to clear out and now I can feel the sadness I was avoiding.
Most of us have some default emotion or behavior we engage in to protect us from feeling the pain we are avoiding.
Many don’t know or realize this is what we are doing. It is simply how we are. When we take the time to examine what is behind the behavior (anger, for me) it is always something we don’t want or like to feel.
All of this progress is a process we actively practice and engage in, otherwise, we simply continue operating in ways that may not be very effective in our relationships.
Do you know what your M.O. is?
Please share in the comments.