Lately I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about anger. Anger is fear turned outward. Anger is dangerous. Anger is hurt. One friend said to me, just a month into this disaster, “Still in the anger stage, huh?” after I referred to X as a fucker in conversation.
All of this makes me feel like people think anger isn’t a real feeling. It’s a mask. It’s a cover. It’s less than. It’s dangerous. But the truth is, anger has gotten me through some really tough moments. Just today, I was feeling very sad, reliving the days of his leaving, the things he said, the ways he justified his abandonment with contradicting excuses that left me feeling like I was really the problem. The way he left me without a family of my own. I began to reread the email explanation he sent me after he left. It was so painful to read I began sobbing uncontrollably. He hurt me so much. He betrayed me. He lied and lied to me for years. It was so intense, I began to pace back and forth. I walked to the bedroom, sobbing. I fell to my knees and cried. I wailed and then screamed. Hunched over, I screamed some more and pounded my fists on the floor. I felt this jolt through me, like electricity. Then I stood up.
Before the screaming, I felt like I would feel the intensity of this sadness and hurt so acutely for the rest of eternity. After screaming, I felt release. I got up, went to my laptop, and began writing him a letter. It was the angriest letter I’ve written him since he left, and I’ve written quite a few. (I don’t send them. They are for me.) I couldn’t type fast enough. I pretend told him exactly what I thought of him, how horrible he was, how horribly he had treated me, and how disgusting it is that he left me for another woman. And when I was done, I felt better. I actually felt better.
I think it’s true that anger is hurt or fear turned outward. I was feeling hurt and fear before I got angry. I was feeling it so intensely I was in physical pain. But anger was my battle cry. It was the way I turned things around and fought back. The way I got myself back up. I don’t believe this anger is unhealthy or dangerous. It got me through a very difficult moment. While I’m sure that anger can be dangerous if it’s the default emotion or the armor used to not feel anything else, in my case, I believe my anger is justified and healthy. It’s part of the complex web of emotions I feel. And it is sometimes a tool to get me through the most painful moments of my days.