Life’s Great Debate: Should I Let Them Know I am Angry?

Fear of Anger

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou

Anger – that emotion elicits more fear in me than almost anything else in the world. Showing it to others terrifies me. Even admitting it to myself is a struggle.

Letting someone know that I am angry – perhaps even furious – with them…that is that most horrifying of all.

Bottled up angry has welled up inside me for years. Carrying it around only makes me bitter and hardened. Yet, I am at a loss of how to deal with this intense emotion.

Many of the people who hurt me have no idea that they did so or of the impact that they made. The man who belittled me for sending him a friend request on Facebook when I was struggling to understand the social norms of that site, the girls in high school who smirked at everything I said and the outfits that I wore, the boys who teased me with fake flirtation and then crude jokes – none of them understand the scars that are left on my heart and seared into my brain.

How do I confront them? Doing so seems trivial and reactive. And what would their response be? Likely, they would answer with surprise and a touch of disdain or disbelief that would only harm me more.

So I go back to the beginning, not knowing how to heal. These memories can be worked through in therapy, and I can try to forgive those who injured me. Yet, releasing the memories is something that I have never been able to accomplish.

That brings up another situation – what if the person that I am angry at is still in my life? What should my response be then?

Every time that I look at them, frustration builds up until I want to scream. Pain, deep-rooted pain that probably is not all because of them, surges through me. My attempts to reach out in kindness or be a bright light only seem to make them close me off more. That would not even be so hard, but they still manage to prick at my heart with a strangely kind remark or biting comment with a quick look in my direction.

Well, that is how I feel was some people I am angry at right now. When I read my words, they seem so cruel and unkind. This angry is not a beautiful or happy thing. As hard as I try, I cannot force myself to have graceful, sweet anger. There apparently is no such thing, or I am just not a good enough person to achieve it.

This is a debate that I believe many people have: to confront others about their feelings or remain silent. For years, I have opted for keeping my mouth shut. Yet, the thread that binds my lips together is beginning to fray as it is softened by the tears that no one sees.

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7 thoughts on “Life’s Great Debate: Should I Let Them Know I am Angry?

  1. mewhoami says:

    I used to hold everything in. Finally I realized that I was making myself miserable by doing so. Sure, there are some things that never need to be said because of the hurt they could cause. But, if you’re hurting then I believe it’s a good idea to let the person know. Forgiveness is key, but not for them – for you. The benefit of forgiving falls on the forgiver, not the forgiven. Discuss it, let them know, try to reconcile if possible, but at least no matter what you can know that you did your part. The rest is on them. Then you can forgive, again not for them, but for you.

  2. 80smetalman says:

    Been here as well Anna and I have had a lot more time to let anger build up in me. However, I feel a lot better writing about it.

  3. April says:

    I’ve held a lot of anger toward others, but most of all, anger toward myself for my tolerance of allowing them to hurt me. Letting it go has taken quite some time, but I have learned to quit letting them have power over my emotions. I recognize I have anger because they hurt me, but it is forgiving myself for my reaction that seems to help. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but the hurt that may have been caused in the past only gave me fuel to continue to stay stuck in a self-defeating/self-hating state. I can’t change what happened. What happened has lessons to be learned–some of my lessons were that I’m stronger than I thought, and their opinion(s) don’t have to be a reflection of who I am today.

    As far as facing the person who hurt you on a regular basis—I’m not sure. I would probably talk to the person if I thought it would be helpful. If it were a case of abuse, whether physical or mental, then talking to them may make you feel worse because I don’t think people like that care, or understand that they are abusive. On the other hand, maybe what they did was not intentional, and they haven’t a clue that they were hurtful.

    I know one thing…those mean girls in school that picked on me? They forgot about me and have “amnesia” when it comes to how they treated me. I hate to be bossy, but don’t let them have any more control.

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