Staring at a blank page, the title labelled ‘anger’. My understanding of the emotion is naive relative to others, other emotions and other people experiencing them. I’ve known sharp fiery rage on behalf of myself and others— born in suffering of various abuses, indignities, disrespect. I’ve also repressed anger.
When enduring crisis, repression is a survival skill if often an unproductive one. Refusing your right to feel is a dangerous disprivilege towards yourself and everyone around you. Numbness can’t adequately replace any given emotion.
My mind rebels from thinking about anger and always has.
As a child I frequently had meltdowns and panic attacks, autistic people can struggle with frustration especially when overwhelmed or overloaded and I was coping alone with severe traumas. Coupled with betrayal due to how people in my life reacted to and treated me, it was always easier to become repressed and self isolating. Instead of expressing my pain and anger, I became a cranky closed off person.
Further into my young adulthood I began learning about myself and my emotions. Dams broke, sorrow and rage spilled forth. All the pain I’d kept inside was a natural disaster, obliterating any security or structure I had. It was for the best, but my natural proclivities for dissociation and repression still remain a precarious threat. The process of unravelling, reorganizing myself was tedious and is ongoing.
Life will continue to throw new obstacles in the way of a traumatized autistic person’s journey to peace. Our world has been designed by humans, mostly rich white men, to be hostile and degrading. Capitalism and selfish, entitled perceptions, these create oppressive environments and crises in every life.
Anger will always be something that I must process, accept, and transform into constructive energy so that the anger may healthily dissipate and have meant something. My anger towards the willful ignorance of people who hurt me or allow others to hurt me has in the past been for nothing. I avoided confrontation and allowed my bludgeoned emotions to fester or fade. Instead of expressing my pain with communication, I allowed the suffering to last until I could remove myself from the situation. Problems with my home life, my highschool relationships, and then the demeaning, humiliating, and dehumanizing events of my early young adulthood all built sadness and anger that I refused to acknowledge until it was unavoidable.
You don’t forget, but you can forgive. You can forgive yourself for still struggling, forgive people whose actions you now better understand, forgive contexts and cosmic catastrophes. “What they did hurt me, and my feelings are valid. I am angry, sad, and I understand why I feel this way.”
There are many things impossible to understand, I’ve written of the circuitous trauma in trying desperately to truly comprehend all aspects of what’s happened to us in Losing the Present in Investigating Our Past. It can be unreasonable to scope out every angle to achieve understanding. That energy is best left for understanding yourself.
You can accept and even forgive the reasons why you’ve been hurt without invalidating your pain. With or without forgiveness, or apologies, or any combination of the previous, you can learn about yourself through the acceptance of anger.
Living a life repressing emotions punctuated by cataclysm is a slippery slope. Damaging to you and the people you love, it suppresses honesty and openness, facilitating toxic behaviours. Repression fuels an inability to cope with extreme emotions and the possibility for abusive behaviours. We must process our feelings and build from them, not let them tear us apart after lengths of ignoring them.