Anger became my friend when I was 15, it was clever and played a long game. It pushed me forward when my hormones were wild, my friends were not true to me, my boyfriend belittled me and my teachers told me I was not smart enough or talented enough for the things I wanted. My anger fired me up enough to try to prove them all wrong.
Anger was my friend when I was 21, when I was studying for my masters and suffering from random and prolonged vertigo attacks and rapidly loosing weight. It gave me fire and made me unwilling to be beaten by my body's weakness. It kept me studying when I could barely see, kept me socialising when I really just wanted to curl up in a darkened room. It made me eat when I could barely face it.
Anger was my friend at 23, when I was starting out in my career in conservation and fighting to make my way in a male dominated industry and still struggling with my health. It kept me working in the cold and when I was exhausted and could barely stand.
Anger kept me going and it kept me lonely. None of the friends I had in those periods in my life stuck around. I have friends from early childhood and friends from my thirties but a big gap in between. Anger, it turns out, is not a good way to make friends or keep them. I was cold, hard, prickly and driven. I knew my loneliness was my own fault but I thought that since no one else was getting hurt it didn't matter.
Now I have a long term partner and two children and my anger definitely is not my friend. Every angry outburst hurts me, hurts the man I love and confuses my kids. But I haven't found a way to stop it; I decide to stop, I am determined to find a better way, but the angry words rush out before I can remember that promise and I can never take them back.
I don't think I know what I am if I am not angry, I've been this way so long. I can't remember how to be gentle and soft but I want to be those things again. The sad thing is that all those years I have lost to anger, and all those friendships too, and my inability to change as quickly as I would like all just make me angry too. Angry at myself and my circumstances and then the whole cycle begins all over again.
What coping mechanisms have seemed helpful to you until it became obvious that they hurt more than they helped?
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