I’ll admit, it’s hard to write something after getting so many comments on the last post. It scares some of the young ones to realise that people actually read what is written here. It’s even scarier for them when we state an opinion and open ourselves up to negative comments. Part of me wants to write further posts on similar topics because they see it as helping people – something that feeds our self-worth; but there is a fear that if we did this, we’d lose sight of why we write this blog… which is to help us work through the issues we’re facing. So, this entry is about finding our way back to that space. In many ways, the previous post is an indication that we’re trying to avoid the issues… a great diversionary tactic if ever there was one. It’s hard to work through what is really going on in my head at the moment, it’s all very confused, messy and hidden deep beneath layers of dissociation. But a clue comes from Liz saying in three of my previous sessions… “we keep on coming back to your anger”.
Anger… Hmmm, so she means I have anger? But I don’t “do” anger… Yes, I get frustrated sometimes, and confused. But I don’t get angry, do I? Angry is that scary silence when everyone walks around you on egg-shells… Angry is that violent rage of a raised hand, belt, spoon… Angry is sex… “I” don’t do any of that!
That is what my daily functioning self can say easily… “I” have no concept that I experience anger. Then there are little reality checks… I know that some of my self-injury is motivated by anger or angry ones; therapists have said to me “you left angry last week”; and my cynical friend at work has commented on my anger in a teasing way. So, apparently I do get angry, I’m just not in touch with it. Sometimes I can glimpse the anger… if there is a dissociative switch from an angry one, they often leave the body feeling tight and wound up. That feeling is quickly stamped down and I can ignore that it ever happened; but it’s there, ever so fleetingly.
Another clue to my anger came earlier this week. I wasn’t able to sleep and was looking at the 25 popular YouTube clips on the iPhone; one of the clips that came up, was the “Angry Dance” from the film Billy Elliot.
I immediately recognised some of the feelings of frustration that Billy was experiencing… having all these conflicting inputs and emotions, while feeling powerless to stop it. That powerlessness then building into feelings of anger with the world around him and himself. In Billy’s case, he released that emotion in dance… for us, it’s bottle up and buried within the dissociative system. I know this intellectually, but I’m not sure I understand it on a functional level… or, more accurately, I don’t know how to deal with those feelings in a more appropriate way.
My knowledge of therapeutic techniques would indicate that I need to work on identifying, experiencing and appropriately managing my anger. That’s all well and good, but as my anger is so fleetingly realised within my normal functional states, I’m not sure how to proceed in understanding it. I know that Liz has talked to angry ones and unsuccessfully tried to stop some of the mild self injury (scratching, picking etc) that happens in session when they are present. She also seems to be actively poking at me and trying to encourage the anger – she was thrilled the other week when I showed frustration at her via a text message. She wanted to explore my reaction and find out what happened, she saw the event as important… I saw it as Liz being an idiot and stating the obvious, so I snapped a curt response back to her and ignored that she existed. I’ve noticed more and more lately that I’m losing all sense of Liz between sessions, and I wonder if this is because she wants to explore my anger. It’s like my system is protecting me from the anger and the scariness of exploring it by shutting down everything that could prod at it. I think this is also the reason why there are threats and desires to quit therapy… Liz has become a huge threat to parts of the system that don’t want those emotions looked at.
Anger has always terrified me, I know that much. Nothing will cause a dissociative switch quicker than someone showing anger. I know I need to explore and work my anger issues through, I just wish it didn’t seem so daunting and scary…