Anger is our strangest human emotion. Next to jealousy, it is the most destructive. Now the part that is so strange is that anger pops up and replaces other more appropriate emotions at the most inopportune times.
For some people anger is the default emotion and they walk around all the time with a chip on their shoulder. Those people are easy to recognize.
But then there are people like me, people who don’t seem to be able to handle any other emotion so they allow anger to replace them. Now, I know I am not an outwardly angry person but that doesn’t mean something doesn’t lurk beneath the surface.
Recently I was hurt by something someone I thought was a friend said to me. My first reaction was to cry but as soon as that came I replaced it with anger. Now this wasn’t appropriate because they didn’t hurt me intentionally.
So why is it that I feel more comfortable dealing with anger than hurt?
Maybe the answer is because being hurt by someone implies that they mean enough to you to have the ability to hurt you. You can’t have your feelings hurt by someone you care nothing about- their comments wouldn’t affect you. I don’t want you to know just how much you hurt me because I don’t want you to know that you are that important to me.
Or possibly it is because to be hurt is to be vulnerable but anger feels like power. (I’m am not so naïve as to believe that anger actually is power it can just feel that way.)
Now because this person has forced me to admit that they mean enough to me to hurt me and they have made me feel vulnerable I have to do the only reasonable thing- cut them off. I’m sure it sounds insane but that’s the way I work.
It takes me a long time to get close to people and usually any indication that this has happened at all freaks me out. But the ultimate insult to someone as closed off as me is to open up and let someone in just to have them throw it all in your face by hurting you. It is like having all you worst assumptions come true and reinforce that you were right to be so closed off in the first place and I’ll be damned if I’ll let this happen again. So the exterior gets harder.
This happens enough and you end up like me; Very few close friends and almost no one allowed to be emotionally connected. It is lonely; especially when you are going through something and realize that you have no one to reach out to and no one who cares enough to either know that you are suffering or care enough to reach out to you.
I can’t be bitter about it; it’s my own fault.
Maybe that’s why it is so important to me to reach out to other people as much as I can without allowing them to reach back. I feel like I can give myself some reason to believe that I am a good and caring person. Am I really? I’m always the first one to make sure I show up when a friend needs support. I write the emails of encouragement and support. I go to the calling hours and funerals when my friends lose a loved one. I remember birthdays and anniversaries. I call, I write, I bring over the chicken soup, cheer, listen, bend over backwards to make sure they know that I am the one that will always be there for them. To let them down would be to worse thing I could ever do.
But why? I’m not that great of a person. It is just that I feel like I am not deserving of having someone to do those things for me because I am so closed off. So in order to not be a terrible person I have to be the one doing them.
But lately, after going through the hardest times in my life and not having these same people rally around me; I am getting bitter. After getting so depressed I wish I was dead and not having anyone even notice, I’m starting to reexamine this whole process.
So here I am almost 30 and any of my friends would say how great I am and how I am always the one they call when they need someone. They would say that I am always the one to show up and be supportive. I’m glad I can be that for them and I don’t ever plan to stop but I need some of that back.
I can’t pretend that I’m not human like they are. I can’t go on being the cheerful one, the one with no problems of my own. I can’t always be the stable one who will listen whenever you call.
My world came crashing down on me 3 times in as many years and who was there for me? Who even noticed? I lost my dad, I got very sick and my husband left me for another woman… who was there when I needed someone so much? There was only 1 friend that tried to be there through all of that and she and I hardly even speak anymore.
I guess this is the life I’ve carved out for myself… I deserve it. But it is so lonely and scary to be the strong one all the time.