Yesterday I did something which was beyond my normal character – I tweeted an angry tweet and referenced the organisation I am angry with. I then followed this tweet up with another, again referencing the organisation and made an unsubstantiated accusation they were discriminating against me on the grounds of my mental health struggles.
It is not in my character to seemingly rashly lash out. Invariably when I think I have done so; I feel considerable guilt and either attempt to make amends with mollifying follow up tweets with asinine photos, or remove the offending tweet altogether (though I realise it is never truly deleted).
This time though, my anger is tangible, it comes from deep within me, and I feel no guilt whatsoever for lashing out yesterday. This is telling for me.
In general, the responses I received from my wonderfully caring group of Twitter followers was as gratefully expected; warm, supportive and shared in my indignation. There were a few folks while sympathising with me, cautioned a more reasoned response on my part, inviting me to consider not making allegations before clarifying the situation with the organisation’s HR department. At least, this is how I’ve interpreted those responses. I understand and appreciate their concern. After all, I have more than once offered similar advice to others who have tweeted their ire when it seemed prudence would have been a more beneficial consideration.
The fact I am feeling no shame or guilt with the two tweets tells me my anger is authentic.
As I understand it, we have four core emotions; anger, sadness, fear, and joy. It’s depressing, but from an early age, many of us learn to not express those four emotions in their authentic fullness. As children we learn to hold our anger in, to not cry when sad, to not be fearful when frightened and with joy, to curtail our exuberance. These traits of adaptation towards our innate emotions are carried forward into our adult lives. It is said with considerable authority, that people suffering from depression do so because of locked in anger, anger which is turned inwards against the ‘self’ rather than being expressed authentically, in the moment, when it occurs.
I was angry yesterday and I am still. I expressed my anger through my Twitter feed and in doing so, I think I have challenged the perceptions some have about how we express anger and where it is appropriate to do so.
Whether Twitter is an OK forum for me to express my anger or not, isn’t the issue for me right now. The fact I think I have been challenged for being angry, is. I am ‘rubber-banded’ right back to my early years in my life when I was learning to hold my anger in, not to show it, not to be ungrateful, to always consider the other, to be meek and submissive.
Normally, I would be meek, expressing a measured response, where it’s clear I’m accounting for the other in the dispute. Therefore, because of this, I feel guilty if ever I believe I have rashly lashed out on my social media. I’m more than ready to account for my part in a dispute and to apologise with genuine remorse if I understand my error in judgement or assumption. This is true for this incident now, if this is the case. However, I’m writing about this because my interest has been piqued by two things. The first, the genuine depth of anger I am feeling and my willingness to express it, and second, how in doing so, I have elicited cautionary responses from a few folks. I once again find myself fascinated by the human condition and how best we live with our authentic selves and express our authenticity.
I remember in one of my psychotherapy groups someone saying – to be human, it’s necessary to get messy sometimes.