Monday, August 25, 2014

No Concern Trolling About Anger, Please

If you're not familiar with the term, "concern trolling" refers to people who try to distract from the real issue or take heat off themselves by expressing pretend concern about something related to the topic being discussed. For example, in discussions about fat hatred, there's almost no chance that there won't be someone jumping in to say that they're just "concerned" about the health of fat people. This can easily derail the conversation as people try to explain that fat =/= unhealthy when the better answer is "someone else's health is none of your business and you don't really care now go away."

In a similar vein, I often get people pretending to be concerned about my health when I talk about my anger and how liberating and wonderful it is. They act like they worry that my anger will become bitterness and/or hatred (damnit Yoda) and it will make me unhappy and/or unhealthy.

Lucky for them, I can speak from experience about how wrong they are. Then I can just link them to this instead of wasting time explaining their wrongness to each wrong individual.

Yes, anger can affect your health. It can turn into bitterness. It increases your risk of heart problems, causes tension, can lead to depression, etc. But this is only if the anger is held in or not properly expressed. When I was a kid, I was inundated with messages that I shouldn't be angry. Expressions of anger were laughed at, discouraged, called irrational or wrong, or punished. My reaction to this was to hide my anger. I held it in and kept it bubbling under the surface. It got to the point that I would shut down my emotions entirely rather than feel my anger, no matter how justified it was.

This learned behavior has caused several health problems. Tension headaches. Insomnia. Depression. Anxiety. Fatigue. Migraines. Teeth grinding. Back pain. I'm sure there's more to come. I fight against the instinct to shut down my emotions every day. It's a constant struggle. I really, really wish that I had been taught just how healthy it is to allow yourself to be angry and to express it in the right ways.

Knowing how much better off I would have been if I'd been allowed to express my anger from the start is why I react so strongly to people who tone police and tell me that anger is wrong. If you don't feel anger over an issue, it's not because you're somehow a better or more enlightened person. It's probably because of your privilege. And if you were really "enlightened," you would know better than to tell others how to feel.

Stop fucking telling people that their anger is wrong. You're only hurting them.

No comments: