I really sympathize with your difficult situation. I find work incredibly stressful, but it's not nearly as bad as what it sounds like you're dealing with. I'm sure you've already thought of this, but I wondered as I read, can you work anywhere else? Don't subject yourself to people treating you like crap if you don't have to. The reason that you are angry is that you are being treated poorly; maybe your heart and body don't want you to stay there and take it if you don't have to and so you are having trouble resigning yourself.

I think that it's really insightful when you mention that the problem is that you can't show anger because it shows weakness. I HATE the fact that people have the power to make me angry. It makes me feel like they have the ability to control or manipulate me. In the same way I hate when women are attractive to me, in part because I was abused by women. I can't simply decide to ignore them or not be attracted to them, and even though like anger it's a natural reaction it makes me feel controlled. This is part of the general PTSD complex, if you haven't thought about the possibility that you have that (of course maybe you have). People associate PTSD with raging, but avoidance is also a way that it manifests.

My situation is a bit different than yours, in that I am wired to repress by often simply not really feeling the anger in the first place, rather than by feeling it and holding it in as you seem to experience. Then if I don't address the anger that's under the surface I get sick with migraines and other things. Some of this may not be relevant to you, but in case it is I wanted to note what I have learned.

When you're someone who has the anger driven down deep, as I was and still am to a large degree, sometimes there are even physical reactions that will interfere with your ability to get angry.

I try to vent my anger to my wife as a healthy way of getting rid of it. She has noticed that when I have something to be angry about, I fall asleep. In some cases all she has to do is mention a certain person or thing that was done to me, and all of a sudden I'm out on the couch or what have you. From my end the sensation is one almost of being drugged. I'm overcome with drowsiness with shocking quickness. I tend to come out of those sleeps with a migraine, and I've learned that when I have a migraine it always means that I'm repressing anger about something.

As a child I'm sure that it was dangerous for me to be angry because it could have led me to do or say things that my abusers would have retaliated for. So instead I would go to sleep to protect myself. Now as a grown person the habit is so strong...

Anyway, I find that myself sometimes I dislike when people (with good intentions) tell me "Express your anger!", because it's so hard to get in touch with it. I can't imagine screaming or using a punching bag or those sorts of things. If someone tried to have me do that I think that what I would experience is an eerie calm, rather than anger, which I'm sure is again a defense.

The way I am finding around that is to have my wife point out for me what I should be angry about and why. That will sometimes get me started.

If not, another thing that's sometimes shockingly helpful is this. When I say something like, "I just don't feel angry, I don't know why I (have this migrane, can't relax, whatever)", my wife lightheartedly says something like, "That's a bunch of crap, you're completely enraged, you just can't admit it." Weirdly enough, this will often make me laugh hysterically, which is the defense releasing and the proof that she's right, and then after that the anger will start to come out. It works for repressing things other than anger too.

All the best,

Ninja_Turtle


Edited by Ninja_Turtle (01/21/13 06:21 PM)