Real TALK is our series of articles from fellow survivors of sexual abuse / assault covering topics that might be helpful to you. What we aim for here isn’t perfection but some good practical advice based on real experiences here in Hong Kong. If you have suggestion to add, please email us on email@example.com.
I don’t know how many times I’ve told her that I think she’s frustrated and angry with me.
For not making progress, for going backwards in my progress, for talking back and asking questions, for me just being a terrible human.
And I don’t know how many times she’s told me that she’s not angry or frustrated with me.
So I asked her, “Would you tell me if you’re actually angry or frustrated with me?”
She said yes, and she explained how and in what way she would express that to me.
Secretly I thought: Maybe she’s not telling the truth by saying that she would tell me? But how would I know either way?
She asked if she looks angry or frustrated. Or if I can even tell just by the top half of her face since we’re all wearing masks these days?
Most of the time, I don’t think she looks anything like angry. But I think I’m just waiting for her to get angry with me. Like it’s BOUND TO HAPPEN. Because everyone else eventually does. Everyone else eventually gets frustrated with the way I’m unable to communicate how I feel; they get angry at how I shut people out; they get frustrated when they can’t understand what’s going on with me, what I’m thinking, and why I’m upset. Then I get angry that “nobody understands me” (haha!). Eventually, everyone leaves.
And of course, being a psychologist, she cocks her head and asks, “Who’s everyone?”
Perhaps it is my own anger that I’m projecting onto other people. Are they angry? Or am I angry? What am I angry at?
It’s a myth that anger needs to be released. Nor should it be avoided. Sometimes I find myself swimming in a pool of anger unable to locate the ladder to climb out. Can I spread my arms out wide and float on top of it? Keep my face out. Relax my body. Breathe.