… and that’s scary as hell.
Showing People who you really Are
For the record, I’m not a young, blond woman, but I find that image to be a great fit for this post.
Let’s set the stage here for a moment first:
This blog is about the “Fear of Anger” simply because I have that affliction. And I assume that if you are reading this then either you have it to some degree as well, or you can relate with what the topic of this post and how it fits into fear, anger and anxiety.
So, I have a fear of anger and because of that I shut mine down, and I manage other people’s by becoming a pleaser, or a co-dependent mess, so that they don’t get angry. It’s a lot of work and draining coping mechanism. Most of the time I’m not aware of fit as it’s usually on autopilot.
Another way of saying the above is that I don a nice guy mask and ‘become’ that guy. I am seen as a nice guy to everyone around me and even to myself as well since I have been wearing the mask for so long. It’s only recently that I’ve become aware that I am not who I think I am.
I am a good guy, but not a nice guy. I am a normal person that wears a mask and so become someone else. Because of that I never really get to know who I am authentically, and neither does anyone else.
I’d love to get to know myself and then just ‘be’ myself, but I’m afraid to. I am afraid of what will happen if I take off my nice guy mask and become a normal person with their own opinions and views, doing what they want to do, and asserting themselves.
That comes at a cost.
Anxiety and Threat
The cost is that people won’t like me as much, and won’t think I’m a ‘nice guy’ anymore.
What’s the problem with that you say?
On paper it’s fine, but for people who are afraid of anger, the problem is that by being authentic they are removing one of their main tools to regulate their anxiety. The nice guy mask or co-dependent self is a tool to stop other people’s anger in it’s tracks (often before it begins to germinate in their minds) and so we avoid what we believe to be a threat.
The anxiety is too much to bear and so we cling to our older patterns, pleasing and making sure others are happy.
But there’s a cost to that too.
Hiding myself means that “I” don’t really exist, and I really want to exist!
Right now my persona or my fake personality exists, but not me. And it’s really, really important to me that before I die that I actually exist. For some it’s not that important, they just want to keep their heads down until they hit the finish line and then rest.
I don’t want to. I NEED to exist. But that means facing the fear that is called, ‘anger’ as often as I can.
It means getting a new face, sort of like a resting bitch face but for men. People ‘seeing’ me, how I am, not looking smiley and happy all the time but pissed off sometimes and just neutral every now and then. Taking up space and being immersed in an emotional field of what I want, not scanning for what others are doing/thinking/feeling.
That’s scary, because then people won’t like me anymore. Which is another way of saying they will be angry with me, which will stress me out 24/7 because I have that pesky issue, the one this blog is all about.
So either I keep my head down and my mask on and feel the strain of resentment all my life of not really every saying what i want to say and doing what i want to do …
I begin to be more authentic and face the wrath of the world.
Not a fun choice.
I’m slowly choosing the latter a bit at a time. Small steps each day. It sucks to be uncomfortable and feel alone as the world starts to pull away. But it’s also meaningful. A journey to take that’s hard but deep down you know it’s the right path and the rewards come much later on.
Speaking of Loneliness
Being a fake person (wearing the mask) is extremely isolating.
I realized not long ago that I have been lonely most of my life. Even (or especially) amongst a crowd. I am a sociable person who feels lonely even if I am around lots of people and talk to everyone I see.
That’s because “I’m” not talking to everyone, my nice guy mask is. I haven’t spoken to very many people authentically aside from a therapist, and even then I hid a lot, wanting to be co-dependent with them.
I hate the loneliness. It’s another way of feeling like I don’t exist, and it hurts.
The pain of this loneliness and the strain of the resentment of not expressing my authentic self, is bad enough now and is slowly moving me in the direction of taking off that mask.
That pain is tipping the scales so to speak, so that the misery of not being myself is outweighing the suffering that the anxiety would bring if I took the mask off.
It’s unfortunately not been a linear process. I push a bit then retreat, then push a bit more and even take 2 steps back. But overall, I move forward.
It’s a long process but I have no choice. I HAVE to exist.
*** If you’re going through something similar then I hope this helped. If you are, I invite you to share it with me and everybody else who visits here by typing it up and emailing it over. I’ll post it on the blog which would benefit everyone; you for writing it up – which gets you in touch with your unconscious more and with this issue of yours specifically – and us for relating with it and perhaps seeing our own issue from a different angle
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