Story Featured on The Mighty
Have you ever gone from zero to nuclear in a matter of seconds?
For people with BPD, our mood swings are so intense they make us act and do some crazy things. The borderline rage is terrifying. One moment I can be dancing and singing then a second later I don’t recognise myself. I am throwing furniture, punching walls, self-harming and destroying objects of mine. I lose all sight of my surroundings and all I see are my hands as my coping mechanism to make this anger loop stop.
Why do we act like this?
As I am learning this anger is so complex. But for many of us our anger stems from childhood abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, emotional), neglect and rejection. Possibly living in an ever-changing, unpredictable environment where a child does not know how to survive. We store all these memories and find other ways to survive. So although we look angry as adults or children, anger is the tip of the iceberg. Anger is sometimes the easier emotion to feel rather than the hidden emotions we feel – the emptiness, chronic pain, self-loathing, confusion and guilt. Something I’ve recently discovered.
This year has been the year of anger for me. And I am no longer ashamed to talk about this.
For years I internalised my anger, pushing it aside until this year the arrow of rejection pierced my heart and shield and out came years of hurt.
Situations, conversations and emotions replayed in my head (rumination), even my dreams were not safe. I felt like the only way to stop the circuit was to divert my attention and feel the pain through self-harm.
So these few months I have been exploring how to manage my anger before I rage. I’ve realised the trick is to do these activities daily. Not just when I’m upset or becoming angry, otherwise their effectiveness is not strong enough. Instead, anger management is becoming a daily practice.
My Anger Management list includes:
- An anger board, where I write and draw everything that I can do to express my anger
- Aussie hip hop music. I very rarely swear. But as I’ve recently discovered swearing has been so releasing for me. My favourite is music that expresses difficult emotions through poetry and rap.
- Mindfulness Pilates, I’m starting to recognise where I am holding tension in my body so I can release it through stretching.
- Pinterest boards that have quotes about abuse and pain.
- Honesty with others. Sharing with my friends about my anger. Their love has been pivotal in my self-acceptance.
- Involving myself with craft activities that require deep pressure of the hands, such as jewellery making.
- Boxing and weight training, and
- Verbalising such as “I am feeling angry” instead of leaving it unspoken to harbour.
There is no “right or wrong” way to deal with anger. It is what works for you or your clients. These are just some of my strategies. Keep posted to learn about how these help me in greater detail.