“Don’t worry about it so much, you’re overthinking it.”
“Don’t be so sensitive.”
“Don’t be crazy.”
“Why so hostile?”
“Don’t take it so personally”
“Don’t be so dramatic.”
We hear it all the time. Women are often called the more dramatic gender, the more sensitive. Men, however, face the opposite problem. Often being told that the only emotion they are justified in feeling is anger, and are encouraged to maintain a stoic silence, at other times. Which is funny because in all the emotions women are allowed to feel, anger doesn’t make the cut. Women expressing more happiness and sadness, and men expressing more anger, could reflect social conventions about gender-appropriate behaviour.
“Anger makes women undesirable”
Women are taught that anger is unattractive, it is undesirable. We’re also taught that relying on someone for emotional support makes one irrational, clingy, oversensitive and the all purpose argument ender- crazy.
We’re taught that to be emotional is to be feminine. “Softer” emotions, such as empathy, fear and sadness, are encouraged in women. Anger is discouraged. In other words, women feel the social obligation to repress their anger in order to be perceived as likeable, to protect themselves.
So what happens when we aren’t allowed to express ourselves the way we want? When we’re denied the right to feel our full span of emotions or ridiculed for doing the same?
When we deny ourselves the right to experience the spectrum of emotions the human experience entails, we deny ourselves pain, joy, sadness and everything else in the middle.
Anger is neutral
The thing is, anger is actually very important, and it has always been – evolutionary speaking. Anger is usually a warning system of something worse, often physical aggression. Another important role of anger is to act as an alarm bell when your boundaries, or your safety, is being compromised. If your brain is feeling under threat, especially if the option of flight is not available, anger becomes a very powerful tool.
In other words, anger is not bad, nor good, it’s completely neutral. It’s just another tool that our brain has developed over thousands of years to keep us alive.
Suppressing an emotion is the best way to make it stronger. Just like an alarm system in your house, we should be able to listen to it, see what the fuss is all about and then take a call accordingly.
Would you like to learn how to do it?
It’s a subject that I am passionate about. I used to be completely incapable of expressing my anger. When I became angry, anger would feel as though it was shutting down my entire system and the only thing I could do was cry. But this is no longer the case. I now know how, when and why to express emotions like anger and this has really helped me in my relationship with myself and with others around me.
We can work towards it together! You can book a discovery session (free) here.