Is Anger just Hurt in Disguise?



Anger rose in my chest.  A friend had posted something on Facebook that triggered my anger, and before I could think about it, I wanted to post something in retaliation.

I wasn’t just mad at her, there were other people posting similar things.

I thought of blog posts to write and even looked up the nursing code of ethics to post.  But thankfully, I didn’t post it.

Before I reacted, I sat back and examined my feelings and made an unexpected discovery.

I wasn’t angry, I was hurt.

And since it was true for me, I wondered, how many people if they examined their feelings would realize that they aren’t angry?  They are hurt or disappointed by what someone else has done.

The other person didn’t do what they would have done or they did do something that they wanted to do.  I asked myself this question,

“Is Anger Just Hurt In Disguise?”

The reason that I was hurt was because me and this friend had really clicked, I was able to share my dreams with her that I don’t share with just anyone.  I don’t have a lot of friends or people that I connect with so easily, and had just lost my closest friend a couple of months prior over something very similar… my hurt disguised as anger.

Looking back on losing my closest friend, I realized all the mistakes that I made.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

I posted on Facebook, how she was making me feel and unfriended her.  At the time, I needed a break from her.

I know everybody has the right to post on Facebook what they want to post.  I didn’t say her name in the post but she knew it was about her.  I even made the post public so that she would still be able to see it.

I didn’t tell her directly how she was making me feel because I was scared that she wouldn’t listen to me or care.  It was hard to love someone else when I didn’t love myself.

I feared that she wouldn’t consider how her comments and actions were impacting me.  I feared that she would just say that I was being too sensitive.

But having some time to process, and look at things from her perspective, I understand what she was trying to say, that I have dreams about the future and I should trust in them.  I shouldn’t worry.

She would tell me that I had spiritual gifts and that I should be at peace.  She didn’t know that at the time, I didn’t have the tools to make those dreams become reality.  She was my best friend and she didn’t know what I was going through.  Again, I didn’t know how to love anybody when I didn’t love myself at the time.

My eating disorder was consuming my life and I didn’t know how to stop it.  I trusted in the dreams that God had given me but I also knew that they couldn’t come true unless I changed some things.

Needless to say that when she saw the Facebook post, we had a big argument.  She decided to end the friendship.

Over the past 15 years of our friendship, we never really addressed our issues.  We would just sweep them under the rug and not deal with them.  That night everything just erupted.

I should have just talked to her about how she was making me feel.  I should not have posted it on Facebook.  I was definitely hurt and I hurt her too.

Hurt people hurt people.

The night we had the argument, I couldn’t process her feelings.  I had just done my first open mic performance and I was feeling great.  I think we both were not listening to each other.

I realized from that incident, that you have the right to post what you want to Facebook, but you have to except the consequences of what you post.  The post may make one of your friends think differently about you.  It may be the straw that breaks a friendship.

I had one of my best friends tell me that I had been petty to unfriend her on Facebook.  I agree.

Looking back on the recent incident, with my new friend, I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot.  I got some advice from my life coach and my best friends about the situation.  I took pieces from all of them.

And get this, rather than make a public post about it, I actually talked to her.

We were able to resolve our issues and remain friends.

I was nervous about talking to her.  I didn’t know what she was going to say or how she was going to react, so I took a baby step and texted her.  I’m not always comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations.  It’s easier to have uncomfortable conversations with my patients because they aren’t going to be in my life for a long time.  When they leave the hospital, I’m not going to have any contact with them.  I will see my family and friends again.  Part of my growing up means learning how to have uncomfortable conversations to build stronger relationships to people that I value.

I also think that it is good to examine your feelings before reacting.  If I had not stepped back and examined my feeling, I might have said something to hurt my friend and that is the last thing that I want to do.

I realized that, for me, it is easier to be angry.  When I’m angry, I blame other people for me being angry even though I chose to be angry.  No one can make me angry.  To tell someone that they hurt me, leaves me in a vulnerable place.  I have to open myself up to that person and they don’t have to respect my feelings.  That person could just tell me that I’m being too sensitive and dismiss my feelings.  I learned that being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing.  It helped me to keep a friend.

I realized that when I’m angry, I’m really just hurt.

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