It’s painful. Not the kind of pain that you can put ice on. Not the kind of ache that Advil can cure. The kind of pain that comes with ultimate defeat. It is like being two steps away from the top of a mountain... And slipping.
It’s hard to catch your breath. It’s hard to understand exactly what is going on. You think of every scenario in which you could have prevented it. You beat yourself up over the what ifs. You feel yourself falling and uncertainty is the only thing at the bottom with arms wide open.
A misworded text, a forgotten hello, an unsettling look, a sigh that lasts too long; anything can trigger it... And when it happens-- your footing is gone, your breath is lost, and you're on your back free-falling.
You suddenly remember everything you’ve ever done wrong. You think of any reason that you could be penalized. You wonder how catastrophic this will be if it reaches its full potential.
Anger, to most, is just an irritating emotion.
Anger, to me, is kryptonite.
Angrophobia is a form of anxiety that causes an, often irrational, overbearing fear of anger.
You would assume this means that people with angrophobia just avoid conflict. But the truth of the matter is that it is more than a fear. It is a constant voice in the back of your mind repeating “don’t fuck up…” about 100 times a day. It causes hot flashes and shivering at the same time. It forces more tears out of your eyes than you thought possible. It chips away at your confidence and common sense. It forces you to walk on eggshells around everyone, even those you are most comfortable with.
Angrophobia is a feeling of total unknowingness. It makes you feel like something as simple as a disagreement, will end your relationship with someone all together. It causes you to be much too agreeable. It enables you to get sick over the thought of someone being upset with you.
In my case, it goes both ways. I am not only afraid of other people’s anger towards me, but my own towards others. I am worried that me being angry or upset with someone will cause them to be upset with me. It makes me believe that every minor dispute leads to loss of a friendship. It makes it seem like loosing a friendship is so unbearable, that it is the equivalent of loosing myself.
For me, the hardest part of living with angrophobia is the manipulation. People often take advantage of the fact I am scared of anger. Whether it be pretending to be angry at me until I do what they want or doing something to me just because they know I won’t be angry. There is a constant weight that I carry because of this anxiety and knowing people use it to their advantage only adds more to it.
Fear is an emotion much too obnoxious, and as much as we wish it wasn't, it can’t be easily stopped. There is no off switch when it comes to being afraid.
This article is not a “how to” on dealing with angrophobia, it is not how to treat it or how to act when you have it. This is simply my message for those that do not understand it. I am not asking you to avoid being angry. I am not asking you to mask your emotions.
All I ask of you is this:
-If you know that someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder, do not take advantage of that.
-If you think that someone might be worrying about something, attempt to ease their mind.
-Little things go a long way.
-No one with anxiety enjoys having it, so avoid discussing “why” they are anxious.
-You can never go wrong with kindness... Because being kind is often the cure to all things ailing us in this world.