I’ve said this many times and you will hear it from me again and again – the honour that I feel in the work that I do overwhelms me at times. Sharing other peoples’ struggles is a gracious and special space – I am eternally grateful that I have the opportunity to be part of lives of my clients.
But here is something completely different.
It is not unusual for my clients to tell me that they are introverts. And they do not say this with pride. They that they are too quiet and subdued and it is reflecting on their competence – they should be louder and more verbose.
I don’t often tell them this but I believe that this ‘quietness’ has a rather interesting source. I believe that being quiet is a way to hide overwhelming feelings of rage! Their reticence to partake openly and confidently is due to the fear of this rage coming to the surface and being expressed.
This decision to remain quiet is most appropriate. Although they may not be consciously aware of this process, the quietness is about controlling this rage.
What is strangely odd is that the feelings they experience (or avoid experiencing) are being evoked normally inconsequential events or people around them. Furthermore the rage has no rational connection to what is going on in front of them. It is prompted by unresolved feelings probably dating back to early childhood. Neatly tucked away in the persons psych, and the pricking and prodding ‘inexplicably’ brings these frightening feelings back to life!
It would be terrifying to allow these feelings to surface because they could burst out in a rush of shrieks and shouts and even violence – the risks are enormous.
Consequently they sit in these forums using all their available energy to suppress these feelings and pretend that these disruptive raging feelings are not going on.
In a nut shell: Their natural spontaneity is completely smothered.
The thing is the that these circumstances offer a wonderful opportunity to deal with these long-lost feelings.
I don’t really want to go into the deeper causes, but trapped anger (rage) is accumulated as a result of some sort of abuse experienced in the earlier years as a child. This abuse could be either emotional or physical or both. But the essential ingredient is that the person lands up holding powerful feelings of anger which they turn against themselves largely because they failed to stand up to the abuser. Instead of the anger expressing itself where it belongs, i.e. with abuser, it is turned inward – the person accuses themselves of being pathetic, weak , stupid, cowardly because they had allowed the abuser to get away with it!
The truth, however, is the exact opposite – the abuser is the one who is the weak, stupid and pathetic character. The abuser is the one needing to take responsibility for their excesses.
But that is not always possible and in any case the abuser might have passed on.
The issue is not about attacking the abuser – the issue is about releasing the trapped feelings of rage. It is these feelings that are getting in the way of the person’s spontaneous self, that delightful sparky person who has quick answers to sneaky questions and feels quite comfortable around other people.
So, how do they get rid of these feelings?
Well that’s a topic for another article!