Wednesday Jul 6, 2022
Wednesday Jul 6, 2022

Deeper look into women’s aggression

2021 Feb 06, 13:00, Kathmandu
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Let's have a short look at ‘what is anger?'

Modern psychologists view anger as a normal, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. It is important to realize that anger doesn’t hurt others. 

What’s damaging is how rage gets expressed. Anger that’s expressed as physical or verbal abuse leaves emotional scars. That kind of behaviour needs professional help. However, there is another way most women tend to use; internalizing aggression. In most communities, Anger expressed by women is an unhealthy, unlucky, negative emotion, which is not allowed to express or worse; feel.

Men are privileged to feel anger. It is acceptable to rage and acts on anger. “Form of anger is deemed masculine,” says Cognitive Behavioral therapist Chham Gurung. We know women as less aggressive that doesn’t mean they don’t feel anger. According to a study, women feel the same amount of anger as men. Most men tend to outrage, whereas most women internalize their aggression. We all know the consequences of unexpressed emotion; depression, anxiety.

 In Nepal, The no. of women suffering from depression is more than men. But what about the in-between phase, the things that lead to extreme things like this? 

Expressing anger is a learnt behaviour, we learn to repress our anger from our mothers, aunties, friends, media, and what we have been constantly fed; quiet girls are known to be good girls. Because of this concept anger builds to shame in women. Women are privileged to cry, express their emotions more than men. However, when it comes to anger, most women don’t even know they are internalizing anger and how it is shaping them. Women who tend to internalize anger do not even recognize that they are feeling anger.

Chham says “Usually, Women keep anger in a different box, it takes different forms; frustration, irritation, distance, ignoring, nagging, it also comes off as gossiping, mood swings, upset over little things criticizing others’ appearance or personality.”  Female aggression is mostly indirect and a rare form of expression. 

Knowing to identify, express and harness can prevent from repressing it. It has positive consequences as well anger can also lead us to action. Frustration that’s shared non-violently can foster intimacy and help repair relationships.

So, how do we express our anger in healthy ways? We cannot express the feeling we don't even know we feel, that requires us to be in touch with ourselves. Every emotion has its source “Most of the time the root of anger is pain” says Chham Gurung. 

She adds “Visualizing a safe image, breathing deeply, sitting back with that emotion can help to not act on anger”

There are some healthy ways to express anger; Physical exercise or sports, journaling, talking to close people, professional help. However, we can only work upon anger if we acknowledge it. Finding a source of it as every emotion has its root. Reflecting on what kind of environment we grew up in and knowing our ways (healthy and unhealthy) can help address our anger and problems caused by it.

This goes a very deep way; how we grew up, our environment, our health issues, our self-image can also change the way we act, feel.

Letting yourself feel what you feel. It is a privilege to feel something, anything...

“If we embrace our happiness, why not anger?” Chham Gurung. Yes, Why not anger?

A look into women from different backgrounds, age groups sharing their expression of anger anonymously. 

“My ways of expressing my aggression unhealthy ways: unhealthy food, lashing out before I quit a few years back it would be alcohol and smoking trying to distract myself and run away from the problem

Healthy ways now: now after vipassana, I try mostly to see what kind of feeling I am getting in my body and introspection seeing that feeling as they are without judgment, sometimes yoga strenuous exercise that requires lots of energy also a form of distraction but a healthy one so that the negative energy gets channeled away”

“Well how am I is like on the one hand, I keep it within myself and just cry out loud but if that anger is with someone close to me, I try to tell them what’s bothering me”

“I usually just stay silent and ignore the people I'm angry with. Think I got this from my dad since I don't like to confront people”

“I think of it through the lens of Tibetan Buddhism. In Anger, there is both a positive and negative side. When informed by wisdom it can be a way to be clear and sharp in our communication and action. When responding through habitual tendencies, it is rejection, divisive. So in day-to-day living, I always try to create a bit of space inside before as not to lash on without wisdom...Sometimes I succeed, sometimes less...yet still learning”

“According to the strength of anger. Sometimes I am completely under anger and all I can do is just to do something that helps me to forget it. Sometimes I observe it (if it is not too strong) and slowly, slowly it becomes small until the reason for my anger come back again XD but until now I cannot transform it. It is too difficult for me I guess.”

“Because of the environment (verbally abusive) that led me to fear-based relation with my family so, use to shut the door, not talk. Now I don’t that big issue. We sort out with family. I am still trying to bond. Besides that,

I cry a lottttt. Like a lot. I worry a lot. I cry all the time”

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