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I think it oversimplifies to say that the things that make us the most hateful and angry are the things that we most hate about ourselves. Sometimes that's not true at all, and other times it is only marginally true. I just had something like this happen to me. I was very, very angry. The situation really was enough to be rightly irritating, but the rage that exploded from me was off the charts, complete with profanity, screaming and name-calling. And it wasn't directly about something I dislike about myself. It was a situation that symbolically resembled something that had previously been done TO me (which I later inflicted upon myself in a modified way to avoid being abandoned at a time when I desperately needed help). I think this line of thinking is an obstacle for survivors of trauma and abuse, and it is one that is fairly pervasive not just in society in general, but also in therapists' offices. While I can imagine that most therapists might not take this road with survivors, therapists should be aware that a person could sit in front of them every week for quite some time before they can approach the underlying trouble. It may be months or even years before the therapist is made aware that they are treating a survivor. If the survivor is approached with ideas like this first, chances are they won't get around to telling...

And though I know not everyone has such complex problems, can you imagine what being presented with something like this could morph into in the mind of a dissociative survivor who is frightened or angry at certain 'reminders', but doesn't have the consciousness to know why? You might be surprised by how 'average' some of us can appear when we sit in a therapist's office with our misdiagnosis of panic disorder. Sometimes it's hard to know who the survivors are, but please remember there are a lot of us. The next angry person to sit in front of you might be angry because her former caretaker was a bully or a pervert - not because SHE is.

You have made an excellent point. Anger is often a sign that we feel threatened, in danger or that our boundaries are being violated in some way. As you astutely point out, trauma survivors can have serious reactions when triggered by events that resemble a prior trauma. Not everyone has such complex problems, but I think there are many more trauma survivors out there than people realize, and I agree that you cannot tell who is traumatized by looking at people.

Thank you for your comments.

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I laughed just reading your article about people falling, but I also laugh when I fall, I don't think I can explain it as surpressed anger; it seems to me that the humour is more from my own experiences; one moment I'm walking along all fine, next thing I know I'm horizontal- just typical I say. We then look fallible and foolish; just when we thought fallible and foolish were safely tucked away in our shadow bags!

After reading your article, I almost feel that I should consign laughing at peoples fallibility to my shadow bag except for the fact that many of the people in these tv shows do not get hurt; I am sad when people do get hurt.

I must admit that I'm immediately wary when I hear people overstating a dislike and assume that there is a cover up occurring.

I strongly believe that to show certain emotions that many would consign to the shadow bag is the mark of a strong character in the right respectful situations. Also, to show silliness also helps children to accept that even adults have the thoughts that they, the children would in any other case resign to their shadow self. This, I believe will let children worry less about the silly thoughts seen by some as inappropriate and helps them deal with these thoughts in a healthy manner rather than internalizing them. Otherwise the thoughts will build up and be released in a negative way in years to come.

i liked the article and am a trauma survivor myself. i survived a lot in childhood and right now, believe there is a lot of validity in this article. i was forced to suppress numerous aspects of my personality in order to become "good" to really twisted parents. now, as an adult, i do not feel like i fit into even the most marginal of social situations because everything i REALLY am is in the bag i drag around with me. i probably only project to others a staggering 1% of my personality because i fear showing anymore will cause me a great amount of harm. this isn't realistic, i know. but i did it to survive and old habits die hard.

also, when i watch music videos of punk rockers or bands i really like, i feel so inspired that it hurts and i still have trouble letting myself feel happy to know that there is still a real me even if i'm only barely connected at this point. the bag never goes away, but the pain of keeping it all in, i believe, increases as we get older, which makes sense. the older we get and the more vigilant we are of keeping it all bagged up, the more pain we're in from standing guard all the time, all just to make sure the REAL us never gets out. it's a sad, twisted reality, but there is no light without darkness.

good article. good blog. thank you.

see with the falling example it may not be repressed anger but fear of embarassment and we react in a laughing matter in feof what ar people think since ur dumbass fell hahah

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