When Pain is masked as Anger

Two days ago, a 16-year-old high school boy stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to death in Kericho County. Apparently, he asked him “what are you doing here? You are not my father!?”

His mother is widowed, so she was not having an affair. This also means that the boy has lost his father. We can assume the boy loved his father very much, if the pain of losing him is so great, he is willing to kill for a dead-man’s honor. Pain.

A couple of weeks earlier, two university students were having a drink at a local bar just within the proximity of their hostel. As they enjoyed a match between their favorite rival soccer team, you could feel the excitement, and the hype that comes about when these two particular teams are playing. Beer is cheap in this bar, perhaps to accommodate the students’ meager stipends. Food is also in plenty.

One team scores, and there’s screaming and laughter and songs! Songs of praise for that team, and as the excitement and joy dies down a little, a scuffle ensues. There’s commotion as one student accuses another of attempting to steal his mobile phone. The accused starts defending himself verbally, at a very high pitch. Soon, the other students take sides. Sadly it doesn’t matter who was supporting which team! It only matters whose side you are taking! It gets heated very fast, and soon there’s a huge stampede, shouting, screaming, blows and kicks are thrown about, and soon there’s blood!

Everyone scatters, running and taking cover, and only the painful groaning of the accused can be heard in the quiet bar, someone was reasonable enough to mute the TV! And so there he lies, moaning, cramping, and gnawing away in anguish, calling out to his mum, while he clutches the side of his stomach..!

He has a small frame. He is also the only one in his family bright enough to have joined campus! Not just his nuclear family but his entire extended family! His mother was brave enough to sell the only piece of property they had to take him to school, and as it is with most of our African culture, it is expected that he will succeed in life and buy the family a bigger property! He is an investment, one that his mum prays for every day! Prayers…..they didn’t work today, he is confirmed dead on arrival to the hospital!

As they look for the next of keen, questions arise:

  • What would make a student so angry, that he would turn on his fellow student and stab them in cold blood!?
  • Why was the perpetrator carrying around  a knife?

Not so long ago, a student stabbed another one because he was dating a girl that had just dumped him! He literally just went to his hostel room, knocked and stabbed him, leaving the girl wailing and screaming. He didn’t even attempt to flee…..he just stood there, perhaps immobilized by the intensity of taking a life at 22. Wondering what would become of him? Perhaps just blank? Just in pain?

You see, pain is cunning and good at masking itself.

Men have over the years been taught to hide their pain without owning it if they wanted to look strong and be respected or feared.

Where does the pain of grief go when it’s hidden and undealt with? Where does the pain of neglect or abuse go when it is ignored and hidden.

There is proof that it doesn’t leave. It just takes on another form and shape, bottling up, sizzling, brewing! Waiting for a simple trigger to shake it up! And boom! It overflows, and when it does, the universe will listen!

It can mask itself as arrogant independence – leave me alone. I need no one.

Pain can mask itself as masculinity – I am a man! You need to respetc me as a man deserves.

It can mask itself as smartness – I am too clever to care about fools.

It can mask itself as anger, especially so in men.

Image credits Creator: PM Images Credit: Getty Images Copyright (c): PM Images

Most perpetrators of violent unplanned homicides will say, “I wasn’t thinking. Or the pain was too much. Or I couldn’t take it anymore. Or I just wanted it to end!”

Anger is pain that has been pushed down to us through generational transmissions – we even take on other people’s anger as our own.

Anger, anger is just pain that we have had to endure in order to survive horrific events that we weren’t meant to survive! Anger is the pain we feel when nobody understands truly what we are going through! Anger is pain we feel when we blame the world for our misfortunes! Anger is the pain of feeling unworthy, unloved, unheard, misunderstood and feeling lost!  Anger is also the pain we feel when we are disrespected!

We have to wonder what would make one person walk away when they are feeling angry, and another one take a knife and stab someone to death? What is it that sets us apart in how we process pain and manifest anger?

Could it be our upbringing? Could it be our past experiences or current circumstances? What exactly is it? We could be from the same family, same parents, and still one will succumb to their angry outburst, while another, well, deals with their anger.

As long as  anger is caused by unprocessed and unresolved pain, the answer always lies in HEALING!

Have you gone through pain that you have healed from? Or are healing from? How did you start healing from pain?

Know someone who suffers from simmering anger that is harmful? Let us know.

7 thoughts on “When Pain is masked as Anger

  1. “Angry people quickly become lonely people” – Spot on. Can’t add anything more. Anger is a strong emotion, it should be dealt with and not placed aside. It is a symptom not a root cause. We can only deal with anger after sorting out the cause. Good article, i like.

    1. thank you @ maureenandeje for the feedback! indeed unless you go back to the source, you become an angry lonely person, and then start blaming people for not being there for you, for isolating you, or for avoiding you!

  2. Ephesians 4 :26 the Bible records…
    “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…

    Anger is like lightening, it hits first then what follows is just roaring sounds.
    Anger can make you do something that will completely change if not managed. I’ve seen family breaking, people killing each other or self.
    Nice one

  3. “Anger, anger is just pain that we have had to endure in order to survive horrific events that we weren’t meant to survive!”

    We need to talk about issues of mental health and well being more in this country. Thank you for this step to help us understand the importance of self care and mental health.

  4. Most of anger manifested in the current generation is a result of silent pain that has been covered for a long time.

    We need to open up and share our pain.

    An excellent and informative read.

  5. my 2cent thot;mostly a person lashes out either verbally or physically wen s/he can’t deal wth the cause of his distress in his mind…that moment.one can’t conjure an answer,can’t comprehend wats goin on…the lashing happens on reflex…i think its instincts/sme sort of defense mechanism…’

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