My Soul Toupee

Published in Mental Health - 2 mins to read

On Friday, my therapist drew to attention to a trait that has previously been dubbed my soul toupée - an underlying sense of anger. Obviously, men who are sufficiently subconscious about their male pattern baldness that they choose to wear a hairpiece become quite uncomfortable when said hairpiece is brought up in conversation, and naturally it’s the same if someone points out that underneath it all, I’m angry about things.

I have so much shame about the concept of being angry. I would sooner be branded sad, pathetic, cowardly, almost anything before angry. I don’t really know if I have a particularly concise explanation as to why, but it is apparently one of my core beliefs that people (especially men) who are generally angry are some of the worst kinds of people, and so I am desperate not to be like that. It bleeds into all kinds of other problems, like avoiding warranted confrontation or poorly communicating boundaries and then resenting those who overstep them.

I don’t know how to express anger in a healthy way, so I just don’t express it at all. To borrow from Fleabag’s Claire, I take all the negative emotions and just bottle them and bury them and they never come out. She might say she’s basically never been better, but I probably have. My therapist went on to postulate that a lot of my depression and low self esteem comes from this overflowing bottled up anger. What an awful cliché.