Dissolving my Anger
Anger has been my ‘go to emotion’, not tears, not hurt, not disappointment, instead full blown anger. Horrible horrible fits of temper – just like a child (its not easy to admit either!). Tending to be triggered by overwhelm. EVERY single time I lost it, I hated myself for it, I couldn’t get a grip on it no matter what and I kept coming back to ‘why do I get so very angry?’ The plague of anger would not go and I despaired so often. Tears and recriminations would follow, as would resolutions to do better, meditate and try and find a solution to something that was tearing me apart – not to mention the impact my anger was having on those I live with. If I may reassure – I ALWAYS apologised and tried to explain. I did my level best to NEVER EVER blame anyone else for my anger and took responsibility for my actions. NOT easy, but I had lived with an ‘excellent’ example of someone who did precisely none of these when they visited their anger on me therefore I have remained determined to always take responsibility for MY anger and my actions.
I have worked long and hard to find peace of mind and ironically, this year of Covid restrictions etc, has finally afforded me the experiences to link my anger to childhood trauma, particularly betrayal of unconditional love. I have read up on the subject and it makes absolute perfect sense.
Anger is an odd thing, it springs out at the strangest moments and sometimes can appear to have no real basis. Over time, I have come to see, that for me, it is definitely a result of trauma experienced as a young child. Sadly, my damaged Mother could not allow herself to love her own child. It is her behaviours towards me that caused all the trauma to which I refer. It was only by becoming a Mother myself, that I could see the stark difference between how I Mothered vs how I was Mothered. Only by hating every angry feeling, trying to control it, suppress it, push it aside for a few moments, do the count to 10 thing etc and failing, could I start to put together a strategy to deal with it myself.
Actually, that’s not quite right, there was never a strategy I could employ to ‘deal with, i.e., eliminate the anger’. I learned mindfulness techniques to keep myself balanced, I learned to recognise the signs of anger, I learned to take control, take deep breaths, remove myself (where possible) from a potentially volatile situation. I learned to calm myself, but the seething, roiling anger was still there – still looking for an outlet. Yet, it never diminished, no matter what I did, I was still consumed by anger and fury when it was unleashed.
Its a terrible way to live, that angry side of me is also very unnatural to the ‘real me’. I needed to heal the anger. I was absolutely desperate. Recently I read up about anger and discovered that this level of anger is linked to childhood betrayal – the penny hit the floor with a ‘thunk’. Okay, so now I knew why I carried the anger, but how on earth was I going to heal it?
I’m not actually sure how it’s been healed, inasmuch as I know what I did, but how it linked I don’t know. What I do know though is that for the last six weeks I have been navigating the world from a very different place. I feel annoyed, I feel hurt, I feel betrayal, I feel exasperation etc, BUT anger – nope that’s just not on the agenda any more. Just this last weekend, something happened that would in the past have resulted in anger (admittedly relatively subdued from that which plagued me up until a year or so ago), but this time, I felt, I really really felt hurt etc. Those emotions did come out and they were productive. Resolution was found, without the gut wrenching emotional rollercoaster of having to deal with my unproductive anger.
How has this anger moved on … well I’ll write what I’ve done, but how that helps understand it is anyone’s guess!
I knew that my childhood trauma was the root cause. I went through forgiving my Mother years and years ago, particularly since her death. The particular incidents no longer worried me, what I hadn’t bargained for though, was the feelings, they were something I hadn’t really recognised as being part of what needed to be healed. How I actually felt because of this or that. Anyway, I’ve been going down this road of dealing with feelings for some time now and gradually things were definitely getting better. A couple of months ago I had a PTSD like response to a noise – a metal bottle hitting a glass shelf. The noise was frightening, but it was my response that scared the proverbial out of me. I literally froze, I could not move and I just breathed in and out, eventually obtaining my equilibrium about 15 minutes later. During this time, I was revisited by a vision from childhood, which resulted in me searching for a step sister I had had at this time (my Mother briefly remarried after my parents divorced, but by the time I was 6, we were on our own for the next 2/3 years). It was that contact with that Stepsister that seems to have been the key.
I remember my Mother’s treatment of me from about age 7, before that is pretty much all from what people have told me happened. Because we were so far away from family, the incidents they saw were very few, if powerful. So I had little to go on. My call with my then stepsister was amazing. We spoke as if the past nearly 50 years had never passed, she’s 11 years older than me, so her memories are stronger. Whereas all others that remember my Mother were in way or another related to or in a relationship with her, she wasn’t. So she saw her and treated her for what she was (they were in contact in the last 15 or so years of my Mother’s life – unlike me). The call was lovely and she laid a few misapprehensions I had to rest. What surprised me most, though, was a call the next day, in which she related that her best friend, older sister, brother and his wife all remembered my Mother too and in particular they remembered her treatment of me. The best friend, who at most will only have visited our household vividly remembers things – that’s pretty damning of my Mother, she clearly didn’t see anything wrong in her behaviour towards me, certainly not enough to tailor it to her audience.
It seems that their memories – powerful, but detached, with no axe to grind – have been the key to me being able to finally throw all that into my lovely purple flame meditations. To allow all that negativity to be transmuted to positivity. Somehow, their fond memories of me and accurate, unbiased memories of my Mother have set me free, which doesn’t diminish the memories of my family – but they never lived with it in quite the same way – even my younger sister will understand that I hope.
I am so very relieved, the road ahead is still for me to travel, but oh my goodness, the contrast between walking on sand versus cobbles!