Anger came to me and I embraced her;
I held her to me as a lover.
Then she turned from me and in her face
I saw a thousand sorrows.
Have you ever been angry? By angry, I don't mean a bit miffed; a trifle peeved: I mean engulfed in a tsunami of white hot, incandescent rage; feeling it explode from you like lava and rocks forever changed by the force of your volcanic fury. Have you been there?
I have. I experienced that anger a couple of weeks ago. It was Sunday lunchtime and we were talking about a task we needed to do as a family the following weekend. I had been planning this activity for months: I had tried to do it for the previous two years. Finally, we had it scheduled and organised. And my husband said, "You do realise I'm not here, don't you? I'm going out with the lads from work..."
I have not experienced anger like that for more than twenty years. I yelled – no – screamed. I stomped around the kitchen. I picked up the big carving knife and then, not trusting myself, I threw it onto the floor, where it broke. The children quietly left the table and then the house; terrified of what their mother might do. I slammed doors; I flung myself out of the house and into the car. I had to get out!
And, as quickly as it had come, the anger drained away. I drove the car up to the nearest roundabout and came home. The problem still needed to be resolved. My husband greeted me with the words, "Would you like a hug?" (there are reasons why I love that man), and we sorted out the practicalities of how we could still get the job done.
Not the least advantage of my wonderful medication is that it stops the feelings of guilt; it enables me to analyse my actions and behaviours in a dispassionate way rather than just beating myself up about them. So, I was able to think through all this.
Anger is the other face of sorrow and grief. It is one of the ways we deal with hurt and pain. In this situation I was hurt that my husband had ignored something he knew was so important to me and had chosen to accept a social engagement. This time my anger took an outward form, but so often it turns inwards, and I choose self-destructive behaviours. When angry, I eat chocolate; I drink; I spend money on things I don't want or need.
But I'm not angry: I'm sad. I (subconsciously) choose anger because it is easier to deal with – because it doesn't hurt: or rather, it defers the hurt. The hurt and the sorrow and the grief are still there, and I must still deal with them. And, often, I must also deal with the outcome of that angry behaviour. My husband has forgiven me: my children have not.
The funny part? As I was dropping off to sleep, my husband said, "I've looked at the diary. It's not next week I'm out with the lads: it's the week after. I'm with you next Saturday..."
And we laughed.
I still regret breaking that carving knife, though, but better that than the alternative.
A Moodscope member.
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