Anger is something that I am not used to expressing. It wasn’t permitted and my parents never used it. 1sis was the only one who ever got angry and it never did her any good. She would still end up in floods of tears. So I got used to squashing my anger, sitting on it, burying it and never ever expressing it. I carried on that pattern with partners so spent thirty odd years learning to ignore it. Letting it out is therefore not easy.
So what am I angry at?
I’m angry at my mother for not fighting more. For me and for her. She said she tried for the first few years of marriage but it didn’t get anywhere and she found it too painful. I understand that but it stopped her from being the person she could have been and it stopped her from coming in between my sisters and I except for on very rare occasions. I lost her as a trusted companion years ago, and although I accept that you can’t go back I missing that loving and close relationship we had despite its faults. She was my female role model and what she taught me was subservience to the man, constant worry and agitation, a lack of an independent life and an unwillingness to fight for herself. She also presented two faces to the world, one where she moaned to me about Dad’s inadequacies and one where she I was angry at my father.
I’m angry at my father. For putting work first and us second, for not being able to open up and be warm except for on the rarest of occasions. For terrifying me, for making me hate him, for making me feel sorry for him. When I found out that he hadn’t just applied for a job he’d seen advertised but he’d pushed to create the job abroad that only he could do I was angry for him for not considering me. He considered 2sis who was about to do her A levels and made provisions for her, but I would just get thrown into a francophone school and be fine. I was angry at him for not listening to me, for not paying attention to who I was but just telling me how to be more like him. I was angry and so frustrated that he would never admit he was wrong. I was angry at him for not giving me choices, for being mean on presents, for dismissing anything he didn’t want to pay attention to. I was angry at him for not really believing I was car sick, or hungry, or needed the toilet when it wasn’t convenient for him to stop. I was angry at him for thinking my tears weren’t important.
It’s not just my parents of course.
I’m angry at 2sis for taking out her anger at my parents on me, for diminishing me and mocking me just to bolster her own ego. She copied her father really because she felt insecure.
I felt angry at schools and teachers for not recognising there was anything wrong, especially at Mme Van Der Steen for bullying me rather than supporting me in class. None of the teachers picked up on the bullying or did anything about it.
I’m angry at my first boyfriend for making me cry so many times and then for threatening suicide when I tried splitting up with him. He paved the way for a succession of bad relationships.
I’m angry at my dad for thinking it’s OK to let me go and live with his mistress and that I wouldn’t find out and neither would my mother. For being so insensitive and just plain stupid.
I’m angry at me for buggering up my A levels and not going to university and for not picking a better drama college. I’m angry at my dad for paying no attention to what I wanted to do and at my mother for not feeling able to intervene at this major point.
I’m angry at me for letting it all happen. Even though I know have a better understanding that such things follow almost inevitably one from another I just wish I’d woken up sooner to what was happening to me and made better choices decades ago. I’m angry at all the wasted time.