So I recently wrote a post on anger and all the people I am angry at. This list basically comprises my parents, my middle sister 2sis, one teacher in particular, and myself. I am less angry at boyfriends for being damaging twats and schools for being blind. I say less angry because I recognise that I hid my pain so school staff would have had to be paying attention to pick up on it and I chose my boyfriends because it was almost inevitable that i would pick men who would walk over me.
The question is though, what do I do with this anger?
There is no point in trying to have confrontations with my parents and try and get them to understand how much they buggered things up for me. I have tried it and I end up more emotionally drained than when I started and I don’t get any understanding from my parents, more a bewildered confusion as they try to work out what it is I’m blethering on about. I end up angrier. Also, and I don’t really know if this is still about protecting them or not, they are both 80+ and increasingly fragile and lacking sense of the world anyway so having a go at them would seem mean.
While my sister isn’t fragile I have to a great extent wiped her out of my life. We met up some five years ago for the first time in five years and talked for a few hours and that was the last time we spoke. I have no desire to do it again. What I realised after that conversation was that I still don’t trust her; I don’t know who she is; I don’t really care about her one way or another. She has shown minimal effort in wanting to get to know me and so have I. So we leave it there, which is fine except that it means I am never going to have any sort of reconciliatory conversation with her. Again, what’s the point?
Moving away from family to schools and teachers. Nowadays children who don’t speak the local language are much more commonplace and schools are a lot better at looking after them and integrating them. Teachers are a lot more aware of bullying and that unhappy children can be really quiet and well-behaved. Teachers still struggle to deal with it. After all they are supposed to be educators and not social workers and they can’t go and sort out parents for the child’s well-being even when they recognise the issue. However I would like to think that I would get more understanding if I was going through the same situation this decade.
My French teacher is probably dead by now. Even if she wasn’t and I tracked her down, what would I say? You were an unsupportive bitch and made me cry a lot? What would that get me?
I can now recognise that my choice in boyfriends or partners is poor, not because I’m a failure but because it is the natural consequences of my upbringing. My mother taught me to be passive and deceitful in a relationship and to hide my true feelings and never argue. My father taught me that what the man wants, the man gets, or else. There was the biting sarcasm and trenchant wit, the put-downs that my sister then repeated. He was master of the house with intellectual superiority. Despite writing all that down, I still feel that somehow, somewhen I should have worked out what I was doing earlier and stopped making bad choices with regards to relationships. As it was it was only ten years ago that I realised and went stop, no more. Whilst I think I would now make better choices, I’ve also become a lot pickier as well as being aware that my own self-esteem is still not strong enough to make me look at developing a relationship with anything but horror. Acceptance and regard for my own body is still some way off (something else to blame my parents for).
And that leaves me.
I am still angry with myself for making “bad” decisions, however much I accept the inevitability of them. I’m angry at myself for leaving it for so long to finally start working on myself. I haven’t really forgiven myself. This is something I still need to work on.
The other issue I need to think about when it comes to anger is, what do I do with anger now? I spent my childhood learning to not display temper or anger, to squash it and try and ignore it. I tried dealing with it my understanding why my parents were that way inclined and to feel sorry for their behaviour rather than scream and shout. That all helped diffuse the anger. But even now I simply don’t get angry. 3son drives me nuts at times. He is extremely frustrating. And yet I rarely get angry with him. I will tell him when he irritates me and why. I will express my annoyance. We may have a productive conversation about it or he may just get really defensive and it not be worth the effort. Sometimes he will tell me what an idiot he’s just been so I don’t have to bother. I will use words like frustrated, exasperated, infuriated which come so close to anger, but I will not say I’m angry. Am I still suppressing my anger or do I genuinely not feel anger?
That as a question sounds ridiculous. How can one deny ever feeling an emotion that is such an important one. I feel that I have transferred the anger into acceptance. My peers on my course tell me my demeanour when practising skills is that of calm acceptance with a willingness to hear anything. 3son told his girlfriend a year or so ago that he didn’t think he could say anything that would shock me. My meditation practice is transforming anxiety into calm and I have become a lot less stressed person. Have I transformed this anger into a positive acceptance and willingness to be open that makes me a better person? Do I need to dig up the anger from childhood, something that takes me a lot of effort to do?
I honestly don’t know what the answer is here. I feel the positive aspect of the increased calm and acceptance but I still don’t really know whether I’m ignoring an elephant in the room.