Lately I’ve been wrestling with a lot of rage, but up until now I couldn’t really connect with it to make sense of it. It just seemed like a blur, a noise in the background, there but not there. This has been so frustrating, because analysing is my thing, and I couldn’t analyse a blurry background noise that may or may not have been there.
Finally the rage is becoming a bit clearer and working it’s way to the foreground. I already feel a bit lighter for that, it feels possible to deal with now.
The other day I was talking to my Mum about all this rage that’s been eating away at me, bubbling under my skin, when my toddler stood right in front of me and chanted a proper annoying sound in my face. He wouldn’t stop until I joined in.
It was an annoying, yes, but an innocent moment. Standard toddler-ness. But OH my god, the rage. In that moment, it was like someone switched a light on and the rage became really clear, or rather she became really clear. All of a sudden this rage was its own person. I could visualise what she looked like, and DAMN that girl needs a hug! She looked dark, unkept, a bit unhinged…
…I felt like my body was her cage. She was thrashing around during the toddler chant like a ping pong ball, it was almost as though I could feel her beating my body like the walls of a cell, trying to escape. She wanted out.
I didn’t let her out that day. I chanted with my boy, and off he went none the wiser. But what a horrible thing to contain. If you can’t relate to this in anyway then I am relieved for you, but I know that many will, and if that’s you, I want you to know you are not alone. You are not crazy, and that is not the ‘real’ you. It’s just the brains clever way of protecting the real you, from traumatic experiences. Well, clever for a while. Whatever the trauma, it will normally have started in childhood when we’re not able to protect ourselves, so our brains will do all sorts of things to compensate, like for me bottling up my rage and hiding it in the background, because it was not safe for me to let that anger out at the time, it would have made my situation worse. Trouble is, if we make it to adulthood without working through the traumatic experiences and the coping mechanisms our clever brains put in place, they start to cause issues. Ever feel like you’re reacting to something like a bit of a child? Because you probably are. The childhood scars set off little alarm bells and we regress to that mindset. It can make us behave differently, we might try to manipulate people, or be dismissive and shut down, get angry and violent, isolate and withdraw, fall into depression…it’s all actually just supposed to be protective for us, but typically ends up causing more distress to the individual and those around them. It’s certainly caused more distress for me.
I have indeed wondered, is that the real me? Shit, am I a fraud? I thought I was quite a nice person! How can I be nice when I’ve got that kickin’ around?? Am I dangerous?? I honestly battled with that for a few weeks, because it felt like I could be a loose cannon ready to blow and it felt like that raging character could do damage, and that if she properly came out I might not be able to recover. Now that my mind is clearer, and I’m starting to understand this part of me, I don’t feel dangerous (thank fuck for that!), and for that I must pay credit to my mother. For all the badness I have endured, for the many things that have been stacked up against me, she has held me firmly on the good side. I’ve only realised this in the last few days, and it makes me emotional just writing about it now. I’m so fucking grateful for my mum. Life has been a bit shit, but my mum is my diamond. I hate to think what kind of character I might have morphed into without her.
So why the rage?
I have a session coming up with Marge to talk through what I think I know so far. And what I think I know is, this girl of rage seems to have been the punching bag. She’s the one that’s taken all the shit, like a big sister that would charge ahead whilst the younger one hid in a corner and covered their ears, to protect their innocence, and keep them ‘good’. Even when people have gone out of their way to hurt me, I’ve still been nice, and been able to empathise and could explain to you why they did what they did. I think I can do that as much as I do, because I’ve been suppressing the rage, because it wasn’t safe to express it and protest to what I was experiencing. So it makes sense to me now that this rage is being disturbed by my children, because I am not afraid of them. My relationships with them are the first I’ve had where I’m not worried about them abusing or abandoning me. I have spoken to Marge about this previously, when it was all still quite blurry, and she said the way that I described my boys (when they’ve done something that’s made me angry), is the same way I have described an ex partner who emotionally abused me for years. More on that another day… but my children of course are nothing like him, they just trigger alarm bells from that time.
As I dig deeper into the rage, I can see quite clearly how the cycle of abuse continues from one generation to the next. It would be so easy for me to use my children as the punching bag, instead of dealing with it. I’ve shouted so awfully a few times and experienced such aversion that I’ve felt like I don’t deserve my children. That’s when I’ve really questioned who the ‘real’ me is. I know everyone has lost their shit with their kids at some point, and that’s not surprising because it is a TOUGH job, but that doesn’t make it justified. Understandable? DEFINITELY. Justified? For many scenarios, I’d likely argue no, it’s probably not justified at all. It’s usually us, the adults, who can’t contain OUR emotions and cope with standard age appropriate behaviour, rather than the child being truly bad.
So I suppose what I’m saying is, I am grateful to anyone that can understand and appreciate what I’m experiencing right now. But I don’t want it excused. This rage interferes with my general well being and relationship with my boys because I’m either triggered without warning and then have to contain myself, or I’m on high alert so I’m not caught by surprise – both options are tiring and keep me in an anxious state.
As I work through my rage, my posts might take a bit of a turn. You’ll gather I like a good swear word, that may increase as I talk about certain experiences. But the writing helps a lot, so I’ll keep going.