Anger Management

Recently I noticed feelings coming up about my parents, my Mom in particular.  Feelings of anger.  At first I was baffled.  We had a difficult relationship.  I think on many levels I annoyed her.  We were opposites.  I was soft, shy and very naive.  My parents were very street wise and outgoing.  It must have confused them over the course of our lives together how their first born could be so unlike them, so much so that for many years I believed I was adopted.

Not one to shy away from healing on any level, I confronted them about many incidents that I felt I was wronged.  By the time they passed away, both relatively young, I thought we had put to rest much of our difficult history.

My Dad worked long hard hours on one business or another and was absent much of my life growing up.  I remember waiting long summer days for Daddy to come home and spend time with us.  When he did come home he was exhausted and had nothing left for us.  “Later” he would always say and later never happened.  Eventually I stopped asking.  When I did something wrong or even silly out of my naivete’ he was critical, sometimes with humour and other times with impatience.  Either way it hurt deeply because of my sensitive nature.  We ended up with a very distant relationship where I didn’t know him, and I don’t think he knew me, and I always felt nervous around him.  I know we loved each other, but we didn’t know one another.

My Mom also worked very hard on their businesses.  Often juggling work hours with home duties.  As I approached my teen years our relationship became more aggravated.  And her drinking became more obvious.

By the time I was 14 she wasn’t sober much at all.  And I was her scapegoat.  Her verbal battering ram.  Everything that bothered her would come out at me in a twisted fashion making me feel that I couldn’t do anything good or right.

These encounters were very painful, yet I could see the wise beautiful fun-loving woman she was and always forgave the outbursts thinking I deserved it.  As most kids do, I took on the responsibility of our relationship.

Over many years I tried to find a way to get along with her, to not wake the dragon.  And for many years I would end up broken.  The only way I could cope was to remove myself from her for long periods of time.

When she was dying I was glad.  Not because she was dying.  I was glad because we had put to bed the past.  I felt we ended on a good note.  I understood the life my parents had was very hard.  They grew up in harsh households.  My Dad’s stepfather was brutally mean to my Dad any chance he got.  My Mom’s mom was an alcoholic and prostitute leaving her young kids alone for up to 10 days at a time while she went on a binge.  Then Foster care.  My Mom was in several foster homes in a very short period of time.  Many traumatic events imprinted in her mind forever.  My parents had me very young.  I understood they did the best they knew how, and I thought that was enough.

Now at 54 all this anger is coming up to greet me again.  Shit!  Now I understand what my wise Mother meant by “Understanding is the booby prize of life.”  Meaning I can forgive their actions only so far, but at some point I have to acknowledge my feelings.  While they did the best they knew how this doesn’t mean there wasn’t collateral damage.

Verbal and sometimes physical abuse punctuated my childhood.

Verbal and sometimes physical abuse punctuated my childhood.

I feel anger at being treated harshly when my personality type doesn’t require harsh treatment to change course.  I feel angry that my Dad wasn’t there to protect and guide us through the mine field of Mom.  I feel angry that my Mom loved my sisters more and better than she did me.  And that I was her verbal and sometimes physical punching bag for so many years.  I am angry that I wasn’t nurtured in the way I felt all children deserve, so much so that a crying child really upsets me.

What I do know is we must feel our feelings in order for them to float away.  As a child I pushed down the anger so much that I have struggled with depression of various depths my entire life.  As a child I took on the broken parts of our family as if it was my fault and buried my true feelings.  Now that I am in a safe place in my life these buried emotions are coming to the surface.

As I deal with another layer of my onion I share these truths with you so that you may gain some insight to your own journey.  Feel the feelings as they happen, especially the so called negative ones or they will come back after living in your cells for a lifetime to be reckoned with once and for all.  This takes courage.  Here’s to the courageous soul in every one of us.

As an adult I now can nurture the broken parts back with love.

As an adult I now can nurture the broken parts back with love.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments »

  1. Thanks for sharing. I remember. And I’ve had a similar journey. So grateful to be where I am now. I know your family/kids must benefit from your compassion and awareness.

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  2. I can certainly relate to being scapegoated by a parent and dealing with “late” feelings of resentment about the way you were treated growing up. When I wasn’t being rejected, I was being verbally (and occasionally physically) abused. I now know this is emotional abuse. As I attempt to reconcile the hurt and pain I endured growing up and beyond, I am trusting God that this too shall pass. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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  3. Wow, thank you so much for sharing that Shannon. Now I understand more about your family. At your parents household, there was always fun to be had, and myself, and all of your little sister’s friends thought that she was the coolest and would have a blast with her and loved to come over. I was more apprehensive, but enjoyed the freedom (that my parents didn’t know I had there)…It was the total opposite of my family home, so of course I felt that something was “off”, but I wasn’t sure what. I was soft, shy and naive like you…and for some reason there were times when your little sister would get extremely irritated with me, reject me and turn our other friend against me, of course, I was deeply hurt, but I considered her my best friend, so I tried to stick around…anyways, now I’m understanding where all that was coming from, and this kind of illustrates how alcoholism not only affects the family, it can affect the community as well! I also just wanted to say that she always looked up to you, thought you were so pretty, and I know that she never felt pretty enough (I thought she looked a lot like you!). She was a leader, your mom often said, but now I see that it was a coping mechanism for low self-esteem, she was often sad, depressed and angry too.

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    • Thank you Judy. I always felt she was so pretty also. I loved her from the day she was born. She had such a bright shining light until one too many hits from an unfair life took its tole. She endured our mother’s drinking for much longer in her life than myself. And this too had a negative impact on her.
      It makes me happy to see you have much love and joy in your life now. Thanks for your connection.

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