. . . Finally!
At my therapy session last week, I brought up something in my current life where I could see me acting out in anger. I was curious and worried where it came from. It had to do with a relationship with a man and . . . while I don't have an attraction or an antipathy to men, in this one context I could see myself taking out my anger, punishing, a man. It isn't pretty in my imagination. It isn't who I want to be. I don't believe it is who I am.
I wanted to explore where it came from. I wasn't so much interested in dealing with my anger, just understanding where it came from and, hopefully, keep that demon bottled up.
I've been seeing my therapist for almost four years. She is an excellent match for me and a lot of the things I have worked through she has been a huge help and support. But! But, it took me well over a year to express my sadness and sorrow and grief to the point where I could cry in front of her. I am sure she was wondering when or if I would ever get to my anger.
When I was younger, a long, long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away ... up 'til I was about 15, I had a very volatile, very violent temper. I didn't get in to more than a few physical confrontations with people, but I broke a lot of things in my anger and rage. The last real outbreak of my anger, that I can remember, was with my Dad. I started a physical fight with him. I wanted to hurt him and hurt him bad! He was 44 at the time, in fairly good physical shape and in reasonable command of his body. I was fifteen, bigger than he was but I really didn't know anything about fighting with another person. The result was that I couldn't do anything to him but kind of wrestle around. Mom came out to break up the fight. Dad said we were just funnin' and laughed it off. My mom looked at me and said, "I don't think so." Dad never really laid a finger on me, but he cut me to my heart with the way he dismissed and made a joke of my anger. That was the last time I really let my anger out. After that... after that, I would be obviously angry on occasions, but I wouldn't say anything or do anything outward -- I would just steam inside. My anger would be very hard for me to let go. Over time, I've come to bury it deeper and deeper. I would just eat it. (and eating is one of the things I do when I'm angry -- there's a reason I'm 40lbs overweight) I tried to be an "adult" about it and rationalize my anger. I would very rarely take it out and look at it and own it or find the legitimate things about what I was angry about and deal with them.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. So says Poppa's Book. I don't know that I've heard of where it says how to "be angry but sin not.." but the point is, being angry is a legitimate emotion. Where things are wrong are in rage and in not processing the anger. In my head, I knew, know this verse, but never, Never have been able to own my anger and deal with it in a way that is healthy for me and healthy for those around me. I just don't really know how.
And my anger scares me! Scares me to death! I don't know where the anger ends and the Rage begins. I don't know when I'm being angry over nothing or over little things or when I am angry about a principle that is important to me. I am afraid I might do physical harm to people I love. I am afraid I might irreparably damage and tear relationships that are precious to me. I am afraid I will end up alone. For these reasons, I pull into myself, away from people and try to just let things cool to a place where I can function with people again. But I do not deal with the anger.
And I have a lot to be angry over. Some of it reasonable, some not so...
I am angry that I didn't do what I could to transition in college when I first thought of it. Or again when I was in my thirties. I am angry I threw away the opportunity to be a young and reasonably attractive woman. I am angry that I threw away a chance to have a life-partner.
By keeping the secret of my gender (even from myself in a lot of ways), I froze out people who I wanted desperately to have a close relationship with. That especially includes my Ex and my Children.
I am angry that my Ex abandoned me. I deserved better -- "In sickness and in health, till death do us part."
I am angry that my First Daughter and Son abandoned me. I deserve better! I gave up my girlhood so they could get through college before having to really deal with their Dad's gender.
I am very angry that one of my mentors when I first came out threw away our relationship.
I am angry that a woman I had thought my best friend (after my Second Daughter) has cut me off.
I am angry that another really good friend doesn't talk to me anymore. She thinks I've abandoned her but she left the relationship a long time before I stopped making the effort. I am angry that I don't know how to reach out to her.
I have all this anger and more and I do not know at all how to tap it to let the anger go and be healthy.
My therapist was almost bouncing that I started to express my anger. And assured me that our sessions are a safe place for me to express my anger. But I need to learn how to express it in my everyday life in a way that is honest and authentic with the people I love.