Anger Management   2 comments

So, over the past few weeks I have had two people tell me I look happier and calmer than I have in a long time.

I’m taking it as the compliment I know it was meant to be. Because I am. Both happier and calmer. It’s kind of nice.

This may come as no surprise, but for a long time, I was angry. Angry at my ex, angry at the world, angry because the supermarket was out of the granola bars I liked, angry because the stop light was taking too long… I could go on, but you get the picture. It wasn’t pretty.

Mostly I was angry at myself.

Angry for putting up with certain behaviors for as long as I did, angry because I viewed the dissolution of my marriage as a failure on my part – divorces are known as ‘failed marriages’ not successful ones, after all – even though I wasn’t in the marriage alone, angry because I prefer to do things right the first time. And angry because, even before the end slapped me upside the head, things had already gotten to the point where I felt like I was failing at marriage. Like I would be getting an F on my report card or something.

I’m not a big fan of failing.

I know when you fail you learn stuff, but honestly I would rather learn by doing and doing well than by doing and having things blow up in my face. (Type A personality much?) And when twenty-five years worth of things blow up in your face, the end result is scar tissue. Also known as anger.

Now, at first, I didn’t try to manage the anger. At all. I couldn’t. I was a walking collection of sharp edges held together by anger, exercise, and vast quantities of ice cream. Really, the only thing holding me together was the anger – the ice cream helped with my psyche; the exercise allowed me to sleep – and I held on to it with all the strength I could muster.

I managed to blunt the edges a tiny bit at work and temporarily smother them with fuzzy blankets when my son was around, but when I was alone and not focusing on my behavior, I raged.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it took longer than I would like to admit for it to dissipate. (Cough… three years… Cough.)

I would like to take credit for it finally happening, but I can’t. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried listening to calming music, coloring, long nature walks (it’s useful living at the bottom of a mountain), telling the negative voices inside my head to go the hell away. Nothing worked. Well-meaning friends suggested meditation and yoga, but I shied away from the former as that gave the negative voices both lots of space in my head and my undivided attention – which was not the effect I was going for – and the latter left me feeling stretched out and craving an energetic aerobics class followed by more ice cream, but not necessarily any calmer.

What finally did it was time. And not in a “time heals all wounds” kind of way, as I’m pretty sure the psychological and emotional wounds I sustained will never completely go away, but more in a “can we just call this done now” manner.

Honestly, I think I tired myself out. Maintaining that level of anger is exhausting. Not to mention extremely unproductive.

Anyway, if nothing else I learned something. Not that I can control my emotions, as I did a really crappy job at that. (Cough… three years… Cough.) Or that I am a great actress. The fact that people are commenting that I look happier and calmer now lets me know that fact loud and clear. Despite my claims of being all right when everything first blew up, the husband of one of my friends told her he thought I looked fragile. Now I would call it an accurate assessment, although then I thought I needed to try smiling more and see if that helped. It didn’t. The smiles were all rather… feral.

I learned that I am more resilient than I thought I was. Resilient over a long period of time, but still resilient. And I’ll take that.

After all, there are much worse things to learn. And worse things to be.

Like angry.

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Posted May 10, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

2 responses to “Anger Management

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  1. sometimes its not how you get there, it’s just enough that you get there! So happy you’ve made it through and things are looking up ❤ Now….pass the ice cream 😉

  2. Anger has its place– and no time limits, isn’t it part of a grieving process? Still love your writing

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