Monday, April 7, 2014

When Being Angry Doesn't Cut It Anymore

They say (whoever the proverbial they is) that anger is an important part of lots of emotional processes.  You have to go through anger as a stage in grief.  You have to go through anger when coping with a life change you didn't sign up for.  You have to go through anger when handling terminal illness or overcoming an addiction or or or lots of other things.  You get the point.  Anger, it happens.  It's normal.

I have been angry at a few people and specifically at God.  In some ways I'd like to stay there.  It's easy to wallow in my illusion of grandeur and recount my ex's perpetual idiocy and remain angry.  It's easy to scorn God and brush him off because he's not the type of guy who'll scream back in my face.  It's easy to be angry over other people's choices that negatively affect me or my family.  It's easy to be angry.  And all of those "they" people say it's a good thing.  It's easier. It feels safe and like self-protection.

But what happens when it stops being enough?

What happens when you realize you're wallowing and sitting and choosing to remain stuck?

What happens when you know the anger is not real anymore, it's a cover for what's under there, underneath that emotion.

And underneath that emotion sucks because once you strip away the anger you've got all kinds of real crap to deal with: pain, loss, hurt, despair, confusion, worry, anxiety....  and the list goes on and on.

Underneath that cover emotion.  Underneath that anger that you now realize is just an illusion.  That stuff down there.  That's the stuff that keeps you up at night.   That stuff, that's where the work has to be done.  That work that feels overwhelming and impossible because your heart believes there is no healing for this pain.  This wound doesn't have a panacea, and the antidote for this disease hasn't been invented yet.

Those so called experts say there's five stages to things like this:
1) Denial and Isolation
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

They also say that these things don't tend to progress in a straightforward manner but you can bounce around all over the map.  Which makes sense to me because I think I've hit the first 4 stages many times over the last month or more.  Well maybe not bargaining, I don't see myself as a one to strike a deal with God or anyone else.  I never feel like I have a lot to offer on my side of the value equation.

Eventually, and that time is now for me, you realize though this isn't getting me anywhere.  I'm angry and frustrated and it's doing nothing for me.  Worse yet, I'm coming up with excuses to remain angry.  All of this is doing nothing for me.  My now illegitimate anger isn't aiding me in any way.

So I'm done.  If I feel angry I'm not going to stuff it but it's time to move on.  God and I well, I'm still very not okay with him.  You won't catch me posting about his goodness any time soon.  But he's there or here or wherever or everywhere and I'm here.  So I guess we'll co-exist for a while and see what happens.  Like roommates in college that inhabit the same space without talking.  That's the absolute most I can do with him for now.

The other things that have made me angry, well some of them there's just nothing to do about.  I guess that's where I'm embracing despair.  Or complacency.  Or just moving on to acceptance.  It's uncomfortable for me to embrace that.  I'm a fighter.  I don't like to feel like I'm giving up.  I don't quit.  So I'm going to try to frame it differently, I'm not giving up, I'm moving on.  I have a life.  I have a future.  I have wonderful children.  There are things to move forward for, but I'm feeling weak and spent and tired.  My steps are slower, but they're still steps.

Tomorrow is an intimidating relentless proposition.  But I'm making peace with my present.  As the anger fades I have realized it has gotten in the way of some more positive emotions I have beneath the surface.  I think it was doing that on purpose...  My emotions beneath the surface were muddled.  A whole lot of anger covering: some sincere disappointment, mixed in with some real compassion and intense concern for others, mixed in with despair and loneliness and resignation, mixed in with a desire not to quit and a desire to do exactly that.

But it's all got to be dealt with, one small piece at the time.  While moving forward.  And not covering it up with anger.  It's time to move outside of my comfort zone.  To the next phase where I admit I'm not just a passionate woman who's raging at God, but I'm a bit of mess.  I don't have this together, I don't know how to heal from any of this.  I have no idea what I'm doing here.  I've gone through a lot of shit in my life, I'll spare you the list because it makes me feel the apostle Paul.  But this, this I don't know how to get through.  I know these muddled confusing emotions must be turned and faced.  They all need a seat at the table and to be given the voice to speak their truth.  But it doesn't really feel like that's going to get me anywhere.  So here I sit, at best a civil roommate with my creator, giving up on my anger, wondering where to go from here.

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