I have finally found my anger. It has been a long time in coming. It surprised me when it finally showed up. Tonight at support group during one of the sharings, it struck me rather oddly that I had over 17 years of discovery, but that I had little anger to show for it. What happened? Why was I so unaware of the hurts and scars of my pain? I could hear the anger in others’ lives and how devastating dealing with this addiction has been. Has my life been less so? Of course not. I started to see myself as a battered woman who no longer felt the abuse but just endured it. And THAT is what pissed me off. It was as if I was a victim (which I don’t want to be) yet I was not even aware that I had been victimized (a form of denial, which I don’t want either).
I started to feel my anger. It was kind of new. I believe I felt it long ago, when I first had discovery in July 1995. It has been buried so long though, that it scared me to even acknowledge it. But there it was. Raw and real and wanting to be voiced. I knew I wanted to hit something. Badly. Not someone, just something. Eventually I decided to take it out on a cactus that he cared for and tended to more than me. It was rather symbolic I suppose. I found a hoe and let my anger flow. When I started to cry I remembered Debra telling me that I often use tears to squelch my anger. So I told myself “Not now. You will stay in this anger and let it go.” So I did. That was pretty empowering, too. I stayed in my anger. And that poor cactus is no longer with us.
When I had enough of that, I went to my beloved patio and started writing. I wrote three pages of what I was angry about. Who knew there was that much anger? Not me. I could hardly write fast enough. It just poured from within. How liberating! When I was done, I sat there for a moment. Then the most wonderful peace just settled upon me. What a welcomed gift. This is a different peace than I have experienced. It comes with acceptance. It is ok to be angry, to express it, to feel it. It didn't take over or consume me; it just lived for a time.
I think about today being Valentine’s Day and how this relates to my life. Perhaps it is significant that of all days today I was able to access this anger. I got a beautiful gift. Not the kind that I associate with this day, but yet a gift to myself. And that is, that I can embrace all of my feelings – including anger – and receive the growth and rewards that come from expressing them.