Sunday, September 29, 2013

Then Comes the Anger

Earlier this month, we had our 9-year anniversary. 
During those nine years, I've watched other couples -I've watched how they communicated, how they made decisions, how they interacted.  I was often struck with how brave other wives were... they would buy things without asking their husbands first, make decisions on their own, even go so far as to lay down rules about what they were or were not comfortable with (like violent video games).  They offered up advice that was heard.  They could listen to advice and still think for themselves.  They were equals in their marriage... a concept that had eluded our marriage.

I wanted that.  I wanted it badly.
And as I got into recovery and started to see just how much damage had been done by addiction, I began grieving.
Those grieving days were awful days in our home.  The children ate a lot of cold cereal, and I shed a lot of tears.
I moved into acceptance, and I was relieved to feel that my grieving was -for the most part -over.

But guess what?
I skipped a step.

In the process of observing other couples, I saw one very fascinating trend: the couples I admired the most were upfront with each other -they weren't afraid of reactions or repercussions.  They were honest with each other outright.  They got MAD at each other.
I just couldn't DO that.  I couldn't get mad at my husband.  I couldn't!  I was too scared.  I wasn't strong enough to handle his reaction.  Instead of getting upset with him or at him, I'd walk away and shove the anger down until I couldn't feel it anymore and then I would go and talk things over with him.

Quick question: what happens when you shove emotions down?  Anyone?

Yeah.  They rise up and wail later on.  And they're usually worse than they were when you first shoved them.

Since I snagged up a sponsor and a therapist, my recovery has had some really awesome direction.  It's GOING places.  One of the biggest blessings from it all is that fear and shame are being stripped away.

As fear and shame have stripped away, I've started getting angry.  I'm not scared of my husband anymore.  I'm MAD at him. 

I accept where our relationship is at, but I'm mad about it.
I'm angry because I'm still grieving a healthy relationship.  I feel cheated, and I feel short-changed.  I feel all of these rotten emotions that I felt earlier in my recovery.
When I first felt them, I denied them, ignored them, felt sad about them, wept bitter tears...

And now I'm mad about them.

I think it's wonderful.
I'm finally strong enough to be honest about my every emotion.

I finally feel safe enough to say what I'm thinking when I'm thinking it.

I'm finally -for the first time in NINE years -being TRUE TO MYSELF.
And if that means trudging through a trench of anger, I'll do it.
It's worth it.

There's nothing more rewarding than the freedom that comes from being true to myself.  


  1. My therapist asked me once if I was angry with T. I denied it. I didn't think I was. I told her I was sad, I thought I was lonely. I was worried about T. I was worried about our kids. And, I thought I was grieving a fairy-tale that never would have materialized anyway because they were the dreams of a naive 19 year old. She asked me again. She asked me to think about it and be sure. She sensed it in me even though I wouldn't admit it. It didn't feel RIGHT to be angry. It didn't feel Christ-like to me so I didn't want to acknowledge it. But, she drug it out of me. She told me I had to be honest about whatever I was REALLY feeling or I couldn't ever expect to move on. She was right and you are SO right. Stuffing it down, hiding from it, denying it, worrying that it's not an "okay" emotion to have, none of that makes it go away. It makes EVERYTHING worse. I am angry. Not always, but enough. I do feel cheated quite often. I'm mostly over the "why me" aspect of it, but I'm still mad that my husband chooses behavior, communication patterns, selfish thoughts and actions that damage our family. I've been learning to own my actions, I also have to own my feelings. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. This rings so true to my heart! Yes, when you shove emotions back, they explode! I hate the explosions. I'm working on being more open when I need to and not holding things back. But communication is still scary. We are both afraid to be totally honest because there is so much damage that has been done and still will be done. It's sad :( but anyway, I'm happy for you! I love how you are making progress! I bet it feels amazing!

  3. Isn't it liberating to be angry sometimes??? It's almost like saying, "I'm worth more than you've treated me and I KNOW IT!"

    I'm sorry you are hurting but I'm not sorry you are angry. Anger is an emotion that provokes change.

    [insert little change-happening-happy dance here]

  4. Yes...yes indeed! I remember burning my husband's shirt with the iron out of anger. The years of stuffing my emotions ended up contributing to several health issues, one after another. Now that I am in a process of letting out all of my buried emotions and working through them, I am feeling better physically. Not 100%, but there is a noticeable change.

    Let that anger out girl....write...write ..write! Hugs:)

  5. THANKS! I'm struggling to get through the day to day right now. Making sure everyone is dressed and fed and exhaustingly going through the motions of hiding-shame, guilt, embarassment- I feel like *I* bear the brunt of them for our family because *I* am the one people see most often. And I'm a mess. I'm working on it, kind of, but I struggle because I don't feel like I have TIME to work on it. I don't hardly have time to THINK. Thanks for your post. I read it when you posted it and read it again today and TODAY it was just what I needed. Hope. Thanks.