Friday, March 27, 2009


Anger is not something I am comfortable with. I have seen horrible things done in anger; I have been the target of unspeakable rage. The kind of rage where the eyes turn black, the lines on the face deepen, and veins on the forehead and temples are a road map of what is right around the corner. For me, rage seems to be a manifestation of a deep rooted anger; an anger that never stops and has no beginning or end.

My father was always just few degrees away from boiling. It took the smallest thing or sometimes nothing at all to send him into a rage that seemed to have no limits. Holes in walls, shattered bottles, smashed chairs, harmed pets, and broken spirits were left in his wake. He had his moments of screaming and yelling but the worst of it was when he raged silently. At his worst, there were no words spoken. Only silence accompanied his swift and unpredictable movements. I have seen many displays of anger in my lifetime but I have never seen another human rage in utter silence. Words, even if they are screamed in anger at least give you an inkling of what is coming, who the target is or even the eventual winding down of the angry person. With him there was only guessing and the hope that it would end.

My mother was always a second away from snapping. With her there was no warning. One second she could be smiling and the next could be attacking. She was unpredictable and ultimately unstable. One minute sewing along happily, the next stabbing scissors through a Check Spellinghand for daring to get too close to her work. One minute bathing her daughter, the next holding the flailing child underwater. She was a screamer. Shrill and blood-curdling were her two volume levels. It was pretty easy to gauge when she was winding down because she literally ran out of energy to continue. With her it was only a matter of wearing her out a quickly as possible; fight back and her fury would be worse but the duration was lessened.

I have great difficulty expressing my anger. The words do not come and in that silence, I fear I am half a shade from becoming my father. If I have no words, will I rage like he did? I feel the anger rising, my heart races and I am boiling inside but no words follow. I am mute and I can almost see my fists beginning to fly. I am him so I run away. I am not angry. I am fine.
pen, you name it, it's probably been a target. My husband has stopped asking why there are broken dishes in the trash. I snap and God, it feels good. My mother was so miserable in her life, it's no wonder she snapped so often. It's a rush and it is satisfying if only for a moment before you realize how childishly you have just behaved.

I will snap at the inanimate but if you ask me to direct my anger at those who hurt me, you can forget it. The words cease, silence ensues, and I am just as terrified as I was as a child ducking and dodging my father's rage. I am afraid I will never stop; my father never did and I am his daughter. I was raised by a monster and I have his DNA; I have her DNA too. There are so many times that I feel that I am relegated to nothing more than still silence and broken dishes... and it sucks.


Annie Coe said...

I don't express anger well either and often throw vacuums across rooms :-), but I think that is way better than throwing people. Your mother and father were indeed very sick and it is not any wonder that you have a problem with anger! I have no answers except kpep on doing your best, that is all any of us can do. XOXO

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, what you mean.

My family wasn't as volatile as yours. But my mother was and continues to be unpredictable.

It must take so much sadness and pain I imagine, to behave like that with your own family. Not that its any excuse.

But I too, have issues with expressing anger. It was never seen as the done thing in my family, actually. Unless it was my mother snapping and going crazy for a bit.

So, yeah, even though I might be rightfully angry, its very hard for me to express that, and to the person who it should be expressed to.

In fact, it was only towards the end of last year I felt the incredible rage I had towards the man who assaulted me. Before that time, it hadn't been close enough to the surface at all.

I don't throw or break things, but I do on occaision, snap. Hurt whoever is nearby with the torrents of wildness that pour forth.

I am starting to see though, there's ways to express one's anger healthily. Problem is, if you've been conditioned to see anger as a "bad" thing, then its hard to change that. Possible, though!

Shattered said...

Annie & Svasti, while I do not wish that anyone would struggle with expressing anger, it is nice to read that I am not alone. Anger is such a difficult emotion to begin with; add in some dysfunction and it is even more difficult. I will keep trying to change though because I know it is possible... I also know that our family, dishes, and vacuums will thank us. :)