At the Broken Places

I hate being angry.

 

I hate feeling like I’ve handed all control and consciousness to a small, bitter part of me that never forgets or forgives, that justifies every mean thing I plot with resentments that should have been let go of long ago. I hate feeling that vile kind of powerful, and wonder if my mother likes that emotion, if that’s why she clings to anger when it comes. I have trouble letting go of it too.

I know from experience, lifetimes of it, that the healthy thing to do is let go of your rage, because in it you’re hurting yourself even more than anyone else. But when I get angry, part of me feels exhilarated, raw, a clean pain like exposing bone to the cold. Maybe my reason is what I think my mother’s is, that we feel we have so little power in our day-to-day lives that when the polite masks are dropped, you can be mean on the outside just like you are in your head. At least, I’m mean inside my head. Nod at me politely at a bad time, and I will daydream about beating your head into a brick wall until there’s only bloody pulp.

I had an important appointment today, which I missed because my mother didn’t get home until after it would have started. In my mind, the correct thing for her to do, since she knows how lateness and rudeness spikes my anxiety, would have been to give a genuine apology and offer to call the office to apologize and reschedule. Instead, she came in, gave me one of her apologies in which she’s defensive and already angry at me for being upset. (My mother doesn’t like feeling guilty, so she gets angry at people she wrongs.) I continued to be upset, crying, and she unsurprisingly stalked off, quietly saying to my father that she didn’t want to “listen to this.”

I tried talking to my father, and he said the usual, “Oh, she’s not mad at you, she thinks you’re mad at her.” What is this, first grade? I didn’t hear her when she spoke to me, so of course I was being rude and ignoring her, and now I guess she’s not going to play with me at recess?

In my family, if my mother does something that affects you negatively, you are NOT ALLOWED to be mad or even upset. Like a child, she says, “Are you mad at me?” And if you dare to say yes, she gets defensive, immature, and will either pick a fight with you (who, remember, was the wronged party) or if she needs to stay on your good side (I, for example, am my parents’ bank and occasional pharmacy), she’ll go and pick a fight with my dad. She did the latter a lot when I and my sisters were kids, since I guess small children are too young to hear their mother threaten suicide or be told they’re a product of rape. Got to be in your teens for that.

I don’t know. Maybe I overreacted, maybe I should have just made the phone call myself. I resent my parents for damaging me so much I sometimes can’t use a phone. I have a sort of “you broke it, you deal with it” viewpoint on that. After trauma, we’re supposed to mend, and according to the proverb, be stronger at the places where we cracked. But what do you do if the hits keep on coming, and give you no time to heal?

Author: athlynne

"From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed. I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made." - W.B. Yeats