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Easing the Burden of Anger  

By Julie L. Torgerson



"Every thought of my past ignited a pain wrenching 

emotion I could not control. Or so I thought..."


After a turbulent childhood, marriage, other relationships and depression, I found myself coming out of a dark tunnel through my thoughts. It is somewhat of a slow process, and is to be expected. See, I had years of training—or, maybe programming is a better word: years of put-downs, insults, and controlling maneuvers that constantly made me wonder if I was crazy. I had a lot of work in front of me to undo what had been done over a lifetime. 


Sure, we should all have the right to feel bitter and resentful after realizing the abuse and neglect we suffered. I try to keep this in mind before I revisit that lonely place. Every thought triggers an emotion, i.e., "I think I am stupid"—and this thought only produces depressed feelings and clumsy actions. Ponder it for a moment. 


Frequently I would think my parents were so awful to me! How could they be so cruel and hurt me so badly? They couldn't have loved me! They cheated me out of so much! Consequently I would fall into a deep depression, lashing out at my son (a reflection of my self-hatred and childhood voices), and closing myself off - withdrawing from the people I cared about. 


In an attempt to stop myself from entering that dark place I would search for another thought—that of compassion. I would ask myself, "How did they learn to destroy you, detach from you, leave you emotionally and physically, abuse you and make you feel crazy?" One day it's okay to scream with excitement and be happy (someone was drunk or tolerant), but the next day you're knocked loose for it (someone was losing control—was it the Codependent or the Alcoholic?). 


Try imagining your guardian’s life as a child. Imagine how they learned to do what they've done. Maybe see them as they were as children: hiding under the bed covering their ears to escape the sound of frequent blows, slaps and disgracing words exchanged between their parents (your Grandparents!). Or crying alone in their bed as they felt the pain and feared the outcome of the sounds of another man (not their father) comforting their mother and together destroying their families in another way (besides alcoholism and codependence). Or maybe sneaking out the window to escape the aroma of pot and loud music, or someone having casual sex in the bathroom (on a school night no less). Or avoiding friends at school because their friend's parents discussed your parent's crazy, drunk father (your GRANDFATHER) that night in their home during dinner. 


Think whatever you want, but remember: They were born innocent—just as you and I. They were full of hopes and dreams that were casually shattered along the way—just as you and I.


Maybe in an innocent attempt to escape their pain they picked up a drink, smoked a joint, popped a pill or tried to control the drunk so as not to face the past—another unhappy ending. Before they realized it, this temporary disconnection from their past pain and memories began to consume them, call them, tempt them and remind them they could escape—easily (or so it seemed). 


With limited resources, communication or understanding they found, as with most sin and denial, the hole they had dug so quickly to comfort themselves was too deep to climb out of. The thought enters their mind, "How can I undo what I have done; face the destruction I have caused; live with the bad choices I have made?" The thought consumes them, overwhelms them, scares them, and the process began again. Shame. Their childhood terrors and fears conquered them and now you see how you too paid the price—just as they did. 


Sometimes remaining disconnected in anger, alcohol, drugs, depression or whatever, is better than revisiting a pain you do not conceive as something that can be overcome. Fear. The same fear your parents were exposed to so long ago.  


The choice, the thought, the behavior and the consequences are ultimately yours—just as it was/is theirs. I am sure you too expected to be a better parent, partner and friend—just as they did. Is it ever intentional? Maybe. Could it have been survival and not knowing a better way? Probably. 


To ease the burden of anger, you may just need to rethink the situation with the compassion and understanding you may not realize you have. Take it from someone who knows what anger is and how it can consume your soul; how it dictates your happiness; how it clouds your thoughts and judgment.  

Copyright © 2001 By Julie L. Torgerson





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