Monday, September 08, 2008

Why do I Have so Much Anger Inside Me?

I was a very rebellious teenager. My Mom used to say I was so angry. I didn't see that. I was just having fun. I began drinking heavily, (binge drinking) every weekend when I was 13. Alcohol soothed my social anxiety and brought all this power I kept hidden from everyone to the surface. It melted away my inhibitions and when I was drinking I felt free. I still feel that way.

Then in high school I lost too many friends to count mostly through them drinking and driving. I had a best friend die from a shotgun wound one night after we had been at a party together. Then, at 17, I was in a really bad car accident. One of my best friends was driving and a drunk driver went through a stop sign at 60MPH (approx 100Km/hr).

My friend ended up in a coma for weeks and had a severe brain injury from the crash. I still hear the sound of a gigantic tin can collapsing and buckling when I think of the crash. Our car bent almost entirely in half from the impact, trapping my friend in the car. I remember the driver of the car that hit us crying over top of me, reeking like alcohol, saying he didn't mean to do it. He was sorry. It was too late for that.

I was in shock, trying o get my friend out of the car, seeing she was barely alive and injured myself, I was frantic. When the police came I just kept saying over and over again, " I want my Dad, get me my Dad". Who is your Dad?, the police officer asked. Staff Sgt. X I replied. He looked sad, scared and shocked at the reply. It is strange how my Dad was the one who hurt me the most, but he was the only one I knew would protect me too.

I do not understand that dynamic. How can someone be both the terrorizer and the protector? The dismissive bully much of the time, but the one I turned too when I was really in trouble?

The ambulance came and I was still hysterical, because my friend was still trapped in the car. I didn't know if she was alive and no one would tell me anything. They strapped me into the ambulance gurney and at that moment I think I heard God say everything would be alright. I was sure it was God, and I calmed down immediately. I still wonder if I halucinated God.

I suppose "alright" is a relative term. My friend survived the crash and came out of her coma, but she was a completely different person. She began having massive mood swings and personality changes from the trauma to her brain. She was never able to graduate high school, or work again. That accident changed me in a way that is difficult to explain.

I think it was the culmination of so much loss over a short period of time; 3 friends dying in a car crash, a best friend shot and killed and then another best friend changed by less than a second of poor driver judgement. I became angrier, wilder, took risks that I would never have done prior to those things happening. Then my Dad left my Mom and I lost it.

That is when rage set in. I was enraged, not by his leaving, but by his untruthfulness and his unwillingness to explain himself to his family. I was enraged that he could just leave us so easily without an explanation. How could he be a family member for so long and then suddenly decide not to be without any acknowledgement as to what the rest of the family felt about it?

That was all a long time ago. I don't know why I still feel so much anger. I have been trying to think all day about why I become so angry now, as an adult. I feel hurt and annoyed by somethings my Dad foes now...but mostly we are seperate people living seperate lives. I will never be close to him. I get that, but something insde me wants so bad to have him say he loves me and cares about me. I feel angry that will never happen.

I realize today that all my anger comes from expectations. I expected more of myself in life, more of my Dad, more out of life. I didn't expect to be stopped in my career tracks by this illness, or end up on disability, or afraid of my own shadow. I always expected I would be strong and powerful. I expected to be good at what I did.

Buddhism talks about letting go of expectations, wants, desires. In letting go of these our anger should melt. I am not a material person. I do not need much, but I still believe if I care for, respect and love others, as a human being I deserve to be cared for and respected and loved in return.

Today I was thinking I need to learn that life is not fair, that bad things happen to you, even if you are a good person and that all those stupid platitudes, like the harder you work the better off you will be, or the more you give, the more you get, were written by people who were probably just as worried as me about ending up nowhere an nobody in life. That is really scary.


The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

Wow - there is so much gold in this post. I'm going to have to read it a few times to address all these great points. Several of your lines struck an intense chord - that distinctive sound of being on the same page with someone else.

This one caught me first and possibly most:
It is strange how my Dad was the one who hurt me the most, but he was the only one I knew would protect me too.

My mother was exactly the same way. She was Super-Mom - the kind that I feel so awful about not being. But she was also Cruella deVille and I base many of my parenting choices on avoiding hers. The big, unspoken rule in our house was: If Mommy isn't happy... hide.

But the thing is, it goes both directions. Every bit of anger she turns on me - she turns on anyone who messed with me as well. So I really had the Best Friend/Worst Enemy thing going too.

Aqua said...

Hi SV,
I was going to erase this post because I feel embarrassed that I still let things that happened years ago hurt me. It's that whole "I can forgive, but I can't body remembers and reacts frightened to anyone in a position of authority.

I will leave it up, because it sounds like it speaks to you. I am so sorry you had a Mom like that. It changes you in such a huge way,

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

One of the other things that I like about Buddhism is that they say up front that life is suffering. And that we can not hope to find peace if we continue to think that bad things shouldn't happen to ourselves.

Of course it is one thing to say that and another to do it. I guess that's why we Buddhists believe in rebirth because I'm going to need a few lifetimes!! Take care and big hugs to you!!!

Michelle said...

I am truly sorry that you have had so much loss and pain in your life. Things like what you have written about are profound and I am not sure one ever full "gets over them" but instead I think major events change who we are on some level.

I spent 3 years studying Buddhism and I can honestly say it helped me and my anxiety tremendously; it really helped me be more compassionate "bodichitta" in general but also helped me be compassionate toward myself. I can recommend some great intro books if you are interested.

Annie said...

Aqua-What a truly moving post. I related to so much in my own life. You need not be embarrassed about your feelings. It may be part of grieving all that happened to you in life so far.In any event it is normal to have anger when you were hurt as a child and teenager.
One thing I learned is that we have an image of the "father inside" as well as our birth father. The image of the father who is the protector is something that we struggle with most if not all of our life. Be gentle with your self. You deserve to be heard and have so much to say. It was helpful to read this post. Peace Annie

Anonymous said...

Man, thank you for sharing this. Life is some serious BS. But the beauty in it is finding the beauty. Before your know it, this life will be over and there will be no trace of it. Do not waste your time looking back and asking why. Only look forward and ask how. How can I make my life better than it is today. How can I improve. I hope these words are not easier said than done. Live it up while you can.

best wishes,