For as long as I can remember I’ve only felt two emotions – rage and nothing. There is no in between. I can go very quickly to rage when I feel a trigger. A trigger can be an action, a feeling or a word or words that give me rise to anger.
Last week I showed the side of rage in my weekly group meeting. Someone had said something to another person and in an instant flipped out. Today, I was asked about the chaos afterwards and what did I do with it. Quite honestly if there was an aftermath, I don’t have much of a memory as to what that would be. I would assume it is about what others feel and what they think as a result of my blowing up.
I realized today, something I had never before taken into consideration. Quite simply, what I am doing is a learned behavior. I learned as a child that after someone blows up at you, there was no discussion, it was just done and life resumed in its normal fashion. Without realizing it, I did that last week and until today, I still did it.
I felt the silence in the room, yet chose to continue working with others who would engage. I knew there were a couple of people who are/were thoroughly pissed off at me and I highly doubt they will let it go. There is nothing I can do about it.
It was said today that when I said “I don’t know where to start” someone said “just jump in.” I said, until now, that very moment, for the first time in years, the tears that started to fall weren’t for an animal, they were for me. I realized that with the help of two other group members, part of the reason I have reacted the way I have with my rage. One said that she could see my defensive wall go up as soon as I felt that someone was going against me. The second had said that she struggles with what she hears versus what was said. I have been told before that I don’t always hear what is being said and in fact what I had just heard from third group member (I felt her energy was anger and her words felt attacking). I learned from others that she wasn’t angry and she wasn’t attacking. The first time I remember being held accountable on this was when I was in college and a similar outburst had occurred. I could very well have been asked to leave the program, but I wasn’t. I was, however, requested to apologize to the parties in question and to check in for several weeks with the head administrator and my instructor. The trigger in that situation: Abandonment.
My boyfriend recently was preparing for a trip out of town. He went so far as to do all of his packing while I wasn’t at home and then place the duffle bags in our shed! As much as I appreciated his thoughtfulness to not want to trigger me, it made me realize I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they can’t be themselves around me. I don’t want anyone to feel like the have to walk on egg shells. That is no way to live.
Whenever I had an major outburst, emotionally I felt exhausted and would isolate. I didn’t want to put anyone at risk of my temper or to have anyone see the “real me”. As I sit here hours after group, I feel reflective and tired.
Reflective because I am searching through the files in my mind that are coming up on their own of moments where my rage has caused me a lot of damage in my life.
For a long time I had been diagnosed with chronic depression as an adult and as a child, I was just told I was moody and that it came with being a teenager and menstrual cycles. I never thought it was anything else and neither did my mom, apparently.
A few months ago (less than 6), I was diagnosed Bipolar 2 – Manic Depressive. This is the first time someone has taken the time to pay attention to me and my descriptions of how I have felt. I am now on a mood stabilizer and an anti depressant. My wish is to be off the anti depressant in a few months as we are still working on stabilizing the mood stabilizer and it is too difficult to do changes at once.
The long term affects of my anger and rage is I have no real friends as I can see why people wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who can flip out at any time. But what I do have is another piece of that cement wall chipped away, revealing a sense of life continuing without the stuck feeling.
This is why it is a work in progress, I have to go through the pain, as I am right now, in order to get to through the wall.
Today I became vulnerable and allowed myself to hear what people had to say. With that vulnerability came an understanding and tears.