I've been married twice and neither man I was married to was comfortable with anger. Because of their discomfort they had issues with the anger of others. My first husband came from a family of alcoholics where anger had been displayed in a sloppy, ugly, unglued manner. As he was child when his mother was being drunk and unreasonable he had fears about uncontrolled emotions. Unfortunately as a result he learned how to be very manipulative. Learning how to be provocative he would "push people's buttons" and then turn on them for being angry. Sometimes he pressed them to "love him unconditionally," just after he had skanked them on money owed or cheated in a relationship. Other times he would accuse the offended person of having "anger management" problems after he showed up an hour late or more. After much money was spent on trying to "fix" me, because I was angry with him, I one day woke up and realized he was manipulative. My second husband was a fundamentalist Christian who attended church more than twice a week. He had been to an anger management class earlier in life, and he resolutely believed anger was a sin. To that end there could be no anger in his life. I asked him how he felt about the God of the old testament who wiped out whole races of people in righteous fury. Howard had no opinion on that God or those incidents. Like many fundamentalist Christians he preferred to believe pastors, and people who spoke in tongues over being familiar with the Bible. If he had ever read the old testament, he surely didn't remember what happened in it. We did have a pleasant household though. One fight only in all the years we were together. It happened because I planned a naÃ¯ve version of an "intervention" when I suspected he was taking too much pain medication. As a true addict, this was the one place he could not go, emotionally. Unable to face facts he gave way to indignation. By the end of our conversation I was apologizing to him. He had me convinced I was unbearable due to my hormonal changes associated with peri menopause. I felt angry later, after he left when I think about how he lied and covered his drug abuse. How he created his own personal agenda that had nothing to do with being one flesh. I don't believe it's a sin to be angry. Anger is a God given emotion. Why would he give us an emotion that is unacceptable? Without anger no one would have ever ended slavery in the South, no one would have challenged Jim Crow laws. Without anger how many thousands of Jews, Gays, Catholics and Jehovah Witnesses ended up dead â€“ because no one questioned outrageous policy? When we feel anger, our body is trying to tell us something. IF we are willing to listen we will receive a gift. If we stuff our feelings, we will feel very stressed. Our body knows when we are lying to ourselves. Migraine headaches start, fibromyalgia, some forms of cancer, many aches and pains occur all due to stress. Anger is a wake up call to ask yourself, "Why am I feeling so strongly? What do I really need?" When I revisit my first marriage I think to myself my anger was my first clue that I was being manipulated. In lieu of eating it, when he told me I should love him unconditionally I instinctively knew he was treating me poorly. I could have left. I could have told him his behavior was unacceptable â€“ that in itself wouldn't have changed anything, but raising my voice and losing my temper only made me look crazy to his cool. I could have taken steps to protect myself better financially and otherwise. I could have said to myself, if not him, "When Bob manipulates me, I feel afraid for my person, because he is not above bald face lying to me." If I had said that to myself the first time he made me angry, instead of getting into a fight with him, I could have saved myself much heartache. I feel so guilty about dragging my son through that marriage and divorce, for what? To prove to a narcissistic husband I knew how to love unconditionally? Why not just admit defeat and get out. No one can love a narcissist. A narcissist doesn't even love himself! By the same token, my second husband, not a born narcissist, became one through his drug addiction. If I had owned being angry with his poor financial decisions, made when he was loaded, I could have protected myself. Instead I trusted his wisdom, accepting him as the "Spiritual head of the household." The last time I was angry was when I noticed how guilelessly my two co-workers milk the clock. One writes down she's in every day at7:30 when the truck with the mail doesn't even arrive until 8:00. She isn't there at 7:30. She comes in at 7:45 and reads a magazine until 8:10 when the driver completes unloading. There's no talking to her. She acts like an autistic person and completely ignores all conversation directed toward her, although she has never been diagnosed. I don't have authority over her any way. So I asked myself what was I needing that my anger symbolized. I realized what I really wanted was recognition of myself and my own work ethic. I didn't like the perception that people have that I am the only person who works at the Post Office, thus the mistakes this odd woman makes, people occasionally attribute to me. Once I realized what I needed I was able to be kind to myself and I found my tension dissipating. I realized I couldn't care more than the contract owner about his two moronic employees. Especially because I am not their supervisor it fell under that wonderful 12 step saying, ". . . the wisdom to accept things I can not change. . . ."
Next >> Setting Up a Single-Parent Home