I know all the sage words, and wonderful Google Images quotes, about the inadvisability of letting angry words out, lest you regret them later. For this reason, I let this post rest overnight. But I feel strongly that anger, as a part of the grieving process, becomes truly dangerous when dammed up and suppressed. I also feel that calling bullies by their true name and refusing to swallow anger in the face of their endless intimidation is the right thing to do. Never once did I rage against an act of bullying. Never once did I fight back. It needs to come out in my writing because the alternative is unthinkable (especially as many of the bullies are now gone from my life – though their scars remain). I am not holding on to anger any longer. I am letting it out – and that is the first step to letting a powerful emotion go. My friends will understand.
Grief is not a neat linear narrative. It is not a tick box in which we can put a little red symbol against each stage when we think we’ve passed its metaphorical GCSE with an A* to C grade. It is ongoing, chaotic and consuming. At times, we find it almost impossible to work out which stage we are in, so raw and diverse are the emotions we are experiencing.
My natural grieving process for my father (who died nine years ago) was abruptly and shockingly stopped at an early stage. Deprived of that normal and needful working through phase, I internalised the anguish. I stopped crying far too soon and have never worked through to a healthy anger, let alone acceptance.
Divorce and house-selling are two of the other major grief-inducing catalysts in our lives. I recognise that the three have become interwoven, a plait of pain – and that I have, with ferocious suddenness, landed hard upon anger’s square. Unfortunately, my feet have also slid onto its adjacent squares of distrust and bitter cynicism.
Things which, for years, I accepted as right, no more than I deserved, I am now boilingly furious about. I am raging in my current powerlessness and totally pissed off that I have been told, so often, that abuse is for my own good, that it hones the spirit, makes me a better person. I am sick and tired of those who have dismissed my sharing or tried to tell me that I am wrong, crazy, over-reactive to feel the intensity of grief and distress fully. I am filled with loathing for those who insist, from their cosy little lives, that I am making a mountain out of a molehill; I am raging at the insulting triteness of people who try and convince me that I could switch my emotions off NOW if I chose.
I am newly and violently bitter that so much has been taken away from me since my father died; that people have haemorrhaged from my life because they would rather see me as a liar and a fantasist than face what has gone on. I am furious that I have had to spend so much money in order to free myself from a toxic situation and I am frightened about my financial future. But most of all, I am shrieking with incandescent rage that this is still going on: That I am trapped and there is no current way out – and that I cannot leave the situation, or the house, until the final legal seals are wax-burned onto paper.
I am sobbing and screaming inside that my father’s death and its aftermath proved such a poisoned chalice, opening a vast wound in all of us which has never healed. How the fuck could it? I am gibbering with anger that I was caught in the middle (as is happening now) between two stubborn entities, one more than willing to use the dirtiest tricks in the book in order to win.
I am, in all honesty, sick to death of being told that tough love is good for me – as if it were a divine and absolute truth – by people who argue the toss vehemently if anyone dares to try such a technique on them.
I am completely outraged by the way the insensitive of this world call me ungrateful or stupid or self-pitying when I express the necessary and normal emotions of the grief process. I have a right to my feelings whether others like them or not. I am tired of being at the receiving end of nastiness falsely called by other, more acceptable, names in order that bullies can continue to deny what they really are.
I am roiling inside at the assumption, made by a small minority, that I, in some way I fail to understand, have to be told off because I clearly (in their eyes) lack any kind of self-knowledge, self-criticism or awareness of my faults. Do these people really think I am that blind and insensitive and stupid?
I am tired of having to calm other people’s anger to the detriment of my own. Of having to apologise endlessly for being me to people whose own behaviour and attitude is no better, and in many cases far worse, than mine.
Yes, I have reached anger. Thank Goddess for that. It is time I did, frankly. It is time I stood up and said, ‘I have had enough.’ Anger is far better than the endless suppression of it. I am buggered if I am going to be kept in a depression I do not genuinely have (and sedated with antidepressants in order to calm me down) for another year, ten years, two decades. I am not depressed. I am desperately, and understandably, unhappy and angry and sick of it all.
Perhaps my greatest anger is directed to myself because I still allow people to bully, intimidate and gaslight me despite knowing the signs.
We do not, as humans, have to smooth over the ‘negative’ emotions, or go along with this belief that they are dangerous, wrong and bad. We are not obliged to be kind, patient, accepting and endlessly apologetic for any transgression. A brave face is wonderful, but we are not wrong, or weak, if some days we cannot wear one. When others seek to mute our pain, or anger, or grief, it is they who need to leave our lives and not the essential phases of the bereavement/grief process.
Anger is not a crime.