Rage is a strong word. It conjures up images of big steroid-bloated men with snarls on red faces. Rage growls. Rage sneers. Rage explodes and destroys.
No one wants to associate themselves with rage and yet it’s rage that sneaks up and gets you by surprise. Rage is a hurt that never healed. Rage is the mushroom that appears after a heavy rain on the freshly, pristine manicured lawn. Where did it come from? How did it bloom so fast?
I’ll be honest there are the few moments when I can spout off like a boiling tea kettle letting off steam and a high-pitched squeal. Years ago, before I learned to turn to God, before I knew the power of prayer, I harbored boiling rage. I shouted, hollered, yelled, screamed, pounded my fists against a table, jumped up and down, desperate to release the fuming emotion if in the least to make it go away.
At that time anything and everything set me off. If it wasn’t within my control, the way I wanted it or would do it, and worse, if you went against what I felt was my truth (‘I swear I remember it this way’, or ‘I never said that’, or ‘That is not how it happened’) it flipped a switch and out came as a fit of rage.
My husband would be instigated by it at times, adding to the chaos but most often he’d leave me to my own self-destructive behavior. As many of you know, I didn’t really ‘see’ myself for who I’d become until I had children and saw ’me’ through my son’s very young and fearful eyes.
I did not want to be the person that made my son look at me with fear.
I certainly didn’t want to perpetuate another cycle of fear and abuse. That is the moment ‘I died to myself’ and gave all control to God. “Do with me as you will.” I remember saying, clearly.
Over a decade later, by the grace of God, I have managed to express anger as anger, frustration as frustration, and sadness as sadness. Almost. There are two times I ‘lost it’, yelling, screaming, desperate to be heard, out of control. Thankfully the voice was all that was raised but it’s as if I was stuck within myself and couldn’t get loose. I wanted to stop. To stuff the inflated raft back into the box.
With each of those moments, once calmed down, filled with shame and disgust I would think, “Where did that come from? I thought I was doing pretty good. I’m over it all.” It’s like the pristine grass, well cut, nice and green, void of fungus’ and scorched spots, however, a heavy rain passes over and within hours uproots and explosion of mushrooms.
Today, as I watched more coverage on the judge from Montana, Judge T. Todd Baugh, I felt anger for the poor victim who chose to take her life before the trial began. I felt outrage that the prosecuted offender got only 30 days in jail. And then I felt the water of rage boiling when I heard the judge said “The 14-year-old victim was older than her chronological age.” in effect saying she asked for it, despite the circumstance of the offender being her teacher, a person in authority over her and double her age.
There are moments when I have to turn the channel or turn these stories off because it makes me so angry. In fact, I didn’t write about this when it first came out because I couldn’t allow myself to feel the feelings it aroused. Yet, later today I was working on a project that discussed this concept of rage and I thought about what I felt that morning…and then I thought about one of the two times in 12 years I’ve been blind-sided by the explosion of rage.
The beauty of being able to look back and dig through the filth and dirt of the episodes is that it unearths a truth that can help to prevent an ‘explosion’ from happening again. In both instances I was digging deep (please excuse my continued puns) within my psyche to release all of the ugly truths of my past so that they could be let go, freeing me from the shame and unworth they harbored. However, digging that deep and unearthing those ugly seeds also unearthed the emotions that built up over time.
They’d been boiling for so long but the steam had no where to go until the most unexpected moment – a word spoken, a look given, or a situation that ‘triggered’ the emotion and BOOM!
No it’s not an excuse. I’m ashamed to even admit that this ever happens to me. Even one time is not good. But it’s truth. And I think it needs to be talked about because this type of pent up rage can keep someone from being ‘free’ and if not dealt with it can harm others, most specifically those you love.
For me, when it happened, I talked about it. I sought the help of a therapist and dealt with the unearthed feelings and emotions. If you recognize any of these occasional emotional explosions within you I strongly encourage you to tell someone and seek the appropriate help and counsel.
If you need help figuring out how to find that counsel or ways of finding support, please feel free to email me at email@example.com If you are in the Houston, TX or Tyler/Longview, TX area there are Maria Goretti Networks that are peer to peer abuse survivor support groups where you can go and talk about these feelings and situations to others that understand.
We are all God’s beloved and we all have the same rights and privileges to better ourselves but we don’t have the right to inflict our shame, anger, frustration, and sadness on the innocent around us. If you are experiencing these fits of anger and rage on a daily or constant basis, there is no excuse or reasoning to justify the harmful behavior. I strongly encourage you to remove yourself from your home before more harm is done to the innocent. Go and seek the help you and your family deserve.