Yesterday’s Email

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Hi Tim,

I guess because it is Christmas ir [sic] Hanukkah – Jewish annual doy [sic] of atonement- that I’m reaching out to you.

First may you Rhonda rachael,[sic] Nicholas and wesley [sic] all have a blessed and joyfull [sic] Christmas and New year.

Next in tune with Hanukka [sic] I want to say I’m sorry for all the angry feeling I’ve had toward you this year and want to apologise [sic] for any of those that have hurt you.

This may sound conrtite [sic] or strange but in listening to a Jewish psycologist [sic]  friend of mine explain the purpose for Hannukka [sic] and its asking for forgiveness, as he explaind [sic] forgiveness blesses both the forgiven in that the guilt and pain is expunged and the forgiver in that forgivness [sic] is the beginning of healing.

And I hope both of these for you.

My reply:

 

 

Ed,

The Jewish Day of Atonement is not Hanukkah, it is Yom Kippur.   Known as the Jewish “Day of Atonement”, Yom Kippur begins on the evening of 11 October. It falls each year on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, ten days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is a day to reflect on the past year and ask for forgiveness for any sins. Rosh Hashanah extends to asking forgiveness of God.

 

 

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights in December. This holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

 

 

I’m an atheist because I’ve studied religions.

 

 

Forgiveness.  Although is can be said that we will all have need for the gift of forgiveness – both as forgiver and forgiven at some point in our lives, it is far more complicated than the assigned rhetoric or dogma will have you believe.  It is not a single act, but a sustained and ongoing process dependent upon the sincere and devout works of the transgressor, which in turn allows for an open-heart in those he has wounded.

 

 

Forgiveness can only be the beginning of healing when the transgressor admits his wrongdoing, assumes all responsibility for what he did as well as for what it caused, and then endeavors to make it right — whatever that takes, for as long as it takes. Without this, forgiveness is a fallacy; meaningless and empty for both parties.

 

Anger is not a primary emotion, it is secondary – a choice we make, and it is seldom, if ever, valid. Anger provides a surge of energy and makes us feel temporarily in control … and it is far more comfortable to feel in the moment than our true emotions – usually sadness, defeat, fear, anxiety, dread, vulnerability.  You, Ed, have always chosen anger.  The father I remember was always mad.  Always.  Nothing has changed.

 

I do not care that you were angry with me this year, that was your choice.  Everything – from beginning to end, was and is on you; all I did was tell my story.  If you wanted the ending to be different, you should have taken greater care while writing it.

 

And, if you wanted forgiveness for what you’ve done, you’d have taken a far different tactic when you felt threatened and confronted — you’d have remembered that you are the source for all that has come to pass, and held yourself accountable.  You chose anger.

 

I think you may need a reminder; I am not like those in your life now, I know who and what you really are.  I am not fooled by your false wisdom or attempts at intellect, I won’t fall for that calm placating voice and the manipulations of others it affords you – I am the son you cruelly and brutally abused.  I’ve seen and lived your darkness; there is no light or goodness in you that I can find.

 

 

 

Tim

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Reconciliation: A Caution Based on What I’ve Learned

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You begin to heal when you say, “No more.”  It took me a long time to recognize that – to feel the efficacy within “No More.”  It happened gradually  — when I realized the balance of power had naturally shifted because I had grown up. Eventually, I shut the door and never went back.

For me, no contact was the answer, and I maintain I had no choice, but many abuse survivors don’t walk away – for whatever reason, they hold on to dysfunction, often enduring a lifetime of abuse.

The attempt at reconciliation with Ed was a mistake on my part – people do not change.  I still believe people can change, but it takes a level of focus and commitment few possess.  It’s hard enough to make subtle changes – to lose weight, or resolve to save more money; changing the whole of who we are is damn near impossible.  And when dealing with an abuser, the need is a change in everything they are.

So I’ll amend that; I believe we can change aspects of who we are, but we cannot change our essence or our core.  A man who can beat his child – brutally and without mercy, will always be that man …

Real change begins with deep personal reflection, devoid of any and all denial, and progresses to the assumption of full responsibility for what you did and for what it caused. Finally, it entails making amends – not just with yourself, but with everyone you have hurt.  This last part can take the remainder of an abuser’s lifetime …

and those imbued with the capacity to abuse aren’t the kind who invest themselves in taking care of the wounds of others – they remain readily able to inflict pain, but not to soothe it.

Reconciliation with your abuser is a risky proposition, and it almost always fails.  In the trial, we are reminded of the pain – it can be a living hell.

I went to dinner with my father, sat beside him at a ballgame or theatrical production; spoke of trivial things, and not so trivial things, but it never felt right – or OK.  I was always his child in those moments – something I did not want to be, something I never wanted to be, something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy; he was, and ever will be, the father who beat and tortured me, the man I so feared and despised.

I learned a great deal in our correspondence, the written word so revealing of who we are inside.  He was candid, very matter-of-fact in his narcissism and grandiose belief in who he is today – so delusional in his own certainty in who he is:

Excerpt – 10/25/2014

“I have been thinking that one of my favorite Plays , and recent movie, Les Mis, has much meaning to my life with Janet. (Janet, my sister with developmental delays) I’m not good at character names, but I ‘m sure you and Rachael (my daughter) can follow along.. I’m thinking Janet and myself as the characters the ex prisoner and the woman’s small child. If I hadn’t stepped up to take care of Janet she would have remained in the State Hospital system and would have died simply a lost sole and her beauty and love cloistered from the world.”

Very determined to make me believe he was different, he played upon my compassion and empathy – he tried desperately to manipulate my feelings:

October 12, 2014

“Tim,

I came back early from my retreat at the Camaldise Monastery at Big Sur, I usually go off for a retreat at least once a year and alternate between Big Sur and the Monastery of the Redwoods, west of Garberville.

I usually go to get away for a few days where I can just be alone – fitting for the Introvert I am. The first day is mostly meditating and falling asleep as I meditate and simply catching up on needed rest. So why is this important?

During one of these sleeping meditations I woke up and realized I was crying. At 1st, I thought I was happy because of the wonderful “family” e-mail I had received before I left for the monastery. It took only a few seconds to realize that was not it at all, I was extremely sad. It was because into the middle of the ideal family e-mail spanning 20-30 years, there was a period of horrific pain, anger and mental distress for which I was responsible, and the pain hurt

.

I got up, closed the door to my room and sat with that pain, crying some more, then sat there and thought how I was going to say this to you. I came home a day early, thinking the long drive would help me decide how to tell you and arrived late last night. I was too emotionally drained and tired to put this down in words last night so I went to bed and am writing it now. This is how it came out.”

 

When considering reconciliation with an abusive parent, there is a ten-point check list to determine your own readiness, but perhaps the single most important consideration is this:

  • Have we both experienced significant emotional growth and change since we estranged? Or, are we the same as we were at the time of our estrangement?

 

I will say that it is crucial that you have grown and healed, but it is far more important that your parent has grown – and this growth MUST include the ability to accept without comprise all of what they did, all of what it caused – and they must be willing to make it right, whatever that entails FOR YOU! And all of this must be sustained throughout the course of any relationship that follows.  

Be careful if it seems too easy – never have the words “if it seems too good to be true it probably is,” been more true.

Be alert and ready to recognize false remorse, manipulation and gaslighting.

And don’t feel like you have to forgive until you are ready – and if that time never comes, understand that that is OK.

Just as it took time and contemplation to understand exactly how damaging my abusive childhood was, it will take time to fully process the impact of my failed attempt at reconciliation with my father:

It’s painful to realize your parent is a monster …

but it’s even more devastating to recognize that in the years of estrangement, all they have done is sharpen their claws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled: A Letter To My Parents

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Pat and Ed,

It is sometimes difficult to remember that your treatment of me was never about me, and always about you.  You so often told me I was bad I believed it myself.  And because I was bad, I deserved every act of abuse you levied against me. Today I see clearly just how fucked up you were – and still are, but as a child I took responsibility for everything you did to me.

I was twenty years old when I began dating Rhonda, and she was the first person I ever told about the beatings and other abuse.  I was ashamed to tell anyone; by then I knew what you had done was wrong, but it was humiliating to speak of. I was conflicted emotionally, and I didn’t yet understand the abuse viscerally, so I kept it all inside.

When I say Rhonda was the first person I told, I mean she was the first person I told other than Lois (my maternal grandmother) who questioned me about the bruises I had on my ass and legs when she was giving me a bath one night – I may have been four or five; “Daddy spanked me,” was the answer; she expressed her disgust – her hatred of Ed, but nothing more than that.  And then there was the gym teacher who questioned why I could hardly walk after the beating Ed gave me with the tree branch – I told him my father had spanked me a little too hard, but that I had deserved it. I actually took responsibility for that violent, rage inspired beating; I protected you, Ed.  It was years later, when I was an adult and had access to my CUM folder from my school years, that I realized exactly how many people knew you abused your children – and, of course, exactly how reviled they were by you.

It was a different world then – you could get away with abusing your children.  Most people believed that unless a child was in danger of losing his life, he belonged with his parents.  No one yet understood that the assumption of love inherent to that belief – a blind faith that all parents love their children and would never knowingly cause them harm – was fallacious in many cases.  No one was ready to face the stark, cold and bleak reality that for some children, parental love is nonexistent. Love in our home was a concept –  a word we used, but a feeling and emotion none of us knew or understood.

Ed, you speak of your affinity for Janet in a way that borders on unhealthy obsession – and you beat Elizabeth and I without feeling or remorse.  There is so much contradiction and conflict in this picture of your character I have no idea where to begin; it troubles me to the very core of my being.  When you speak of how you felt when we left Janet in institutional care – how difficult that was for you emotionally, I cannot feel empathy for you because you are the same father who tortured your other children.  How am I supposed to reconcile this?  It makes no sense.  If you actually did feel a deep connection to Janet, why did it not extend to Elizabeth and I – were we not your children, too?  Did we not deserve to know a kind, loving and compassionate father?

And Pat, even to this day you deny, so you haven’t stopped abusing.  You blame much of the content of this blog on my having Bipolar Disorder, which is despicable even for you.  I’m told you may be sick, and if you are sick, I’m sure you believe the cause to be your broken life – the stress and pain you have endured along the way.  I’m in no position to dispute the truth in that belief; I know all too well there are limits on what one can endure, and what happens when we’re taken past the point of no return.  Odd to think that maybe – perhaps, we’re in the same metaphorical boat – and you actually put yourself here too. If you are suffering the effects of what you have done, and those effects have manifested in illness, you and you alone bear the responsibility.  I did not write this story, Pat, I’m just telling it; you have always been unfeeling – incapable of empathy or remorse, love or affection – motivated only by what is best for yourself; I pity you, I always have.

You were young, and you  had no business having children.  Your marriage was less than ideal, and built on a shaky foundation.  You had an ill child and no money.  I understand all of that, but it does not excuse anything you did to Janet, Elizabeth and I – it never has and it never will.  At the end of the day, you destroyed your own children.  I have grieved for who I was meant to be – the boy you killed, who never got the chance to exist – the man he would have become.  I have mourned the absence of a mother and father throughout my life – all I had were tormentors who, in the end, were too stupid or blind or self-deluded to understand why I left and never came back.  And I have walked through hell and back to save myself after you made it crystal clear in my childhood that I couldn’t count on anyone else, least of all you, for love and support, or even a family and a soft place to land.

I would love to be able to say in honesty, “I’m over it; I have no desire to hurt back, no need for hatred or vengeance or retribution, but I can’t; it will have to be enough to say in honesty,”I will never avail myself of hatred or vengeance or retribution.”  Although all are owed, deserved, and ordained by the principle of Karma – I will not be that force.

I look at my children and know they are, quite simply, the best part of who I am.  There is nothing I would not do for them, no lengths I would not go to ensure their happiness and well being.  My life – my marriage, the kind of father I am and will always be, is what is supposed to be, what is meant to be.  If you fail your children, you have failed at life itself. What right do you have to a happy life if you betray and harm your child?

But, I will not be that Karmic force in your life, no matter how much I may want to be, because I will not be that man in the eyes of my children.  

Tim

Reconciliation: A Step Back

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Ed,

Just so we’re clear — my ability to communicate effectively isn’t altered due to Bipolar Disorder; you and I just think in fundamentally different ways.  I teach, I write, I perform a highly technical and complex job and I interact with friends, colleagues and family with no glitches at all – my cognition isn’t different from anyone else’s, nor is it in any way impaired.  (psychosis not withstanding, but you haven’t known me in a psychotic state, or anything even close to a psychotic state) Be careful assigning your failure to properly communicate with me to my having Bipolar Disorder – to make such a ludicrous assumption would be to display your ignorance and bias.

Here’s the issue:  I don’t understand how it is – how it can possibly be, that you don’t understand the story, or that you are unable to get it. You wrote the story for the first two decades of my life; you beat me, Ed.  You were an asshole – not just one day, but every day.  My memories are clear and vivid and real, so please don’t try to exonerate yourself by oh so ignorantly asserting that my memory is impaired, or my cognition faulty, due to Bipolar Disorder. If the fault lies in memory impairment, or cognition, you’re the one with the problem.

I didn’t write the letter about mental illness to give you an excuse for poorly communicating with me, I wrote it to give you some background; if you can say “happiness is a fickle virtue,” of Elizabeth not being able find real happiness, after all I had shared with you, you obviously don’t understand all she deals with because of your reprehensible parenting.  If what you got out of that letter was a belief that my responses to you are different than you expect because I have Bipolar Disorder, I can’t help you understand — no one can, you see ONLY what you want to see.  You don’t get it because you don’t want to – you cannot face yourself.

The fact is, during the first twenty-two years of my life, you failed Universally; as a father and as a man.  That is the story, that is all there is to it.  And after the ball game, when you went into the bathroom through the exit – presumably so you didn’t have to wait in line, I was appalled.  Where is the kindness and consideration you want me to believe is so much a part of you today?  Where is the integrity?  That was an asshole move.  Now, if there is something I don’t know – if you went in and waited in line, or if you are incontinent due to having had prostate cancer, I will amend my sentiments, but if it is nothing more than it appeared to be, the move speaks to your character and I don’t like what it says.

Regarding the bet YOU made.  What I felt when reading your texts was two-fold: one, you had to address something – meaning I could just wait in your opinion, without even the consideration of your telling me you had to end our conversation for the time being, and two; you were attempting to weasel out of your bet.  Perhaps I don’t get your sense of humor, I don’t think I ever did, actually, but you came across badly and that is on you, not on me, so it has nothing to do with Bipolar Disorder. I understood exactly what you said, and what you implied.

It should be fairly obvious to you by now I am still angry – I didn’t really think I was, but the bathroom incident at the ballgame, followed by the bet text, followed by your most recent email to me has shown me that I am, and rightfully so.  I’ve let a lot go, but not everything and I don’t think I can do that until you get honest with yourself, and with me, about the monster I knew you to be when I was a child.

You want me to detail every beating so you can share my pain — they all look just like the ones you’re willing to recall.  There were dozens of them, Ed.  I begged you for mercy, which you never gave.  You humiliated me time and time again.  The self-admitted asshole you were the day of the church picnic IS THE MAN WHO RAISED ME – HE IS THE ONLY FATHER I REMEMBER.  I cannot make this anymore clear.  You were a miserable bastard, a complete and utter failure, and your failure led to some pretty dire consequences; I’m reminded every single day when I take Risperdal, Wellbutrin and Lithium of the father you were.

But I am not unable to communicate properly because of that man – you are.  Read what I write, listen to what I say — and take it as gospel, don’t spin it, don’t see it through your eyes.  I am not a hard-headed, stubborn Shockley, I abhor that trait, that kind of person – I am able to see and feel and process the pain of others, even when doing so makes me understand myself to be a miserable human being. Sometimes it’s necessary to see ourselves through another’s eyes to truly know ourselves.

When you can do that, when you’re ready to do that, please let me know.  Until then, enjoy your trip, don’t drink too much bourbon, and we’ll see you and Marie for Catch Me If You Can and dinner to follow on June 12th.

Tim

Understanding

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My therapist has suggested small, targeted, facilitated group therapy for my continued care – I’ll still see her PRN, but this group addresses aspects of my life that can lead, when not successfully managed, to stress and relapse.

The first session was on Forgiveness.  Interesting timing as I have been actively trying to forgive my father …

In our situation, I put reconciliation before forgiveness – it usually works the other way around.  I had to know him today to determine if forgiveness is even possible – the man he was in my childhood didn’t deserve consideration from me.

Come to find out, forgiveness was never for him to start with – not that he doesn’t want it or need it – but for me.  I know, lots of you tried to tell me this, but it didn’t make sense – forgive him for my peace of mind?  Really?  I kind of see it now.

Here’s the thing:  he is trying really, really hard – and I appreciate that.  I see his effort – it is tangible, palpable and sincere. And that effort, that feeling that comes from knowing we are both striving to rebuild and reconnect in a new, healthy, positive way is what allows me to say – I want to forgive my father.

Yet there are times when my anger with him is just below the surface; I am not as patient with him as I would like to be – as I know I should be.  The past cannot simply be erased, and it does have an impact on the here and now.  None of this is easy – my wife says I make it look easy, at least most of the time, but it takes concerted effort in certain moments to remain calm and centered, focused only on today – and sometimes my struggle is  obvious.

I work diligently to control Bipolar anger and rage, and I know Ed has battled anger and rage issues of his own throughout his life – for the common ground you’d think this might provide, it doesn’t …

I have never once raged at my children.  I have never lost control and hit my children.  I have never hurt them, and I damn sure haven’t ever beaten them …

So anger and rage, which might be seen by Ed and I as a common enemy, actually leaves me feeling in all ways superior to him – as a human being, as a man, and most importantly as a father.

Ed doesn’t know how to be a father – based on what I experienced as a child, and what I still see today, fatherhood is utterly foreign to him. He tries now, and that means a lot, so I remind myself that I can’t hold him accountable for not understanding that which he lacks the innate ability to understand …

I was, and still am, an emotionally connected father – my respect, love and admiration for my children knows no bounds.  I built relationships with them that began the moment they were born.  I was never punitive or authoritarian – I taught by example and I explained right and wrong over and over and over again, patiently.  I wanted them to like who I am, to respect – not fear me, and to love me genuinely, not merely because I am their father.  I knew all of this, somehow I just knew it …

and Ed didn’t.

So I am choosing to forgive, because it is right for both of us.

At some point, I hope the residual anger dissipates …

and I hope my feelings of superiority melt into a true sense of friendship and equality, because I really am committed to having a new and meaningful relationship with  my father.

Propensities and Principles – of Reconciliation

“Propensities and principles must be reconciled by some means.”  –Charlotte Bronte

Reconciliation with an estranged family member is possible, despite the bleak statistics … the failure rate is staggering.

I’d read and researched, been up and down with my father in my attempt at understanding – I’d spoken to my wife, children, friends, mother-in-law and therapist.  I’d listened to the advice of my readers …

Somewhere in the process I realized that relating to him now based solely on residual feelings from childhood – my being reactive (negatively) to everything he said, and my not seeing him for the man he is today wasn’t productive.  My anger – justified or not, was standing in the way of problem solving.  And about this same time, I began to understand that I wanted the problem of estrangement solved, and I wanted it all to have a happy ending … if that was possible.

So, I stepped back and away from what happened when I was a child and suggested we start with today. Build a connection now – a new connection based on our lives in the present.  I told him about my family and my life during the years since we’d last seen each other, I gave him hope in the form of sharing a few fond memories I had of him while I was growing up, and I invited him to an evening out with our wives.

 I extended an olive branch …

remembered my own principles; ‘a man should not be defined by his mistakes, but by what he does to make them right.’

And in remembering who I am, it dawned on me:

I had to give him a second chance.

In my anger and pain I hadn’t realized that believing in second chances meant I had to offer something, too – a willingness, an open heart. 

I thought, eventually, we’d have to revisit my childhood – but armed with a new connection, a solid bond, the moment would play itself out differently – it would be less complicated and more constructive – less painful and more resolute – less angry and more understanding.

Maybe my decision was wise, I don’t really know.  What I do know is that I no longer feel a need to speak of my father’s mistakes with him, no need to revisit my childhood and make the man he is today confront the father he was then.  He may not have been the father I needed as a child, but he gets an A+ for effort now.

In addition to getting my father back, I’ve gotten a far more complete understanding of my childhood – something I needed to feel whole emotionally.

I admire and respect his approach – to this day he will not speak to me disparagingly about my mother.  This is, even in my family where my mother has caused a sea of pain, destruction and heartbreak, the right thing to do.   Denigration is not the key to understanding, truth is.

If propensity represents the dark side of human nature, as Bronte suggests, acting on  our principles allows us to be something greater …

and to have something greater:

relationships based in truth, understanding, kindness, loyalty … and maybe even forgiveness.  

Tangled Web

I think when a father becomes agitated by the knowledge that his son, his siblings and niece are in contact after many, many years it means the father has something to hide …

When Ed discovered I was once again in contact with his family, he nearly lost his mind.

He demanded  [of his young niece and siblings]  that attention be paid to the fact that he did not like this development.  He did this openly and in private, on Facebook.

Now why in the world should it bother Ed if I have a relationship with his siblings and niece?

If he had nothing to hide, it wouldn’t bother him in the least.

And anyone with the ability to think critically would know that.

Ed, do you think we’re all stupid?

Do you think everyone believes your lies and manipulations?

What are you hiding from … ?

And what are you so afraid of?

What was of threat to you?

Oh, I see:

The truth.

Just remember:  I didn’t write this story, you did.

I’m just telling it:

For my own closure, peace and sanity, I have no choice.

My silence has cloaked your sins and given credence to your lies …

I hate knowing that now that I’m well:

it makes me feel complicit in your morally bereft life.

 

 

Why Now?

Dear Reader,

First of all:

I write as time permits – sometimes several posts in a day, and then I use the calendar on the Publishing tool to post for me at a preset time. I don’t pay much attention to what gets posted when – and I don’t actually write every day.  I work.  I spend time with my family.  I read, make beer, practice martial arts, cook and travel. I watch Game of Thrones and House of Cards. I journal for my emotional well being, but I’m not a prolific writer – although I’ve been made aware that it appears I am.  Alas, I’m not – all hail a calendar that will post for me.

Another thing that has been brought to my attention: my writing has taken on an angry tone.  I suppose it has.

Being comfortable with my own anger is something I’m working on, and it really isn’t easy.  Anger was a big part of my depression, and my family got hurt because of it, so I’ve become Anger Aware.  I don’t get angry anymore, and I haven’t in over two years.

But I’m learning that I have a right to be angry with Ed and Pat

And I’m at a point in my own journey where I can embrace this anger in total wellness … so I am in complete control.

I would like to be angry with my parents directly, but that would only give them a platform for further abuse – they would deny all wrong doing.

So, I’m angry here.

Outraged here.

Furious here.

Why now?

It’s safe now.  I control it, it does not control me.

I’ve finally come to a place where I can unravel and determine how I feel about things without the lingering cloud of PTSD to color my thoughts and conclusions.

I see it all for what it truly was …

And I know exactly where it all led.

Why now?

I’m well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Intelligence and Anger

Anger, for the most part, is a secondary emotion – a cover-up for what we really feel; pain, heartbreak, fear, betrayal, helplessness, vulnerability …

It is easier to feel angry than it is to feel hopeless or lost or sad or victimized.  Often, anger is a choice we make.

That said, all human emotion is valid – we have the right to feel what we feel, even if that feeling is anger.

But healing – and/or anger resolution, requires that we get in touch with the primary emotion underneath.

Therapy, meditation, self-help literature, creative pursuits, spiritual study can all be beneficial, but the key is finding what works for you.

For me, its practicing martial arts — and this came about as a conscious decision I made to never again be anyone’s victim; I really loathe feeling victimized – it makes me mad, and I have learned, through studying Karate, to channel that anger for personal growth and good …

I was told that acquiring a black belt changes you – it does.  The grit and determination required to persevere through the challenges of progressing through the ranks is all consuming, and I used my anger as the source of energy and focus I needed to succeed; a positive spin on anger, a sometimes damaging emotion.

Karate gave me the life-skills and defensive tools I need to take care of myself, thus addressing my primary issue:  fear of being a victim.

And the skills I learn through practicing martial arts carry over to the rest of my life as well …

I don’t like feeling angry – it’s draining physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Anger is also difficult to contain, and it comes out in ways that hurt the people I love.  Anger leads to my making mistakes, which leads me to guilt, which takes me right back to depression.  No, thank you!

But when I identify the primary emotion – the one that leads to my feeling angry – and then determine what I can do to address it in a positive, effective way …

and then do it,

All, well maybe not All – I’m certainly not Pollyanna, is right with the world.

Now Righteous Anger, as I spoke of yesterday, is another matter entirely; this anger IS primary – I’m not trying to replace feelings rooted in any another emotion with anger.  Anger itself is what I feel.  There is a stand-alone reason for this kind of anger, but its mission is finite – even Righteous Anger must be released …

Anger is energy, both positive and negative – and what you do with it, and how you channel it, will determine outcome; I plan to pour this energy into Karate, and let it go when it has served its purpose, whatever that happens to be .

 

Anger

I find catharsis in writing this blog.  Writing is an outlet for my creativity, but also my anger: yes, I said anger.

For the longest time I wasn’t angry with Pat and Ed – I just went on with my life.  I am, in truth, a  laid back ‘Live and Let Live’ kind of guy, so this is in keeping with who I am, but I’m finding more and more that righteous anger is also part of who I am.

I am not talking about the psychotic rage filled anger that comes with a bout of Major Clinical Depression – that kind of anger is unfounded, based in illness, and quite destructive.

This anger is quiet and unyielding, and it is more like well-controlled fury than simple anger – but it isn’t destructive, quite the opposite actually–most importantly, this anger is based in total wellness.

Of all the things Pat and Ed did to me, nothing is more profound, terrible and damaging than causing me to have Bipolar Disorder, Dysthymia, PTSD and Major Clinical Depression – and let’s not forget serious abandonment issues and anxiety.

As bad as it was, the abuse itself I was able to walk away from.  I didn’t feel compelled to analyze and dig for deeper meaning.  I didn’t assign it an active role in my adult life – it didn’t drive me toward anything, even understanding.  I took my exit from Pat and Ed’s life and left it at that.

But now that I understand what they did, and what it caused, I am no longer able to simply close the door and walk away.

I have serious health concerns, and whereas I am completely well today, I wasn’t well for a long time–and there may come a time when I won’t be well again.  Mental illness requires diligent care and management, I can’t NOT think about it – that would be catastrophic.

Writing requires me to think everything through completely – what I post here is the culmination of hours of cogitation, and I now know exactly why my therapist suggested that I keep a journal — through writing I have been forced to explore my feelings in-depth, and I’ve gotten in touch with myself; I am God damned mad at Pat and Ed.

It is morally bereft to hurt your child.  It is reprehensible to allow someone else to hurt your child.  It is small-minded and ignorant to assume there was no permanent damage done when you know your child was hurt. And it is weak and personally repugnant not to own and accept responsibility for what you did and what it caused, Pat and Ed.

It took me a long time to get here, to a place where I can think clearly about my childhood and its undeniable impact on my life.  And to admit to being angry with anyone for anything is a very big and healing step for me; after all the pain my depressed anger caused my family, I vowed never to be angry again – with anyone, a promise I have kept for more than two years.

But some anger, I’ve learned [quite honestly just in the last few days] is good.  It is cleansing and appropriate; it just, fair and right.

It is morally sound and acceptable for me to be angry with Pat and Ed – the monsters who are directly responsible for the illnesses that almost destroyed my life.