Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Hate and the inherited anger

How's this for strong feelings!

I know - a bit cliche, but that was the theme of the poem too.

Anyway I am sure that everyone reading this can close their eyes and remember feeling this way about someone who they loved or even still love.

Or maybe not. Not everyone experiences such strong feelings of anger and hate.

I used to have a terrible temper. I couldn't control it at all. I inherited it from my father. Yeah. I know, it wasn't a born in trait but a learned behaviour. My father used to fire up pretty quickly, sometimes for not real reason at all. He would go all red in the face and shout so much that he would sort of froth at the mouth. Sometimes his dinner would go all over the wall, at the other side of the room! Glasses were not safe at all. But I do not remember him slapping (really laying into us that is) me or my siblings when he was in a rage.

I know he didn't hit my mother either. But that sort of temper is still terrifying for everyone around it. I tried to be so good so that I would not draw his ire on me.

My mother on the other hand was so cool. She never lost it with him. There really would have been no point. But I don't think it diffused his temper, in fact, I think it made him all the angrier. But he really could do nothing more against her because she did not react. I know how frustrating that is - it is like hitting a pillow. Very unsatisfactory.

Well, I developed a temper like his. I used to go into my room and throw my possessions around the place and hit the wall and things like that. it was terrible. I did not know how to control it at all. In fact I didn't realise that I was supposed to control it. I thought that this was normal behaviour. We were fiery Russians after all. Temperamental and passionate. But I remember how exhausting that sort of behaviour is. It does not actually release the anger and frustration, in fact it does the opposite. The angrier you become the more you wind yourself up until you are so angry that you think you will burst and then there is nowhere to go so you just sort of collapse in tears and frustration. You remain all hot and bothered and it takes ages to cool down again.

This anger followed me for many, many years and possibly my biggest regret is that my son thinks of me as an angry person to this day - moody Mary he calls me. Ironically i have to thank my husband for eventually teaching me to control my temper. It is ironic because he was the cause of so much of my anger during our marriage. It was only as our marriage was ending that I realised if I was ever to win an argument with him I would have to control that terrible rage. And so i did. It was miraculous, like a complete catharsis. As if the scales fell from my eyes and I could control it and I could finally see clearly about the damaging nature of such a terrible anger. Damaging for yourself but also for those around you - especially your children.

I rarely get angry now - and if i do it is just not that same debilitating fury. It is wonderful. In itself it has a really calming effect on me - so I just get more and more chilled. Happy days :-)

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