I don’t like feeling angry. Usually, if something makes me mad I’m usually able to brush it off very quickly. However, as I’ve written about my feelings of unworthiness, selfishness, and how everything has been overwhelming for me, I’ve managed to work myself into a fit of anger.
It starts out small and kind of sneaks up on me. I don’t realize I’m angry until it’s too late, when I snap at everyone for every little thing. And then, that makes me all the more angry.
What am I angry about? Nothing, Everything. None of it. All of it.
I shouldn’t be angry. There’s nothing I can do about it. And that makes me angry.
I want the pain to go away. I hate it. It’s stolen everything from him. His career. His livelihood. His health. His fatherhood. His desires. His dreams. His self-image. His happiness. His life.
It’s stolen our lives. Holidays, family outings, even regular old chores around the house. I get angry that it’s always up to me to do everything. I get angry that no I have to work. I have to do the chores. Where was the man I married? Why can’t I have a normal life? We can’t even plan a real vacation. Overnight trips are the worst for him. When we do try, it’s like we’re always expecting the pain and anxiety to take him away and cut our outing short. We never go anywhere that is more than an overnight stay.
I get angry that he’s lost all his excitement, his desires. He doesn’t want to do anything anymore. He feels helpless, a burden, and he fears failure so he doesn’t do anything. I know he wants to. But his pain and fear bind him. When I try to find something I know he’d be good at, or I think should excite him, or something that maybe he wouldn’t feel so useless, he pushes back. And I get angry.
But the anger isn’t just mine. It’s his, too.
Before we knew what was going on he was prone to angry outbursts for no reason. And boy could he get angry. Rage was more like it. It scared me.
I, being the non confrontational kind, sat there and said nothing, fearing that if I did I would trigger even more anger. Also, being the person I am, I thought it was always my fault and I didn’t want to make it worse. So I sat in silence waiting for it to pass. Some days he would be fine. But on those days when the wind blew wrong, I held my breath and walked on eggshells.
Years have gone by, I stuck through it. I always held hope that things would get better. While his condition worsened, I still loved him. We found out a lot of things over the years, learned to talk to each other. It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with PTSD that we really understood a lot of it. The chronic pain and the medications didn’t help either. And now, I’m learning that there may be more to it than we realized. After going back through the memories, talking more in-depth about all the accidents he’s had, and me researching, we now think maybe he has been suffering from undiagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI) all these years (which he is currently undergoing testing–not sure how that will play out since his accident was 15 years ago).
The most important thing, though, is that I am there by his side, through sickness and in health. I give him my support. We learned to communicate, not just talk or yell. We continue to learn how to identify our feelings and reassure each other that it isn’t the other’s fault.
Yes, of course we still get angry. We all do. We are not perfect. But it’s not terminal.
Shakespeare said, “Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy trial.” (All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 2 Scene 3) Anger never creates anything. It is the destroyer of everything that is good. Take a deep breath, count to ten (or a hundred), eat a cookie. Tomorrow is another day.