Thursday, February 23, 2017

Anger

Ive been home sick all week. In my flannel pajamas, with my favorite sweater and slippers, doing nothing but napping and drinking tea infused with essential oils and letting myself get well. Maybe I needed this. Regardless it has given me a chance to write here which I always love. Even if no one reads it, which I am so grateful for my few readers that I have left, but blogging has always been my way of finding my way through this life that took me by surprise. I was supposed to share at an Alanon meeting this week, but had to postpone until next month. So Im going to use this space to kind of plot out my little share time. I was going to share about the anger I lived with for so many years. Actually for the first 40 years of my life, it would be accurate to say that I was livid. It was always stewing right under my big smile and assurances of how happy I was.

I was raised in an alcoholic home, by two violent alcoholics. The facts are that my needs weren't met there. I was not nurtured or cherished, I was not told that I mattered, that I was important...if anything we were expected to be quiet and stay out of the way. I grew up very afraid, ashamed, starving for affirmation of me, for guidance, for love and care. I know now that my parents were doing the best they could with what they had. My mom and I made peace a long long time ago and for my long time readers you know she lived with us the last 6 years of her life and my girls and I took care of her while she was in Hospice care the last 6 weeks of her life and it was the most miraculous, healing, beautiful, profound thing I have ever been a part of. My parents loved us, but were so broken they were incapable of conveying that. They weren't evil or bad, they were just broken inside due to their own mistreatment and untended wounds...and so the cycle continued on.

From that house I set off to forge my own life's path but I was seething inside without even realizing what I was feeling. I was driven to make my own way, to build a family with someone, to fill up this cavernous hole in my soul and to confirm, somehow, that I did in fact matter in this world. I was so misguided and so angry, I was doomed before I ever began. I can see that now, but at the time I was certain I knew exactly what to do to not be like my parents. I hadn't learned about compassion, humility, or powerlessness yet. I truly believed if I just tried hard enough I could make everything happen the way I thought it should.

Anyone who has done any work on themselves knows that anger is a secondary emotion. I was carrying around this emotion that was covering up all of the hurt and shame that was stewing beneath it. I spent years dealing with the outward manifestation of those things, squashing this anger, *trying* to not be mad, counting to 10, reading books on how to change, willing myself to be different....with very little to no success. I was hurting people with my words and my attitudes and my impossible expectations and that was most definitely not what I wanted to do. My exhausting efforts weren't enough to fix what was wrong inside of me though. I didn't know how to heal what was broken in me.

I had been given these 4 children, this faithful good man to be my partner through all of this and I was so hard on them. I was so afraid that what I was striving for, perfection, proving that I was good enough, that I mattered, that they mattered, that I was running as fast as I could to make it all happen...angry and afraid the whole time that I wouldn't be able to do it and that it would all fall apart.

See where this is going? lol

As the kids got older, one of them lost her way as you all know. She became the catalyst for an unearthing of everything I had ever held onto. Having one of your children suffer in this most awful disease will change you at your core and that proved to be very true for me. I have told her so many times that what we have gone through with her has given me an authentic life, it has stripped away anything that was a facade, it enabled me to learn to find my way through what is right in front of me, to deal with feelings as they come up, to acknowledge and face them...not deny and stuff away for later.

It all came crumbling down. I couldn't do it. I-couldn't-do-it. I had failed at what had felt like, my life depended upon.  All of the feelings I had held onto, stuffed away, the stringent control, ideas, the fear, the anger...none of it mattered. It all came pouring out like a mudslide....pouring and oozing over the sides and down down down, until my cavernous soul was empty.

I sobbed through my first Alanon meetings. I cried in grocery stores and had to leave my cart and go to the car to get myself together, I cried in every Starbucks in our county, I cried with friends, I cried in bookstores, while getting a pedicure, I cried with my kids, with my husband, with my mom and then she would cry, because she knew what this was. I cried and cried and cried, I was afraid I would never stop. As painful as this all was, it was also such a relief. It was over. All of my trying, all of my effort, the worst had happened. There was nothing to try for now. I had not been able to steer us away from all that I had feared so terribly. As those core heart feelings poured forth, so did the anger. I was beginning to see a glimmer of what freedom looks like. I think that so many of us would agree that to get to that place of authentic freedom, we travel through some deep times of suffering and turmoil.

I was so so fortunate to have found my way to a very healthy Alanon meeting that became my home group for many years. A place where I was hugged and told I was in the right place, that it was safe there, to go ahead and cry, that they all understood, to keep coming back, things would get better...no one told me what to do. They just let me be there, right where I was and they loved me in that place.

It was during that time that I had my spiritual awakening, that God spoke to my heart and said, "Im so glad you finally found your way here. Ive been waiting for you. All of that hard work was never my plan for you. Now lets start off together and I will show you the way."

I had never felt so accepted and so loved in my entire life. It was no accident that I finally had experienced what I had been striving for, at my most broken place.

As I kept coming back to meetings, as I got a sponsor, worked the 12 steps, layer by layer as things were revealed I would deal with them, which is a process I think I will go through until my dying day, I began to feel peace. I wasn't angry anymore. I was finally free.

I always say that we have to be the recipient of love and grace to be able to extend it to others....I have been given much, it humbles me to think of how much.

I hope this story speaks to someone today. I cried while writing it....this one is me, my innermost soul, on paper.

God bless us all.....
Annette











8 comments:

Still Breathing said...

Dear Annette,
I can't believe that youhave fewer followers. Every morning, I look to see if you have posted. I'm a single mother with two mentally ill sons. I admire you and your stories help me feel less alone in my journey. Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Every single word of this spoke to me. I did not have anger issues but I certainly thought I could control life by trying hard. Love and grace are hard for me to find as I live with so much crippling fear, daily. I wouldn't wish this path on anyone but I will tell you sincerely, that I, too, found my most authentic self in a place of brokenness.

Hope you feel better soon, friend. xo MS

Mary Christine said...

Thanks Annette. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Annette,

Another great, thought provoking post - thank you! I can relate to so much of it especially the anger. I hope you're feeling better.

Mary

Donohuli said...

Annette,
I too am an avid follower of yours....I believe you have MANY MANY MANY people who just resonate with your beautiful writing, your compassionate soul, and your innate wisdom. In this particular blog entry, I really resonate as I am now going through a very similar experience. I joined al Anon when I confronted my son's addictions and I was so paralyzed in fear, confusion, and raw emotion out of desperation I went to Al Anon and sought the help of an addiction counsellor. I am now beginning the work and am dealing with my own brokenness.

Never for one minute believe that there aren't people who anxiously await your next entry - and I am one of them.

Mark Goodson said...

I'm sorry you weren't feeling well, Annette. Hope you had a full recovery this week. What an incredible moment, the one when God spoke to you. It's so clear and purposeful. I love hearing the testimony of people who are guided and directed with purpose. Thanks for sharing!

Foxy said...

Thank you for being here. I have been going to AlAnon for about a year now and realize that someday I'll need to have my own sharing. So much of what you wrote sounds like what I've seen my mom experience. The anger that she held inside for so many years finally found its way out after us kids were all grown. I don't want that anger to grow inside of me, but it's so hard to have the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done to live my authentic self.

Pat said...

I enjoy and benefit from reading your posts. You may have more followers than you think. Blessings.