Tuesday, April 3, 2018

All My Rage: Let's Talk About Anger

Anger terrifies me. Other people's anger.
I'm quite comfortable with my own, though it's rare that I get truly angry.
My husband, however, has what he calls a "steam valve". He routinely lets loose with a string of expletives, or slams a door, or snaps at one of us. He's far better, thanks to a half-dozen sessions of mindfulness training. He's learning to respond rather than react. Still, it happens.
Ten seconds later, he's absolutely fine. Hardly remembers what he was annoyed at. I, on the other hand, have a knot in my stomach. I feel shaken.
And I hate it.
I hated it when I would wake in the night to my parents fighting. The yelling. The thuds on the wall that divided our bedrooms. The slamming doors.
I hated it when my brother would suddenly turn from the guy I adored to the guy I feared. Once or twice I was so battered and bruised my mother suggested a trip to the ER. Unfortunately, nobody was sober enough to take me.
So the math in my head goes like this: Anger = Chaos + Violence
In my world, if someone is angry, anything can happen. Marriages can go poof. Friendships can dissolve. Brothers can betray. Everything can fall apart.

I didn't want my childhood shaken. As long as nobody was angry, we could pretend that everything was fine. It wasn't, of course. My mother drank to quash her anger and hurt. My father drank to forget his frustration. My brother drank and smoked pot to silence his anger and confusion.
I raged.
I ripped the pink flowered wallpaper off my bedroom wall in a fury at 17.
I stormed out on boyfriends. I screamed at a teacher who took issue with one of my assignments.
I fought with my mother when she'd come home from the psychiatric hospital for a day or a weekend, despite my father's demand that I "behave". When she'd ask to go back early because of our argument, I would be blamed for "ruining the visit".
Girls aren't supposed to be angry. And so I drank too. I drank my shame. And I drank my hurt. And I drank my disappointment and my fear. And I drank my anger.
By my 20s, I had only two responses to pain: Absorb it. Or rage. 
Usually, I would absorb as much as I could, doing my best not to rock the boat. I continued to drink, which often distracted me from pain. Though there were plenty of nights when the alcohol allowed the wall to thin just enough, and then my grief would pour out. Or someone would say something I took offence to, and my anger, grateful to have a target, would unleash. 
All of which created a second equation: My Anger + Expression of it = Shame

Which brought me to the point when I learned of my husband's cheating. I swung wildly between debilitating emotional pain and a red-hot fury that consumed me. I destroyed an expensive watch, I trashed a diamond necklace, I knocked a television set onto the floor. I threw a hot pizza at my husband. I felt crazy. I was crazy. 
And then, my anger spent, I would feel empty. Void of anything except a deep shame at my lack of control. 
All of which kept me from taking steps to address my husband's infidelity. As long as the focus was on me and my anger – and I was locked in my own shame – I wasn't dealing with his behaviour.
My therapist taught me how to feel my anger without breaking things. She taught me that my anger was legitimate, that it had something to teach me. She gave me a new equation: 
Healthy Boundaries + Violation of Those Boundaries = Righteous Anger
I started to pay attention to my anger before it consumed me. I tried to notice when I'd get that flicker of irritation because my husband said something, or did something or didn't do something. I'd take the time to check in with myself. I became able to ask myself what my anger was telling me. Was I being disrespected? Taken for granted? Devalued?
We often talk on this site about how anger is a mask for hurt and fear. Which it is. It's what my therapist calls a "secondary emotion". Except. Except when it's not a secondary emotion. Except when it's a signal of something that deserves our attention. Except when it's signalling that we're in danger of betraying ourselves.
I don't always get it right. I'm still guilty of dismissing my anger sometimes until it makes itself known in unhealthy ways. I recently lashed out at my son for leaving his clothes lying around the house because instead of addressing it early on, I'd muttered to myself as I picked things up. My anger was telling me that I was feeling disrespected. That I was feeling unvalued. Taken for granted. He deserved my honesty. I deserved courtesy. Instead, I got angry, he responded with anger and little got resolved.
So...I'm learning. Anger might always be a problem for me because those early-life lessons leave deep marks in our hearts and our brains. But, slowly, I'm learning to use my anger to stand up for myself in a way that gets me heard. 



47 comments:

  1. Anger and WHo I Have become...these last 2 posts go hand in hand for me. Prior to D-Day I kinda went with the flow. Usually letting things roll off my back , avoiding confrontations, working like crazy. for 14 years we had one or two kids in college at a time. December 2014 our youngest graduated from college. January 2015 my H starts his affair.Go figure! Post d-day (October 2015) I have become a different person. I have taken stock in myself and realized that I could support myself without him. I also developed a fierce temper. I am not violent but I now have a very short fuse. I know I startled my H when I unleashed my temper on him because I have never yelled like that or used language like that.I continue to do so when triggered. I mourn the naivety of thinking I had a good man and good marriage. Through counseling both of us are working hard, My children who know nothing of the affair don't understand why I asked for and received a punching bag for Christmas. As for the COW, my biggest issue is that she only lives about 2 miles away and some day I may run into her at the store . I am not sure if I did see her what I would do. Suggestions?

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    1. My D day was October 11 2015 so I understand where you are in this process. I've come a long way since then but I still have bursts of anger when triggered or my H says something clueless and insensitive. The OW in our situation is referred to as the Spanish Sow and, yes, lives in Spain. Thank goodness there is so much of this planet between us. The thought of running into her in the store! I could end up in an orange jump suit. Sorry, I have no helpful suggestions but if you think it might happen, hold your head high and ignore her.

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    2. I’ve been worried ablut running into the OW as well lately. I live in a large metropolitan area ... she lives 20 miles away. But sitting in doctors offices or going to kid friendly places set off my anxiety.

      Thursday we had to take our newborn to his pediatrician for another weight check. I was nursing him in the car. I asked my H if he thought she worried as much about running into me as I have of running into her. I don’t think he’s ever thought about it since we don’t run in the same circle and live in different parts of town. I told him of all the places I worry about. I’m still not sure he gets it.

      I’m not sure I would know what to do. I’d probably spend a lot of time staring to see if it was really her. While I’ve envisioned what I would do (I’ve dreamed of snatching every single hair out of her head and pummeling her smile off her fat face) I know I would probably do nothing at all. Because really in the end - what would it accomplish?

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    3. gage,
      I have the same concern. One of the OW lives close by and I worry about this all the time. One of the things I'm angry about is that what I really wanted was a large, public confrontation with her. I wanted my husband to tell her off in front of me. To me, it seems fair to have the entire planet watch me explain exactly what she did. I want her husband to know. I want her children to know. I want her neighbor, Mother-in-law, nail technician, and gardner to know! I would like a reality TV show where the whole world would agree with me that this woman is a terrible person. But wait. Doing that would have so many negative consequences for me that it would be self-destructive. Also,on some level, every single thing I could say about her, I would also have to say about my own husband. Whom I love. Whom I've extended great compassion toward. I have accepted that I have to show her at least a tiny bit of that same compassion, but it's tough. It's way tougher than working with my husband. Most days I keep the urge to demand giant, public confrontations at bay with self-care and meditation. My goal if I run into her face-to-face is simply to avoid murder. That's really it. That's all I promise myself. It would be awesome and dignified if I could simply keep walking and keep my (now really good) life intact, but there's so much anger there, I can't guarantee that. I grant myself a whole lot of grace to behave imperfectly in that situation. If the others in the grocery store knew what I'd been through, they would understand. Hopefully someone else has some experience with this and can help both of us imagine a dignified, healthy, non-destructive response to a chance meeting. It's possible I would freeze if I saw her and do nothing (which I'm afraid would make me feel like a failure). It's so interesting. If I could go back to D day, I think that's what I really wanted my H to do: I wanted him to make some sort of public announcement, which would have done me no good in the long run. I would love to walk up to her and say, "You have been a source of great pain in mine and my family's life. I'm wondering what you have to say about that" and then just listen to her answer with curiosity. I'm pretty sure I would either freeze and miss my opportunity to call her out, or act like a crazed lunatic in public.That anger toward the OW is tough stuff!!

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    4. Hi gage
      I'd love some suggestions too, as I'm sure I'll run into the thing also. (I think I've written a book already of what I'd say).
      Gabby xo

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    5. I have run into both of my husband’s OW (lucky me!) and I just act like they do not exist. I figure the main difference between them and me is that I can look at myself in the mirror and know I have dignity. So as much as I’d LOVE to yell, “WHY DID YOU EVEN PRETEND TO BE MY FRIEND?!” I choose to let them know they have zero importance to me as human beings.

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    6. Poppy for the win! "I choose to let them know they have zero importance to me.."
      I think it can help to plan how you will handle it, then you feel like you know you at least have control over you. If you are with your spouse when you run into her, how would you like that to go? Maybe talk about it with him and ask him to take your hand. You both agree no to acknowledge her. If she forces the issue, maybe a Mr. Darcy level cold nod of acknowledgement and walking away calmly. By yourself? Don't acknowledge her. Continue whatever you were doing, shopping whatever. Get to your car (then you can cry or hyperventilate or whatever). And most of all, be kind to yourself after the fact, however it goes.

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    7. Poppy, That has been what I have decided to do. Of course I had some great dreams of what I wanted to do. But in the end they already took enough from me, my marriage and my family. I want to stay true to who I am. And I know I do not know them but for all I know they do not feel bad or they do feel bad and in the end I could care less. Anything I would say could fall on deaf ears and if they say anything it could be upsetting or meaningless. I will always take the high road.

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    8. Thank you ladies for all your replies. My H says that the COW is a creature of habit. She goes to the same super market for everything that she needs. Unfortunately it is the same supermarket that is closest to us. H will drive 10 miles out of his way to avoid seeing her in the store. I will not. I do however make sure that I never leave my house anymore in tee shirt and yoga pants. Daddy the doctor brought the COW a big house and a convertible car before he died so I can spot her car anywhere which gives me a good advantage since I recently go a new car so she might not know what I am currently driving, Gabby I would love to read your book on what to say...LOL
      I have envisioned meeting her a thousand times but I know its going to happen when I least expect it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, with you ladies I never feel alone

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    9. Hi gage -- here's one more. I too have an OW just 2 miles away. For what it is worth, I am 3 years past d-day, and haven't run into her yet. My heart used to pound in the grocery store for fear I would run into her. My fantasies included seeing her at an annual event at the local fountain and pushing her in, which fits nicely with your idea of public shaming. I want to ask her how she convinced herself that it was okay to have sex with my h. Or tell her that real women look out for each other. But after years of practicing in my head, I agree with everyone who says no contact, no words. Just be amazing. You've got this.

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    10. I used to rehearse what I might say or do if I bumped in to her. I hated to think I'd get blindsided. As time went on and I didn't bump into her, I stopped thinking about it so much. But rehearsing it gave me some sense of control. And I had already decided that if she tried to talk back to me, that I would simply turn and leave. I had zero interest in anything she had to say to me and knew that it would only infuriate me and I'd lose control.
      To this day, despite her being in my husband's field and living in a medium sized city, I've never ever seen her.

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  2. Anger. My only expressed emotion prior to D-Day. I lived in a house where screaming matches between my mom and I were frequent and were so often left unresolved. I have also learned that anger in my marriage was a mask for all of the other emotions I refused to share.

    Now. I rarely get angry. And that scares my H more I think than when I “powder legged” as he dubbed it. I turn introverted now instead of flaming and I tend to hold things in or I cry. Some days I miss the quick flames of anger. It was certainly easier to feel than the pain.

    Learning how to express myself is the hardest part of recovery. It’s undoing all of who I use to be and learning new tools.

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    1. Kimberly,
      Like you, I had to learn new ways of managing my feelings. I've always had BIG feelings. I was either on top of the world, or in the pits of despair. My mom used to say I was like a tornado -- whipping through the house.
      I've since learned how to manage those big feelings. Key for me was learning to just sit with my feelings -- that everything didn't have to be expressed the second I felt it, whether happiness or sadness or anger or disappointment or whatever. Just sitting with them allowed me to realize two things: 1, they're not going to swallow me up and 2, I don't always understand what I'm feeling until I've had time to think about it.

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  3. It's April, so the end of the month is my 2 year anniversary of Dday. One of Elle's posts some time back talked about how you can claim this day for yourself, so that's what I did. I didn't want to dread this date on the calendar every year. For my first Dday antiversary, I bought a $100 gift card to a local running store and dropped it by my marriage counselor's office with a note of encouragement for her to gift another spouse dealing with infidelity. It went really well (she says my anonymous gift was
    really helpful to someone else!), so I'm doing that again this year. She's asked me to specifically tailor my note for a client who's marriage is not going to continue, which I loved since I truly support both options. It made me think of Still Standing 1's recent post. In addition to the running shoes gift, I've added a new tradition. The day falls on a work day, so I took the day off. I've decided I do not work on that day anymore. Instead I fill it with self care practices and service to others. My own national holiday. My H was so intrigued with my idea that he took the day off too and wanted to join me. In a strange twist of fate (that almost restores my belief in Karma--but honestly we all know that Karma is not a thing by this point, right?), he got called for jury duty on that day. So this year, it will be just me taking care of me. Maybe he can join me another year. So far I have a hair appointment scheduled, the running shoes session with my MC, a long exercise routine, and I'm looking for a volunteer opportunity for the late afternoon. If you are new or approaching an anniversary of something awful, I encourage you to read Elle's post on claiming this day. It is nice to realize you have the power to claim this day and make it into something you enjoy instead of dread. It doesn't mean that I don't have issues to deal with this month (Facebook memories suck this month because I keep being reminded of "what I was doing when"), it just means that I can claim some kindness toward myself and to others in the midst of all of that.

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    1. ann - I love your posts. Thank you for continuing to share your healing approach.

      My DDay is 3 days after my birthday (40th this year and Father’s Day too) and the day before my daughter’s. I wanted to skip town ... but because if timing it makes it difficult.

      But I love your approach. I certainly embrace it. I was at work on DDay and had to survive the day when all I really wanted to do was leave. So taking the day off alone sounds like a plan.

      I love the random act of kindness idea too.

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    2. Kimberly, We honestly do different things now post dday. We mix it up and basically do what I want. Or if I want to do nothing then that is what we do. But I find doing things differently than pre dday helps. It is called a corrective emotional experience. Basically doing it in a different way, creating new traditions, going somewhere new or going somewhere old but changing the experience. This has helped us a lot.

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    3. Kimberly, my Dday is one day after my birthday. Year 1 after Dday I just wanted it to be fun and forget the hellish year and make the my bday memorable. Year 2 after Dday I punished myself and went down memory lane and pain shopped for whatever reason. This year is year 3 and I’ve healed so much. I need to move past my birthday being a yearly reminder of the awful day that brought me to my knees. Time heals and it takes an awful lot of patience. Dday is hard when it’s any day. It being associated with other dates makes it extremely hard.
      I love all of what you do ann! It is definitely a moment in life where all us BWs want to take the edge off another’s awful moment and inspire or give hope. I applaud you for making the day about others. Helping others is so healing in itself!

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    4. Ann,
      I remember you mentioning this before and it has really stuck with me. I think it's such a wonderful idea and I have no doubt it has contributed to your healing. I'd love to write about this in a separate blog post because I think it's something we can all do and because the world needs more kindness. I'm also working on my BWC book (which is coming along pretty well) and I'd love to include this idea, with your permission.

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    5. Ann, I am SO happy you have reclaimed the day! You're gift certificate is something that has stuck with me--what a way to pay it forward!! When I saw the places my H had been on D-Day 1 I was shaken truly to the core. Some were awfully close to, if not across the street from some of my favorite places. Both of us would clam up if we were in those areas. It was a minefield. Our shrink, at the time encouraged me to NOT let his actions steal MY places. I had to reclaim them. It was not easy, but I did it. The worst moment was sitting with him at a restaurant we had been to many times, and looking across the street I saw we were across from a cute hotel--I recognized that name but could not place it until it hit me--it was the hotel that he had booked a room for them, I recognized the name from a CC reservation. I was incredibly pissed that had to reclaim that place too when I thought that I was done. But good for you Ann!

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  4. Fragments of HopeApril 4, 2018 at 3:03 AM

    This is a great post, very well put. Now in a precarious position and vulnerable if I give my husband yet another chance after his lunches with women last year I know exactly what you mean about listening to those first flutterings of irritation that may be a sign of triggers, of my situation not being understood or appreciated, of my husband being insensitive or nonchalant or unaware of how difficult certain situations are now for me. It can quickly rev up into panic and a soul destroying anger. Also, in the past I’ve been labelled as the over emotional volatile one. We came from different backgrounds. I was used to conflict and arguments in my home, he wasn’t. When he avoided issues or arguments or acted as if I was being unreasonable or was (automatically) wrong, his avoidance and dismissal was like a flame to dynamite. I would keep it together for a while, then explode. On d-day 1, I was shocked, upset but D-day 2 furious. When he recently finally revealed 4 years after the fact that he kissed his ex -someone we both knew before he was married- and then instead of seeing its effect on me, told me how the kissed had messed up their friendhip I screamed and roared. For me,so much of the anger is about helplesssness, about having been blindsided and having my choices taken away by repeated deception. And even now deciding whether to reconcile after more lies and inappropriate meetings I have to choose to take a differicult and triggering risk or break up a home of four children between 17 and 10, who have already gone through their very close cousins death, their grandmothers personality changing stroke, the stresses of the volatile behaviour in the past of the boy with Aspergers and, of course, the tensions they have already seen over the last years. The stakes are high for us all which is why anger and outrage. The best advice as you said is to stay ahead of the game, be aware of what messages I’m getting from my husbands actions or my own residual pain and tthen to act quickly on them with boundaries, counselling or self-care.

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    1. FOH,
      I was exactly the same. The more "calm" my husband seemed in the face of my frustration/anger/disappointment, the more out of control I felt. He made ME feel like the crazy one.
      And yes, I think that feeling of helplessness (which is vulnerability) can be tough so maybe that's where your work needs to be done. To begin to tap into your own strength, what you CAN control and what you need to do when you're feeling that way. Sounds like you know in an abstract way what to do (boundaries, counselling, self-care) but maybe come up with a specific plan so that you can take certain action when those feelings arise.

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  5. I did run into his slut at a gas station. Could only exit one way and had to go past her. She was meeting her ex husband and picking up her kids. I stopped my car, got the kids all excited to see me then asked her if she was still ruining families like she ruined mine. She didn't say anything, but I could tell I pissed her off. It was great!

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  6. Sometimes I don't even know what I am feeling. Anger, emptiness, annoyance. Even almost 3 years out I still feel so many emotions. But I do know that the majority of the anger is directed at the other woman and her friends and all of our coworkers that helped her. I don't think that the blinding fury of d-day compares to the cold brain numbing anger I still have towards her. And it hits me the worse when things in our life is changing constantly, financially struggling, ( I have yet to find a good job), having our grown daughter and granddaughter move in with us until they get there new house in the city we now live in. I know in the long run things will all work out. But I feel happy but empty at the same time. Truthfully I don't think I dealt with the anger towards my husband. I guess his suicide attempt a week after finding out put me into the protection mode, survival mode for all of us. Making sure that the OW and her friends weren't contacting him. She got around the blocks I put on his phone and bought a calling card. The anger built up more and more towards them with each little piece of information that I found out. And to the extent at which they all worked together to destroy us. I hadn't processed the craziness of this whole situation until recently and the funny thing is, they thought that they knew him so well in the very short time we all worked together not seeing the real changes in him due to no sleep and mixing his medications. I had talked to someone recently who's husband left her for her friend and coworker and similar things happened to them so I don't feel so alone with what happened to us. But I do now have such trust issues with people that it makes it hard to want to make new friends. Sorry for the rambling, I guess I just needed to get it off my chest.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I think it takes a long time for us to sort through the feelings generated by D-Day and the fallout from it. I don't think it's unusual that you feel "happy but empty" sometimes or that you've not really dealt with the anger toward your husband, given his suicide attempt. But I do think it's important to try and sort through it because I think these feelings drive our behaviour in ways that might not be healthy if we haven't taken the time to examine them. Do you journal at all? It can be a great way to figure out how you're feeling...and to get a lot of it out in a healthy way. And I'm glad you're sharing here. This community, which knows exactly what you're going through, is a good way to rebuild trust, to remind yourself that what you're feeling is "normal" (under the circumstances) and that you will continue to heal.

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    2. Thank you Elle,
      I do journal and it has helped me. I started journaling right after I found out. It gave me clarity on somethings I was feeling. I would right pages and pages of what I was feeling so I could make sense of everything and the more I found out and wrote it out especially after contact with her the more unbelievable it became. I really had a difficult time processing what these women actually did. But lately I journal on the healing I've been doing and the spiritual journey that it has brought in my life at this time. The worse times for me right now are when we are struggling financially because I haven't been able to find a really good job here. I worked with very toxic women who I feel hindered some of my healing with things that they did to me too to thinking I found a great new job but ended up jumping from the frying pan into the fire. So I'm back to square one looking to find myself again with a job. I do occasionally do some catering and baking for people and it's been a slow process getting that going and I'm not sure that is even what I want to do because sometimes that brings back the feelings of being in that restaurant. I realize that I comment too much on what happened to us and I sound like a broken record. I guess one thing I need to do is get back to hiking in the mountains. Something about being outside connecting with nature is more healing then writing. And I know that the empty feeling is due to not feeling full filled because I'm not working and contributing to us financially. Which I'm working hard on that one. One thing my husband told me was maybe this was God's way of having me have time to work on myself to heal more because life is going to be changing again with my daughter and granddaughter moving in with us for a short time. But thank you again to all of you for the support that you have given me.

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  7. Anger is the one emotion I express the least. It is hard for me. I think I have a somewhat similar experience to you Elle. My parents did not fight as often or as intense as you are saying. But it was anger or no emotion where I grew up. My husband has actually asked me why I do not get more angry. But then on the flipside the one time I was most angry which was 2 1/2 years ago he said still is a struggle for him. He said he remembers every minute of it and does not want to go back to where we were. I find that interesting since he usually forgets most things. it has stuck with him.

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  8. I remember growing up listening to my parents fight with my two older sisters. My parents themselves never fought together - as a couple. I never remember them screaming or slamming things - I am sure they had fights but they never were outrageously loud about it. But - with my teenage sisters - it was scary - they would scream and yell and slam and through things! I was the youngest and it was really a scary thing to go through.

    But - It is nothing compared to the fights my H and I have had. My kids are scarred for life I am sure. Nights of screaming, swearing, breaking things, throwing things. Fights so bad that we can't even use our voices the next day.

    If you met me or knew me before I knew of his millions of affairs - I am a very laid back, chill, go with the flow type of person. I wish I was more of a type A personality that was quick to think on their feet and able to make decisions and get things done - but I am just not.

    I have never had anger like I have had once I found out he cheated on me. Never. It is scary. My anger is so deep seeded and comes from a place I can't even explain! Before I knew he was cheating on me - We NEVER had any of those fights with screaming, yelling and breaking things. I remember him flying off the handle many times and doing that, but looking back now I know that that was from his own problems, pain and probably guilt at what he was doing. I would never yell back or be confrontational, just take it. He always says that these are our fights, fights about our marriage and fights that we both are to blame for. That we both caused our kids pain from OUR fights. NO - we wouldn't be fighting if he wasn't cheating. Not fights like that. The fight in December he blames on us and me. He blamed me that he had to stay away and miss Christmas because of that fight. That fight happened because he had just met his girlfriend before he came home-he knew what he did was wrong- he knew that our marriage was a mess because of him and he didn't feel alive with me the way he did when he met his girlfriend. That's what caused the fight - period.

    I don't know how to control my anger and hate. I am trying to get help from my IC. I will never get an apology from my H or any type of remorse or understanding that he is the cause of my pain. Nothing that could help diffuse my anger. He recommended some therapies that we could try so I can get that closure - so I can let go of the anger. What a pain in the ass. To have to go through some wacky therapy because my H can't even grasp that he was the cause of my pain and hate?

    I don't like being so Angry. Just now he is texting me about bills and I just am so angry!!!!! I hope with some work it will subside.



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    1. Fragments of HopeApril 4, 2018 at 2:31 PM

      I know how you feel Ann at not wanting to get therapy to deal with a situation inflicted on you and one that could be helped if your husband stepped up to be remorseful. It’s something I feel very strongely about. I was in such mental anguish that I had to help myself - some techniques from Steven Stosney”s Living and Loving after betrayal and meditation. Our MC said maybe I should get IC. Yes it might help with a whole range of stresses over the years including the affair but what would help even more is if situations changed or people who hurt dis something to pay reparation for what they did. If not we must lavish a thousand kindnesses upon ourselves for all we are going through. I get your anger and outrage though, I can’t believe how my h hurt me again after being given a chance.

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    2. Hi Ann
      I so get where you are coming from with your anger. After all these bastards have done to us, to erode our confidence, to disrespect us, lie, cheat.....how do they expect us to react????
      Anger. It's an emotion too and understandably justified at times in our case, and I think perhaps like me, we have been keeping the peace for so long, it eventually spills out. You just have to learn how to not flood yourself with the anger to the point of drowning in it.
      With my stbx, if we had an argument, no rational conversation would get through to him, so I did succumb to his form of dealing with things and became angry back toward him "to give him a taste of his own medicine", but it didn't work. Why was I lowering myself to his standards? Anger was his choice of dealing with things as it was what he saw growing up. I didn't want to be like him, so I would say my piece and then ignore him. No matter what you would say, you can't get through to someone who doesn't see a problem in themselves. Ann. My anger has turned to complete and utter hate to my stbx. There's probably a fine line between anger and hate, but I'm happy with hate for the moment. I am disgusted in this person I once adored and loved unconditionally as he continues to disappoint, manipulate, control and is basically still full of shit to me and our kids.
      Of course there's going to be times when you get angry, but your husband sounds like mine, as he seems to continue to do what he wants and disappoints time after time.
      As you can see the need to stop your anger, you are on the right track and IC will help.
      Some strategies to deal with anger when it arises:
      Are you able to safely go out for a walk/run - don't drive when angry. Even if you take the kids with you and just be happy with them, and by the time you've calmed down, you can enjoy the walk/run with them and add in a trip to the playground.
      Take yourself to another room, shut the door put on some calming music or mediation app and just let yourself breath. This may take a few minutes for the anger to dissipate but stay still and give it a go. Just back yourself on this one Ann and say "I want some peace".
      I hope you find ways to regain peace Ann. You so deserve it.
      Hugs
      Gabby xo

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    3. Thanks FOH and Gabby,

      I will look at that book for sure. I have't tried Meditation yet, I try and breathe sometimes but I can't fully relax and let go. I work out a lot and also tried Warm Yin Yoga, which is great - but again - I can't seem to fully let my brain not be on alert. My IC suggested that EDMR so I might try that. Just to finally let go of all the negativity and pain - that might help me move forward and not be so angry at him. It will help with the separation/divorce if it works!
      Thanks for responding! It really helped.

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  9. Anger my anger when I was in rage mode just plain shut my h down and made his shame last longer. I probably only had three maybe four really bad ones but they were painful for us both, didn’t really accomplish anything that was going to help us heal our hurt, and I just left the anger behind and put everything I had to repair the relationship we once shared. It helped that he chose to make changes in his behavior and continues to do the best he can and that’s what helps me daily with the anger that can come from a trigger but no longer bring me to my knees. It’s truly a process!

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  10. Still Standing 1April 4, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    Rise
    Don’t get angry
    Or enraged
    Or insulted.
    Rise above the bullshit.
    Flick your light back on,
    And shine it brighter than ever,
    And fall so deeply in love
    With your own life
    That anyone who tried to wrong you
    Becomes a laughable, ridiculous
    Distant, memory.

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    1. SS1! I Love That! Did you write it? I can’t wait to get there!

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    2. Still Standing 1April 5, 2018 at 5:23 AM

      No I did not write it. Saw it on social media and I immediately thought of the conversation going on here about anger. The post did not have the author, which is a shame, because I prefer to give appropriate credit. :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing your emotions. My H thought I should have moved on already since it's been 6 months..So I am not the craZy one =)

    There are time I want to lash out at him but that won't wipe out any pains and possibly end up with more arguments.

    These days I still spaced out and wondered why am I still married with all the disregard, disrespect, and lies.

    I gave him my final boundary this week. If he goes to the strip club one more time I will leave and let him do the explaning to the family. He said marriage was between him and I ...well said but wondering where did the stripper he setup with fits in the marriage bed.

    FedUp

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    1. Fragments of HopeApril 5, 2018 at 8:13 AM

      FedUo. I like your style (your last line) and I think it’s great you’ve put this boundary in place. I think I’ve got more cynical since I arrived here. I thought my husband would see and care enough about the hurt he caused not to do more but some guys just don’t seem to be able to change or think they’ve done enough and their patterns/compulsions come back to bite us all again. If he thinks you should be over it in six months he is the crazy one. He is starting at level zero with trust and it takes longer than six months from a fully committed and remorseful guy to make a difference. And sometimes our senses are telling us that things aren’t quite right or that they don’t have the right attitude and then it takes longer to heal.

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    2. Fragments of hope
      Cynical I am but I probably always was a bit and now I’m trying very diligently not to be cynical out loud! I see my h trying hard and just like the mother that made me feel never good enough, I find I have to work to accept his efforts are as good as he can be...for now. I know I continue to expect more effort from him! I feel he gave her his effort during his affair time!

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    3. Fed up
      6 months and healed from betrayal...not by a long shot! He’s got a lot of work to get back to the place before he made his foolish choice! No you are not the crazy one here! Hugs!

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    4. Fragments of HopeApril 6, 2018 at 1:41 AM

      Yes, Theresa, accepting the efforts as good as they can be for now, how true! Now that my h is on his last chance he's been committed to going to a counsellor who sounds really good and is challenging him on a lot of things. But even after our latest round of lies and inappropriate friendships my h has been unable to give me the understanding and input I needed to see he really got the reality of what this last set of deceptions means to me. I'm in this limbo bit where my MC suggested we'll have to wait and see if he is capable of being who he needs to be in future. So the old marriage is dead and I'm waiting to see if I can commit to being with him again. One element of this was for us just to go out together on dates, mainly as a boost in difficult times but also for him to show me he cares. In theory he is responsible for arranging the dates. We have been away visiting relatives last week but I've heard nothing about the date for this week. I'm going to reserve judgment but I'm still looking at it to see whether he can even put the effort in and remember our agreement. I don't want to play games but he really needs to show me he is willing to be thoughtful after being so selfish repeatedly.

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    5. FOH, One thing my husband has talked about that he told himself on dday was to do all he could to make it right for 6 months. And at that point if it did not feel right or was not working for him then he would talk with me. I never knew this at the time. He told me after 2 years past dday. He is in the mental health field and he said he sees a need to commit to changing habits for at least 6 months whether it is diet, smoking, exercising, marriage.... On dday he had ended both affairs 15 months before on his own. I would say he was not living the most upstanding life, but more flirting with women and being disconnected. But the affairs had ended. As he told me since dday that looking at himself if he was being honest he did not know who he was or if he loved me. He felt if someone really loved someone then they would not do what he did. All makes sense. I think all of this gets so complicated. I guess we are lucky he has all of his training, education and professional experience. He put it to good use with himself and us.

      To me this is all so foreign as I am sure it is for you. I would never act the way he did or have had his feelings. Now that we are through the worst he is happier than ever. He never thought we could be together and me know what he did. He said every day is a gift. My therapist was very adamant about me laying out my boundaries and expectations and then giving my husband some rope to see what he does. My therapist did not want me to remind my husband all the time but to give some breathing room. My therapist said this was important for the time we were in the process. I basically needed to let go of some control to allow myself to be vulnerable even just a little bit.

      Now I find comfort that my husband says he helps husbands, wives, couples and families more than ever. He said he feels really good about his work now. For a long time he felt like a hypocrite. And also now he said he can tell when someone is lying and also feels he can help more than ever. I wish everyone that needed to see a mental health professional could see him. I know to me it seems similar to wanting to go to a pediatrician that has kids. But even stronger for this case.

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  12. FOH,

    Yes! Spot On! The anger comes from the helplessness and being blindsided through no choices of our own. Just - “Here! This happened! I Hurt You! It’s not my fault! Deal with it!” And having it repeated!

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    1. Fragments of HopeApril 5, 2018 at 8:17 AM

      Exactly Ann they seem to be quite happy to keep their two realities separate. Never admitting that their actions in one “life” should affect those in the other. Then lying so they don’t have to face the reality. On a way his separateness or ability to feel separate will help me make my own individual self-preserving choice if he squanders this last chance. They are so selfish.

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  13. In my childhood house, like so many Anger= chaos + raging + violence + blame
    I am freshly back from a week in that same house with all my siblings and realized how much I have changed. I asserted my boundaries with my father in a calm and secure way. He reacted as he usually does (badgering, self pity, blame, demands, assertion of his masculine authority) but I stuck by my guns with confidence and calm. But my sister for whom expressions of anger=shame, asked why I was being "mean." To her, a "no" is mean. And if I hadn't learned to respect my own boundaries, I would have felt guilty and ashamed. Instead, I felt triumphant for myself and sad for her.

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    1. Way to go MBS. :)
      And the world didn't cave in did it.
      Keep up those boundaries.
      Hugs
      Gabby xo

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  14. Interesting post for reflection. Since late February when I had my last angry outburst which caused my husband to go batshit crazy I've done my best to live in the quiet zone between action and response. It is a calming place for me. Now when I get triggered my anger explodes inside of me and manifests in such hatred for my husband for his fucked up life choices. Even though we are doing pretty well by all accounts it is clear that I need ongoing help to diffuse this internal response. I'm working on it.

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  15. My H, NEVER got angry--at least outloud. He withdrew to the point that I had no idea what he was doing (drinking, whoring it up) I have pretty much had to push him to "fight back" when I am pissed off. Becuase believe me, he is NOT comfortable in HIS anger. and he's convinced that if I am pissed off that I "hate" him.
    He's not very mad at me, but wow does he have old wounds. If he were flying off the handle every five minutes I dont think I could stand it, but he has GOT to get his fury out at some point or it's going to kill him or manifest in other ways.
    I STILL say, he has never ever said an unkind word to me, and that is true, but after looking through some old journals I realize that instead he withdrew completely, a form of anger i had completely forgotten about.

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  16. I watched this movie this weekend! Man-this scene has been me for the past few months. She nailed my anger and rage in 3 minutes!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yHw5A9BAZ98

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