Thursday, April 22, 2010

Other People's Anger, con't.

One more post on this topic, and then I'll go on to something else.
I woke up today thinking about how I was trained to accept raging as a normal part of family life. I was trained from childhood to cringe away, but to keep silent, for fear of bringing down upon myself, something far worse than just screaming and shouting and hurtful words - hitting.

I think this played a part in my acceptance of my first husband's rages - they were "only words." It was "only shouting." At least he didn't hit me. He'd pushed me a few times, but stopped short of any other physical violence, and compared to the batterings I'd endured as a child, shouting and stomping and nasty words seemed more tolerable, and milder.

From today's point of view, I realise that this attitude of mine was tied to the poor and tattered thing that was my self-image. I didn't like the way he treated me, but it was just more of the same way that people had been treating me all of my life, and I felt helpless to change this. I had no understanding of how people relate to each other, because I'd never been taught.

Al-Anon taught me how to love myself. Al-Anon was the first place in which I encountered the idea that I have value merely for existing upon this earth. I didn't have to do, be, say, or produce anything to have value - I have inherent value. That was truly a long struggle to accept and believe - I had to let go of everything I'd ever been told about myself, all the negative labels slapped upon me, and sworn as truth, all the abusive controlling painful words used to describe my character and nature - I had to decide to hand them over to my Higher Power, and start afresh, making my own.

When I finally could accept and embrace my inherent worth, I was no longer willing to accept. or minimise, the verbal and emotional abuse dished out upon a daily basis, by my first husband.

I had learned that this was unacceptable behavior: that I had the choice of refusing to tolerate it. My spirit finally rebelled against it, when I truly honestly knew that I deserved better.

That's the process. Some come to it quickly, some of us are slower to arrive. But if we continue in Twelve Step, we will all get there eventually.

I reached the point where I wanted my husband to treat me with the same love, consideration and respect my fellow Al-Anon members did - all of the time, not just when he wasn't furious. He used his anger as a weapon and a bludgeon and a release valve for stress, and a driving force. I couldn't live with it, finally. Al-Anon taught me that I didn't have to.

During the honeymoon phase, he used to tell me that no-one else would ever love me the way he did. I knew I had reached the point of no return, the day I found myself replying, "And thank God for that!"

1 comment:

  1. I think that we take all we can and there comes a threshold after which we simply have to get out or die emotionally (and sometimes physically). It's painful but is survival.