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“Don’t Deny the Rage” – Part One

When DH and I separated, I received the same advice from several kind and wise people with whom I worked at the time:  “Don’t deny the rage.”

I had no idea what they were talking about.  I was living on the epicenter of an emotional earthquake, I was wary and scared and anxious and tense and many, many unpleasant things, but angry wasn’t one of them.  In fact, anger was such an alien concept to me at that point, I didn’t even know what they were talking about. I’d been angry for years, but it had manifested as impatience, short temper, etc., quick firebursts that just as quickly, vented, died back down. I didn’t know what rage was.

It took a year, nearly an entire calendar year before it hit me, and even then it required a catalyst outside my own experience in the form of a terrible drunk driving incident that killed the wife and three children of one of my dear friends.  For my friend I became angry, and that righteous anger popped the cork and — I couldn’t get the cork back in.

It revealed itself in several ways:  Bursts of excessive energy accompanied by the strong desire to inflict deep pain on those who had wronged me. Black humor, self-deprecating humor. Sarcasm. Profanity. An inordinate desire for revenge — I adopted a motto that reflected my resentment at DH’s efforts to sabotage my independence and success: Success Is the Best Revenge; sometimes, later, I would modify it: Happiness Is the Best Revenge.

It boiled, it exploded, it simmered. It waited still and quiet beneath the surface then it would erupt at unexpected times and under, often, unreasonable provocations.

When it didn’t go away on its own, I became frightened, by its intensity and by its duration; this was not my usual outburst but a months-long, years-long storm.

We women are told not to get angry.  We are told from childhood to hold in our tempers. A grown woman who lets her anger flare is dismissed as a bitch. We are told to be nice and to do whatever it takes in order to get along with even the most difficult and unreasonable people in our lives.  This is fine to a point, but it misses the greater point that sometimes a line has to be drawn in the sand and defended with might and main:

You may not hit me.  You may not tell me I am stupid and worthless.  You may not dismiss me as insignificant. You might think it, but it is an evil, nasty, unfair and abusive attitude, and you may not inflict it upon me. You may not abuse me.

Anger is the only reasonable response to abuse.  I read somewhere that anger is a secondary emotion to fear or hurt.  That’s true to a point — we have been hurt and so we are angry. We are afraid of abandonment or of insignificance, and so we are angry.  That makes sense.  But anger is also simply the only reasonable response to situations of violence, or moral outrage.  This is, I suspect, a uniquely Christian idea (“Be angry and do not sin” — Eph. 4:26) but an important one.

Maybe what made my anger so difficult do deal with was that it was a combination, a culmination of All The Above. It was secondary to hurt – “why am I never good enough?” — and to fear — “What is going to happen now? How can I manage on my own?” but it was also a gut reaction to the fact that I was being abused.

Still trying –

In the fall I went to a retreat for women who are married to men with same-sex attraction or sex addictions.  It was a profound experience, one of the key defining points of my life.  It was strange, and wonderful, and heartbreaking, to be in a room full of women who live with the same struggles and sorrows I experience.  So  many times, as they told their own stories, I found myself thinking, “What! You, too?” There was an unexpected universality to our experiences.

One woman spoke of how her husband cringes when she touches him. I know that cringe well. Another spoke of her anger at being deceived and lied to and blamed for what had happened in their marriage; I know that situation well, too. One spoke of how unfeminine and undesirable she had come to feel, and I wanted to cry (and, later, I did cry. Buckets, I think.  A box of tissues’ worth, at least — and I don’t cry) because that is what I have lived with every day of my life for many years.  More years than she has been alive.  More years than any of them had been alive.

And this retreat was glorious! – but coming home and returning to real life is so hard.  Living alone, I had a buffer and my season of grace dragged out much longer than that of the other women, who had families to return to, and family needs to address.  For once, I have seen my solitude as something of a luxury.

The luxury couldn’t last, of course. A visit from a beloved friend sent me into a tailspin.  I became so anxious during the visit – of being boring, or annoying, or that my house (which announces my coexistence with the black dog to anyone who comes in) would appall him . . .   when I wanted him to be comfortable and at peace and to see me at something resembling my best, I certainly was not.

There are still bruises and when those bruises are bumped, I yelp.  And my friend bumped into one I hadn’t yet encountered, and I don’t think I really recovered from that  – and I didn’t yelp, I roared.

It is so hard to love someone, and at the same time to feel that these circumstances of my past have so battered and warped me that I am no longer worthy of being loved.  “Would Christ Himself see you that way?” he asked, when I confessed this to him, in fear and trembling, one evening.  Ahh, Darling, but Our Lord is not so fastidious as mortal men.  He sees beyond the superficial things that are, so often, all that we mortals can see.  There are times when spiritualizing a corporal problem doesn’t help, and this is one of them.

Nevertheless, I will go back and re-read my notes from my retreat, and I will talk with these other women some more, and I will write, and I will try to live well and to see and honor my best self — even if.

But it is hard to feel condemned, rather than called, to being alone.

New Contributor: Moira Greyland

Moira’s tied up this week, and I was impatient to introduce her, so I’m sharing this here, with her permission, and letting you know she will be posting here from time to time as a Contributor to this blog.

Here’s her story.   It’s upsetting and distressing, but I can’t help feeling it’s not atypical.

There are more victims of this rainbow movement than anyone has yet considered.

Still here

I just concluded a conversation with a new friend who, it turned out, knows this blog.  He told me I have more people watching it than I realized —- and that some had assumed that maybe I’d changed my mind about gay marriage, the whole fight, really, because I’ve been inactive so long.

I’ve not.  My opinions are not only unchanged since I began this blog, I find them being more and more strongly confirmed as more men and women come out with their own stories about toxic marriages to gays, or the sufferings of their being raised by gay parents.

The embarrassing truth of it is that having sole responsibility for this blog and being so immersed in this subject matter is oppressive to my spirit.  I live with depression (and, btw, I have yet to meet a former spouse of a homosexual who doesn’t also battle The Black Dog) and sometimes I have to budget my low energy levels as miserly as I can in order to cover the necessities.

But I’m so grateful — no, I’m still sitting here well after midnight shaking my head . . . simply amazed at being known and recognized and  told “Oh, yeah, you’re quite well known among my friends —” —

So let me take a moment to tell you all hello, and to thank you for looking for this blog and for your prayers and whatever positive thoughts you’ve had about what I do, here.

I’ve been collecting things to post here.  I’m looking for a couple other women to post, as well.  I won’t abandon this blog completely — even though sometimes I find I don’t have energy sufficient to post.

The fight really is just beginning.

Getting through it all SOBER

My friend Gina – her husband left her about ten years ago for another man – ugly, ugly situation. Her doctor gave Gina something to “help her relax.”  The drug was Ativan — and he’s had her on it for EIGHT YEARS.

There’s something unconscionable and unethical about putting a patient on an addictive drug for that long.

And did Gina need it in the first place?

Look, of COURSE your nerves are shot — you’ve been living with a homosexual – a misogynist – for how many years? And now you know the insanity you’ve been blaming on yourself (and he’s probably been blaming you for) is because he’s homosexual? and the earth is rocking and rolling under your feet and you don’t know which end is up and at any minute you’re absolutely sure you’re going to toss your cookies?

WELL, DUH — of COURSE YOUR NERVES ARE FRAYED. OF COURSE EVERYTHING AROUND YOU IS GOING BATSHIT CRAZY.

IT is — not you.

And so you toss your cookies.  Is it really the worst thing that can happen to you? Personally, I think continuing to live with a psychologically abusive and severely disturbed spouse is far, far more undesirable.

Look.  You can take the immediately easy way out and medicate with booze or prescription drugs in order to numb the immediate oh-God-I’m-losing-my-mind feelings.  But I’m telling you, you’ll still have to face the music when you sober back up or the prescription expires.  And if you’re on the junk long enough, you’ll have compounded problems, coming off the crutch AND facing your reality all at one time.

Problem is, the crisis doesn’t go away just because your brain checks out for a while. It will sit and wait for you, however long you try to run away from it.

It’s a LOT easier to grit your teeth and just body-surf through the batshit crazy until you can find some terra firma to plant your feet on.  It takes ten times as much work to pull yourself BACK together as it would have done simply to hang on for dear life in the first place.  Yes, that’s a borrow from Mockingjay — in which book too damn many needles are used to get Katniss and Finnick — to CONTROL THEM instead of healing them. Because, dammit all, it’s so much easier to drug your way through a crisis than it is to have to think and work your way through.  Until you sober up and the emotional upheaval is still right there waiting to say GOTCHA!
Stay sober.  Honestly.

Ineffible Grief

I’m not at all sure what has set it off this time.  I thought it was long since resolved. I thought I’d made peace with my losses, past and future, and with the alternative life I’ve seen stretched out before me.

But something has set it off.  Maybe it was seeing something from my daughter and realizing how badly damaged she is.  The sweet, gentle-spirited, loving girl has grown up to be a crass, defiant, almost-militant woman who, it is obvious, has embraced her daddy’s causes and still can’t get him to take her seriously.

Dear God! How long and how far must the hurt and the wreckage be flung?

It’s bad enough I’m damaged beyond repair. I know I’ll never be able to trust my own judgment about men, or the honesty or integrity of a relationship.  And, yes, I still have periods of grieving for the loss of the old dreams of a close (and large) family. Of love. I still resent having been used, reduced to being less than a person in my own right just so he’d have someone to hide behind. I resent the psychological abuses he inflicted on me so that when I needed help I trusted no one, not even for a long time my own judgment. I resent, still, that he had to be protected at all costs.

Because the cost has proven far too great.

Now that cost involves our children, who didn’t ask to be born, but whom he’s manipulated and used and abused to hide behind, even now.  Nothing is his fault, he will not face his own failures and responsibility – everything is “your choice,” said with a sneer and a look of utter contempt. He will always think of them as he has done of me: as idiots.  Useful idiots, perhaps, but idiots all the same.

And I can’t help my children, even less than I can help myself.  And I don’t know how to climb out of this pit of grief.

LGBT vitriol

I questioned why the professional community taxed with screening gender reassignment candidates has not been more capable of recognizing the severe dysfunctions operating in the LGBT community, particularly in those lesbian households that are putting little boys on the transgender trainwreck. But perhaps the answer to that lies here:

“. . . the aggression shown by the LGBT community toward people who question whether children should prepare to have their genitals surgically altered and be injected with massive doses of hormones is such that clinicians are terrified to continue searching for the truth.”

The original article is available from the Wall Street Journal, but they demanded I subscribe before I could access the article.  I’m not in the market for a paid subscription of a work I only use a few times a year, rather than daily, cover to cover.

The LGBT community certainly is aggressive, even hostile, in the face of opposition.  Last week I posted a story by Janna Darnelle about her experiences divorcing, or being divorced by, a man who’d decided to come out of the closet.  Later in the week, this article appeared with an update, revealing that, in the aftermath of Janna’s article’s publication, and widespread sharing on the internet, the Gay Mafia has gone berserk with trying to punish her.

I highly recommend Rivka’s update, full of great information and insights such as this one:

“You want to marry a man and you are a man? Society does not owe you women’s children, women’s eggs, or women’s bodies.”

I would add, ” . . . or our hearts and souls.”