My husband asked me why I seem so angry lately.
I almost have to laugh.
I think I’ve been angry for about twenty years.
Why am I angry?
I feel like I am always fighting an uphill battle. It’s exhausting.
There’s always a running commentary in my head. It’s almost always negative.
I’m angry at myself.
I am my own worst critic.
I don’t need anyone to tell me when I’ve messed up.
I get furious with myself when I forget something, break something, mess up in any way.
I remember every little mistake I’ve ever made. It keeps me up at night.
“Why did I say that?”
“What could I have done differently?”
Every stupid choice I made as a youth.
Every harsh word to my children.
Every time I act like I’m too busy for them.
My poor parenting practices in the beginning…Did I ruin my two oldest in their formative years? Why didn’t I know better earlier?
Why can’t I lose ten pounds?
Why didn’t I ever learn to play an instrument?
Why didn’t I finish grad school and get that Ph.D?
I disappoint myself.
I’m angry at society.
Why are there so many poisonous chemicals and additives in our food?
Why are there so many victimless crimes that I have heart palpitations when I see a police car?
Why do we pay so many taxes for services we don’t need, want, or ever use?
Why is there still childism, sexism, racism in our modern world?
Why do we still not believe women who have been harassed or assaulted? We learn it’s easier to remain silent, stifle the feelings of unfairness and injustice. Just move on.
Why do we have a narcissistic playboy running our country?
Why does it feel like 1968 and all our progress is being reversed?
I’m angry at my parents.
I was pretty much left to my own devices. By most standards, I had a great childhood. But when I became an adult (a long arduous process), I realized how broken it really was.
Their love was and is conditional.
They disowned me when I was 20. They sent me a copy of their will, all torn in pieces. They paid postage to mail me that.
They found a therapist to tell them how terrible I am.
Everything they offer comes with strings attached. They dangle expensive gifts like carrots before mules, then snatch them away and blame my poor behavior. I’m 41, not 4.
They send broken handmedowns and we get criticized if we don’t offer profuse gratitude at their thoughtfulness.
My dad hand wrote me a hate letter and mailed it to tell me what an awful mother I am because I won’t spank my children.
I realize they exhibit are narcissistic and borderline tendencies and they are codependent. Gaslighting is common.
But that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.
They wonder why the extent of our conversations are about the weather and backyard birds.
Their priorities aren’t my priorities.
It’s amazing that they can still crush my spirit.
I diligently work at not reacting to triggers.
I’m angry at God.
I have so many questions. Dogma and doctrine and theological scholars don’t always answer satisfactorily.
Church has failed me more times than not.
It’s mostly pageantry, sitting in chairs and singing and shaking hands with strangers, then having a cookie and filing out the door to a mediocre life.
Christians love to discount anger. “Just pray more! Just be happy!” they say. Because surely, it’s just impossible to be a good Christian and experience any negativity.
I learned self-reliance.
So I keep my thoughts to myself.
Aaron’s parents died suddenly within our first year of marriage.
We have no support system.
We never had any mentors.
We have no friends.
Our kids don’t know their cousins. They don’t understand family holidays. They’ve never gone to family reunions. They don’t have so many memories.
Sometimes, I’m so angry, but there isn’t even a definable target.
Moving every few years takes a lot out of us – physically, emotionally, psychologically. So much planning and so many unknowns.
The neverending chores. Towels wadded up on the floor. That forgotten bowl all crusty with melted dried cheese on the far counter. Cat puke on the carpet.
The unheeded advice and bailing my kids out of another scrape to coach them better next time.
That lost thing that becomes an emergency: my husband’s wallet, iPhone, keys…a daughter’s shoe, FitBit, earring, book..the teen just lost her check card after one week. When the van ate my military ID as I was going through the gate.
Sure, there are hormones and headaches every month. The weather affects my sinuses.
Moms aren’t allowed to have bad days.
I perceive my husband as emotionless. Nothing ever seems to bother him. He just plugs along. I have enough anger for all of us.
No one ever seems outraged by the news, world events, community issues, injustice.
No one wants to have meaningful conversation or take action for positive change. So many desensitized and apathetic.
Bloggers make themselves feel better by buying and peddling sustainable clothing from charities to combat oppression in third world countries. Social media and the internet are all a comparison trap.
Who do I fight?
My generation is known for its feelings of futility and apathy. We grew up with receiving trophies and stickers for everything, having earned nothing, being handed the world on a silver platter without having to world for anything. Inflated grades, so much self-esteem. Worthless college degrees and too few jobs. Our expectations don’t meet the reality.
Then the internet and social media come into the picture. Heaven help us.
I’m fighting for a better world for my children.
My anger gives me the momentum to continually evaluate and improve.
I’m angry that even when I speak up, I remain unheard.
Anger is often a mask.
It’s inappropriate to show negative emotions in our society. We’re supposed to answer, “Fine!” when someone asks how we are.
Fear, frustration, powerlessness, pain…often exhibit as anger.
Depression and anxiety. More anger.
I wasn’t allowed to express emotions or be my true self as a child and youth. I was told I was worthless and that the things I liked were stupid.
It’s taken me so many years to rediscover that I love art, music, bugs, animals, hiking, and more.
I’m repairing 5-year-old me, going back to before school destroyed her. Rebuilding who I was meant to be.
It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to have negative emotions.
It’s not ok to allow anger to become overwhelming or all-enveloping.
I know when I need to deal with my anger. It’s time for me to be alone and work it out so I don’t lash out.
I go for a walk. I take a bath. I journal. I cook something. I do chores. I pray. I exercise.
It’s important to use anger as a catalyst for personal growth rather than letting it fester.
Read more about mental health.