A few Saturdays ago, I was cooking breakfast…scrambled eggs with onions and mushrooms, maple flavored bacon and watermelon. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me that I missed my ex. Yes, you read it right…I missed my ex. As the thought purged through my brain, I tried to ignore it. But, I couldn’t, especially as I was moving my way through Letting Go of Anger by Ronald T Potter-Efron and Patricia S Potter-Efron. And yes, I did discover the type of anger I exhibited as our marriage went on. But later on that…
No matter what, every, Sunday morning, my ex, would rise and make breakfast for our sons and then for me. And each one was made according to our specifications. Our sons both loved my ex’s version of the Mickey D breakfast sandwich. I loved scrambled eggs with a bit of sugar. And no matter if we were sitting at the dining room table or on the coach by the coffee table, my ex would serve us. Which is why I could not ignore what I was feeling.
You see, my ex did have good moments. Yet, I was not ready to see through the damage we both caused, not only to the marriage but to each other. I did not allow myself to forgive, thus even though I thought I had moved on, I really had not.
It is not easy to forgive, nor forget, after being betrayed. It is much easier to play the martyr, flipping through the mind’s movie screen, reliving all the not so great stuff. How crazy is that? Yet, I know I am not the only one to do this. However, I am not taking my own advice. Instead, I am throwing stones.
So, back to the book on anger. Here is what I learned…in those days of married life, I exhibited, QUITE often. Rather I should come clean…QUITE, QUITE, QUITE, often what is known as explosive or sudden anger. This is the type of anger that erupts at any time, with no apparent reason…at least one justifying getting angry. This is the type of anger in which the person displaying it, after the volcanic explosion, feels guilty, thus engaging in apologies wreathed with promises of never blowing up again. Yeah right!! I should know.
The problem with explosive anger is in the moment all the angst, frustration, stress and whatever else upon one’s shoulders is temporarily lifted. However, when the weight descends, and it will, anger will erupt again, this time more explosive.
In the past, I knew having an adult temper tantrum was not good. After every episode of anger, I told myself I should not exhibit my emotions like that again. But every time, when things got hot to handle, my anger boiled up and out and I became a screaming, heart pounding, verbal abusive mess!!! Admitting this is not comfortable by any means. And, it is much harder than forgiving.
I am not only in the place where I KNOW I need to forgive my ex. I am also in the place where I need to forgive myself. It is time to lift the mask of martyrdom off my face, throw it in the garbage and FINALLY move on. There are days, when I ponder my marriage where I still feel anger towards my ex. I also replay moments where I do not want to forgive. And, then I remember what role I played as well. However, due to my self learning, my self analyzing and my self rehab, I will NEVER allow myself nor let anyone else get me to the point where I just explode with madness. Since my divorce, I have been tested of this promise several times. The calming techniques I have learned have worked. I have also learned to speak my feelings out loud, so the other person knows exactly where I am coming from, in a peaceful manner and without accusation.
As a result, when anger comes a knock’in, instead of fighting it, I embrace it. Thus, I end up talking calmly about whatever is causing it and if I get do the point where I feel like I am going to explode, causing a projectile vomiting of emotions at the other person, I shut my mouth and walk away. In this way, I not only preserve my relationship but also reach a point I can logically think about how to vocalize what is on my mind. All of which I am continually striving to improve on per each situation.
A great quote for anyone to remember…
ANGER is one letter short of DANGER.
And like a raging fire, once anger is fueled, the after effects can be very hard to put out. So, next time you feel like a volcano, about to erupt, stop, and for one second, take a close look at the person in front of you. You have a choice to cause scars that will never disappear or do whatever it takes to lovingly express why you feel that way you do. It is not easy to tame the wild beast, but it can be done. And when anger is taught to behave, forgiveness has a chance.