Tag Archives: rage

Too Much

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What will take away the rage,
the fatigue, the sheer exhaustion?
What will make all of this seem ok,
so that I can get up and do this again
(and again and again and again and again)?
How many days like this
until it won’t be like this anymore?
Tonight, I feel solidarity
will all single parents everywhere
who just want some help,
because it all feels like too much.

The In Laws

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My kids come back home today
and they tell me
(Insert Husband’s Mistress’s name here)
is going with us to Utah in July!
I’m flattened.
In a state of shock.
I think I might have gasped.
My daughter asks
Are you jealous, Mom?
And I answer
No, not jealous…I’m…I’m…surprised.
I text him a litany of curse words
to make any sailor proud.
Then I text his Mormon mother,
my (still) mother in law,
the woman I called Mom for seven years.
Are you okay with them
sharing a bed in your home
when we are still married?
I don’t want my children exposed
to their adulterous behavior.
She answers back,
That’s never allowed in my house.
But talk to him. Not me.  That’s it.
Then I text his dad and his stepmom.
Neither one of them answers.
No surprise there.
I mean, after seven good years of marriage
and still together after eight,
what’s one daughter in law
down the drain?
I guess I’m disposable to them
Just like I was to him.
Luckily there was a CoDA meeting tonight.

Getting Stronger

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Mental gymnastics.
Trying to be strong,
trying to choose the positive way,
resisting negativity, anger,
and then it comes, white hot
and so fast it’s all a blur.
Lost it again.
How many times have I lost it today?
How many times have I apologized
to my children for my explosive anger?
And then it’s time
to apologize to myself
for judging myself
for being hurt and lashing out.
Faced with all of this pain
I’m doing the best I can,
but the voice inside
says, “Never good enough.”
How do I respond to that?
I take a deep breath.
I step back into the arena.
More mental gymnastics,
and maybe I’m getting stronger each time.

Reluctant Housecleaning

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I scrubbed toilets
with no gladness in my heart today,
felt overburdened and overwhelmed,
walked around scowling,
and when I wasn’t enraged,
I was feeling guilty and ashamed
for losing my temper with my kids.
I thought about people
who clean houses for a living,
what that must be like…
Keeping just one house clean
feels like way too much
for one person to handle alone.
And I thought of societal expectations,
what one woman is supposed to do
for her home, her family,
putting others needs before her own.
I thought of those who live
with more creative freedom than I…
do they manage to keep a clean house
and find time for the things they really want to do?
I wouldn’t have cared so much
about the dingy state of things,
but my in-laws are coming Friday,
and I have appearances to keep up.
If only I could vacuum the crud out of my brain,
the way I vacuum the crud out of the carpet.

The Mean Time

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Without warning it returns
the depression, the rage
and my hormones betray me again
A friend reminded me
the last time that this happened
that it wouldn’t be the last time
that this happens
But knowing what it is
doesn’t make it feel
any less overwhelming.
I’m going to bed early
and trying to forgive myself
for all the times
I snapped at my children today.
I know this will get better;
it always does–
but it’s what I do in the meantime
(the MEAN time)
that really worries me.

Always a Mother

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Sometimes I’m a monster.
The hormones rage,
awakened by a child too many times
in the night
sleep deprivation depriving
me of insight,
cannot see the light.
Patience is gone,
replaced by rage,
I’m an animal in a cage.

I’m loud, I stomp, I slam,
I feel put upon, resentful,
exhausted, alone.
Then comes the guilt
for not being better.
When it’s like this,
I often forget that…

Sometimes I’m a saint.
Most of the time
I meet my children
with tenderness and kindness
when they are grumpy,
resistant, messy, loud,
and mostly oblivious to my efforts
toward their happiness.
I cuddle and hold them close,
I tell them how important they are,
how special, how dear,
how glad I am that they are here.

I love from the deepest part of me
and forgive every single thing,
because I see their purity,
their goodness,
their absolute trust in me,
and I want to be worthy of that trust.

Sometimes I’m a monster.
Sometimes I’m a saint.

Always I’m a mother.

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 3: Help Me Out

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Ladies, help me out.
Do you get mood swings too?
Do you feel enraged
for no particular reason,
and even if the sun is shining,
do you feel darkness too?
I want to know what will help.
I meditate, I breathe,
I keep myself busy with housework.
I try to give my kids my full attention,
but the monster can sweep it all away,
and all that is left is my anger.
Help me out.
Who knows how to stop the rage?
Who can pull themselves back from the edge?
Help me out.
How do you deal with your anger?

PMS Hell and Other Fun Things

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I hesitate sharing with you in a way that could be construed as my airing my dirty laundry over the internets.  But this blog was at the start, and has continued to be, a place for me to explore my real life situations in the context of my yoga practice, and I ain’t hiding nothin’. This is real life, people.

Pretty sure that I can attribute a lot of what I’m feeling to PMS.  It has its way with me every month. Just a week before my cycle starts, everything goes to hell, and finding one tiny spark of hope takes monumental effort.  Patience is in short supply, and it seems as though everyone is out to get me, especially those closest to me. I manage for the most part to keep the undercurrents of rage at bay for the benefit of my children; I do not want to traumatize them with my moodiness, explosiveness, my reactivity.

I’ve been told that the moodiness associated with PMS occurs as the veil between the conscious and the subconscious wears thin, and everything we’ve been trying to conceal from the world behind our sunshiny/I’m a caregiver/a nurturer/a healer/everyone else comes first exterior rises up to demand our attention for the purposes of learning and healing, and at the very least, for moving through us, for changing, even if it’s on a minute level.

I’ve also been told that PMS is worse for women who feel that they are going about much of their existence without getting their own needs met.  This doesn’t surprise me at all. How long can one continue to maintain a facade of strength, patience, and cheerfulness when she is tired, underfed, under-appreciated, and at the end of her mental and emotional rope?

The chances of a woman suffering from PMS might be linked to our genetic heritage.  This could be part of what is going on here for me–as a child I finally figured out what it was that caused my mom to become a volcano of rage once a month, and I learned how to avoid her during those times.  Before I made the connection, it felt like my world was ending every time my mom withdrew her regular supply of compassionate understanding and gave in turn loud words, slammed doors, angry faces, disapproval.

At any rate, understanding its source in no way helps to mitigate the heaviness, the unease, the sadness, the anger that plague me during this time…and this is precisely where I was when my husband came home last night and scolded me for not shoveling the snow.

Here is what happened in my mind the second he told me I should’ve shoveled the walk in front of our house:

Are you fucking kidding me?  I let him know how hard it was with our son today, how he was inconsolable, tantruming, yelling, crying, wouldn’t eat, wasn’t feeling well, and was using his time to tear up everything he could, making a mess of every room he was in.  I am tired as hell. I worked hard to make a good dinner for everyone, one kids is bathed and in pajamas, the other kid is in the bath right now,  I have spent the last few days cooking my ass off, there are dozens of cookies and yummy leftovers to show for it, I haven’t had a shower in two days, I haven’t been able to write in my journal, or sew, or practice yoga, or anything for my self in days–and I already TOLD HIM I HAVE PMS–so he can go fuck himself.

I told him I forgot.  My husband said that wasn’t an excuse.  That’s when I started getting defensive.  When he let me know that we were the only house on the street that hadn’t shoveled, I thought about the number of times that I had shoveled our sidewalk and didn’t stop at ours, how I had shoveled my neighbors’ sidewalks and put down salt for them without them knowing (random acts of kindness–I’m a believer).  I was 1)Annoyed the one of the neighbors didn’t go, “Ah, whatever, it’s only an inch of snow, I can take care of this for them,” and 2)Flabbergasted that my husband would dare suggest that I could have in some way found time in the midst of toddler hell to get out there and take care of the completely inoffensive, completely innocuous one goddamn inch of snow that was no threat to anyone.

Yep, recipe for angry outburst.  I’m actually proud of myself for the amount of self-control I was able to muster at that moment.  I did raise my voice a little, I’m not going to lie, but I said to him, “I’m giving our daughter a bath right now, trying to put conditioner in her hair.  If it needs to be done–you go do it.”

“You are deflecting responsibility!” he argued.

“I’m not deflecting anything!” I told him, “I’m not willing to have an argument with you about this right now! If the sidewalk needs to be shoveled, YOU TAKE CARE OF IT!”

He slinked off, clearly annoyed, and I tried to regain my composure so that I could be gentle with my little girl as we finished with her bath.  I managed, but inside I was steaming.  Then my mom showed up.  She has been staying with us since the move on February 1 in order to  help us to get settled, and she has been for the most part very helpful, but then this happened:

I told my mom how Cliff just ripped me a new one for not shoveling, how I told him how hard it was with our son, and how I’m so angry I could just slap him, and my mom gave me a sort of sympathetic look, said nothing, walked into her bedroom and closed the door. That was odd.  Normally she says something like, “Men!” and I immediately feel heard and vindicated.

So now I had to figure out why I wasn’t been met with the motherly sympathy I was wanting.  A few minutes later when she reappeared, I cornered her and said, “Did you not respond to my complaining because Cliff already told you what happened, you think I should’ve shoveled also, you think I have no reason to be upset?”

“Yes, Cliff already told me about what happened, and I don’t want to take sides,” she told me.  She doesn’t want to take sides?

“I’m not asking you to take sides,” I told her, “At the end of a long day, all I want is some empathy.” She patted my shoulder, walked into the bathroom, and took a bath.  Well, fuck. Now I’m mad at my husband and my mother.  She of all people should understand what it is to be bogged down by household responsibilities and then be told that she hasn’t done enough!

I barely mustered the strength to write my daily post last night.  My husband was on the laptop downstairs and I wasn’t about to have an interaction with him to retrieve it from him, so I had to muddle through posting from my iPhone. I didn’t show up for my journal writing practice.  I didn’t show up for my evening meditation practice.  I just went the hell to bed.

This morning I was hoping that I would be in a softer, more forgiving place, but none such thing happened.  As I awoke I felt the same seductive pull of my anger and my resentment, the same self-righteous indignation that was burning through me the night before. Great.  I went ahead and sat for my thirty minute morning meditation, I got breakfast started, made myself coffee.  The kids woke up just as I was getting breakfast on the table. I helped them through a smooth morning routine, and when my husband awoke they were nearly ready to leave for school.  I got his breakfast started for him too, in spite of the fact that I would not, could not look him in the face.  He said something about discussing last night, and I said, “If it’s going to be you justifying your disappointment and reiterating how I didn’t fulfill my responsibility, then I’m not interested.”  He said, “So you’re okay with holding on to all of this?”  I said, “I’d rather us not talk right now than me get angry all over again because you can’t understand what I’m feeling and where I’m coming from.”  This was a clear invitation for some empathy from him, but it went right over his head, because he was caught in his own beliefs about the event, so he shrugged and sauntered off to get ready for work while I was left to clean up smears of cream cheese from the breakfast table.

I played with the kids while the husband was in the shower.  Then I brushed their teeth and their hair, got their coats and back packs ready, helped them with their socks and shoes, and got them out the door with my husband–and felt a sense of relief when he was gone.  Now I’m hiding from my mother in my bedroom.  I still don’t want to talk to her either.

And I’m writing about all of this because it is therapeutic.  I’m not quite ready for the yogic phase of this experience, in which I take ownership for all of my crappy feelings and muster empathy for my husband and my traitor of a mother, and then tell them how much I appreciate them and care about them, and apologize for my reactivity. Maybe later.  For now, I’m going to wallow in my PMS hell, and allow myself to be seduced by my anger and resentment for a while longer.  Perhaps my feelings will have something to tell me, if I take the time to listen.

The Last Day of February

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The blossoming always comes at the perfect time.

Patience, and trust that the blossoming will occur in the perfect time, space and sequence.

I decided in January that I would be exploring the Twelve Steps in some form during the twelve months that I have committed to daily posts.  Today is the last day of February, the second month, so it only seems fitting that I wrap up with some work on the second step. I wrote a good bit of this post a week ago, but never got around to polishing it to my liking.  Hopefully today I can post writing that is enough in congruence with what I’m feeling that it rings with authenticity, if not for everyone else, then at least for myself.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every  meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
-from http://www.aa.org

February 20, 2014

Nearing the end of February, and I find myself wanting to reflect more and more on the second step of the Twelve Steps. Tonight I spent some time researching Rageaholics Anonymous. I even found a phone meet-up and wondered if I would have the courage to join in on one of the conference calls.  There don’t seem to be any meetings in Baltimore; I would prefer to meet face to face with people, but I suppose a conference call is better than doing nothing at all.

My therapist suggested that I find an AA meeting in town.  Without too much effort I could present myself as an alcoholic, he suggested, and then I would gain admission to the group.  He cautioned me that if I tried to join saying that I’m actually a rageaholic but that I want to be part of a group, they  might not let me in.

Sure, I could present myself as an alcoholic.  I have turned to drink many times when I felt sad, or angry, or uptight.  I relied on drinking when I felt nervous in a social setting and wanted to “take the edge off.”  I have been so drunk that my body began to violently reject what I had poured into it, in an effort to save itself from being poisoned, evidence of its impulse to survive at all costs.  I have driven when I certainly shouldn’t have, and was lucky enough to not hurt anyone or myself.  I have allowed drinking to cloud my mind so that I wouldn’t experience true connection with my family or myself.  Sure, I could pass for an alcoholic.  Because I might actually be an alcoholic.  It doesn’t really matter that I haven’t had a drink since last August and that I haven’t missed it much at all.  The truth is, I have engaged in many addictive behaviors in my lifetime, the consequences of which I am not the least bit proud.  I want to explore these behaviors in the context of an established system that has proven results, if one is willing to do what needs to be done.  I think I am.

It would be nice to join a group.  I think in the end what I’m really looking for is connection, for support, a sense of being a part of something, being included.  Could I find this connection with myself, support myself, include myself?  I think I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I were already capable of such self-honoring.

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February 28, 2014

It’s the last day of February and I’m exhausted from four sleepless nights in a row.  The Wellbutrin is having its way with me. I’m not supposed to be looking for an improvement in my mood before two weeks have passed, and this is the minimum window of time in which one can expect for the drug to take effect.  And there is the painful irony:  I’m taking this medicine with hopes of someday feeling better, but while waiting for that to happen, I’m being deprived of rest, of respite from my neurotic mind. I feel myself slipping into a downward spiral of impatience, resentment, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness, sheer exhaustion, and I’m just feeling a whole lot worse.  It isn’t supposed to be like this, is it?

And yet, I am a mother.  I must be there to take care of my kids, to provide for their needs.  I’m getting caught up in my thoughts, and my son or daughter is whimpering, calling out.  They’re getting fussy with one another.  My son resists having his diaper changed and gets poop all over his hands, his legs.  My daughter doesn’t go willingly to the bathroom on her own; she needs to be coaxed, offered incentives.  Making lunch seems like a huge, nearly insurmountable task, all I want to do is lie down, rest, and let someone else be the mother.

But I push through, and inside, I am screaming.  My son scampers out of the room and starts pulling things off of bookshelves, out of drawers.  He does this while I’m trying to help my daughter with a puzzle that is probably too complex for her.  I dash after the boy to clean up the messes he has made, to avoid the worsening of the messes–and my daughter cries out in frustration because she has reached an impasse and needs my help.  I am running back and forth, from room to room, the house is in disarray.  I want rest. Inside I am screaming.

It is 1:41pm, and the kids are in their rooms for nap time. I take a deep breath.  I’m looking forward to teaching restorative yoga tonight; it might be the only moment today in which I experience peace, centeredness, stillness.  I take another deep breath, peace is now. Only now.

The second step reads:

I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore my life to sanity.

As I look back on what I’ve experienced the past two months, and as I look forward into the third month and the third step, I feel pretty complete in this moment, as far as my step work goes.  I don’t have a group or a sponsor, but I do believe that a power greater than myself can restore my life to sanity.  Maybe the higher power is God, maybe it’s Wellbutrin, who knows?  All that is really important here is my belief.

And I do believe.

Mandala #2…and My Foray Into Antidepressants

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The all-seeing witness at the center of being, still in the midst of movement, silent in the midst of noise, peaceful in the midst of chaos.

The all-seeing witness at the center of being, still in the midst of movement, silent in the midst of noise, peaceful in the midst of chaos.

I drew this mandala when I found myself with a bit of time before a scheduled appointment.  I was in a quiet room, at a big table, and I had an hour and a half to kill–which is a very rare occurrence these days.  I got out my pens and the small journal that I often take with me just in case I have a moment to write, and I doodled.  It’s meditative drawing a mandala–I can become quite nicely absorbed in the present moment when my only question is, which color pen will I pick up next?

In other news, after years of encouragement from multiple people including my therapist, my husband, my mother-in-law, an ex-boyfriend and his mother–among others– I finally went to a doctor and got a prescription for an antidepressant medication.  I’m not telling my family.  They are staunchly opposed to medicines for regulating brain chemistry.  This is probably one of the reasons that they are all depressed.

I always thought yoga and meditation would save me from this.  I thought I was better than this.  Taking medication feels like I’m giving up.  But I can’t afford to wait any longer, not when I see myself raising my voice at my children, stomping and slamming around, unable to control my temper, feeling low, feeling worthless.

I have been telling myself for years that I’ll be happy when the conditions of my life change:

If I could only live in the mountains, surrounded by trees, ferns, rocks and moss…
If only I could have a supportive community around me, other parents of young children, people to meditate with,  friends who show up…
If only I had more time to write, to practice yoga, to rock climb, to dance in a forest cathedral, to listen to the whisper of river water gliding over stones…
If only, if only, if only
then I could be happy.

I had been waiting to create the perfect life, to move away from the city and be closer to nature. I had been waiting to find more balance, to have more time to myself.  I kept telling myself that my depression was linked to real conditions in my life that could be changed, and it was only a matter of time; I needed to be patient and allow the transformation to occur, find my peace with what is, not be too pushy.

Meanwhile I can’t seem to control my rage, and I lack the motivation to do many of the things that I know would bring me satisfaction.  No matter how hard I try, I end up being impatient with my kids, short-tempered, and then I feel guilty for erupting, being reactive.  I don’t want them to turn out like me, I don’t want them to be angry people.  I don’t want them to be traumatized; they’re so young, they deserve to feel happy and to know that they are safe at all times. They deserve to be around a mother who is happy, competent and peaceful.

My husband picked up my prescription from the pharmacy tonight, and I eyed the bottle sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours before I worked up the courage to open it and examine its contents.  I took off the cap and saw a bunch of harmless looking,  round, pale lavender pills–but they might as well have been roaring monsters with sharp teeth for all of the anxiety I was feeling.  I plucked one out and held the small lavender disk in my hand for a few minutes, on the verge of tears, feeling so hopeless, defeated.

When I finally swallowed the thing, I was swallowing my sadness, my anger, my regret, my guilt.  There was a big lump in my throat that made swallowing nearly impossible, but I did it.  I took my first antidepressant pill–and then I burst into tears.

I’ve been told that life doesn’t have to feel like such a struggle.  I’m looking forward to experiencing that.