My mom was always angry. My memory of my entire childhood is comprised of her screaming. Her rage was terrifying. “Arguments” and “fights” were just her going ballistic so I learned quickly to do anything to not make her mad. It didn’t work, of course. I’m trying so hard to put into words what her rage looked and felt like but I’m struggling.
When I say “screaming” I don’t mean a raised voice. I mean…rage. Rage rage rage. Screaming so loud she’d lose her voice. Wordless shrieking. Broken dishes. Her face blood red. Physical violence.
You know how it’s natural for kids and parents to argue? Especially during teen years? That never happened. I was terrified of her. I knocked over a glass of water and she’d scream at me, so loud and filled with so much hate that I couldn’t stop shaking. Loud sudden noises made me flinch.
She got herself kicked out of and banned from grocery stores and restaurants because of her crazed anger. Sometimes directed at my father, sometimes at employees. She had no control. She looked like a monster.
That’s what anger looked like to me, monstrous.
How do you grow up with that and then believe anger and arguments can be healthy? I didn’t know that so I just ran from it. I avoided conflict with every fiber of my being. I’ll do and say anything I have to in order to make you happy. I stayed in horrifying situations because I was too scared to end them. I assumed that if I voiced objections, it would trigger the insanity.
I had no voice. I was silent. I was mute. I wrapped up everything that upset and angered me and pushed it down as deep as I could. Swallowing it whole. Being angry at myself was better than being angry at anyone else. Hating myself was better than hating anyone else. Hurting myself was better than hurting someone else.
I’m learning, though. I’m learning to express myself to my friends. I tell M when I’m upset or disappointed. I don’t hide my feelings from him. I still struggle with some people - the ones I don’t feel emotionally or physically safe with - but I’m also learning how to exorcise those people from my life. And I’ve even stood up for myself when I was afraid! Because I’m sick of fear. Fear has controlled every aspect of my life for so fucking long. Fear of conflict, fear of retribution, fear of loss. So fucking sick of it.
I was never not afraid. Fear has dictated my life and has caused me to give up and run from so many opportunities. And I am so done with it.