Trigger warning. Please be aware the content of this blog may trigger some people.
Over the past few months I have slowly become more aware of some of my alters; the different parts of me, it’s an interesting journey of discovery. But this past week I have had to face up to the reality that at least one part of me is angry, and contains anger that frightens me. I discussed this at my therapy session this week in the hope of trying to understand more about this part of me and why they are angry.
In fairness to the alter I have to say that the anger isn’t aimed directly at anyone, it builds as a result of incidents that cause us fear and hurt. The outcome is that this part of me vents verbally the frustration we feel, though the venting isn’t done towards any individual it’s more an outburst verbally of anger.
In the last few months there have been three incidents of verbal venting and all have occurred around my eldest son who is 26, he isn’t the cause of the anger or frustration that we feel. Unfortunately he just happens to be around when it becomes too intolerable to contain anymore and this part of me takes control and out comes the rage we feel. These incidents have lasted no more than a few minutes each time and yet the aftermath is huge.
The last incident took place last weekend and I am told that the children could tell it was brewing so were well prepared. I had no idea at all that the frustration, upset and hurt that was inside of me was coming to the fore and was about to pour out in a verbal venting that wasn’t nice for them or me.
The moment I exploded the words poured out of my mouth in one long verbal rant and I was aware this was happening and yet had absolutely no control. Immediately afterwards I felt wracked with guilt and sorrow, I hated the fact I had lost it and I hated that I couldn’t control this angry part of me. I was also so concerned about the children my son and my daughter witnessed the last incident and they didn’t deserve this it wasn’t their fault. They tell me they are fine and can cope with this, but I still worry about them.
My frustration had been building for weeks, I had been hurt by someone and that hurt and betrayal felt horrendous and despite trying to deal with it I obviously hadn’t. For me the fact we felt betrayed, let down and hurt was really difficult and the pain and anguish that I felt just didn’t go away. The difficult part was a number of parts of me felt this hurt and so I wasn’t just carrying the hurt of one but of many and that was hard.
I have been trying to rationalise my feelings for a few weeks now, telling myself that it was ok to feel this way and I’m learning that I have every right to feel hurt. I have also spent time trying to tell myself that none of this was my fault because it wasn’t and yet the person who hurt us had tried to put the blame on me. Now for most people when someone tries to blame you for something you haven’t done, you can just bat it back and refuse to accept the persons attempt at transferring their guilt onto you. Sadly for someone like me who has been through years of abuse it’s not so easy, my default is to take the blame.
I didn’t realise this until recently, but I’m good at self blame, I’m good at taking responsibility for things that aren’t my fault and I’m learning why. As a child and into adulthood it was common for my main abuser to put the blame for everything onto me. I was the bad child who would get locked up if I told about my abuse, it was after all my fault or so they told me. I was also the child who was always getting things wrong, upsetting them and making them angry at me, thus justifying their physical abuse inflicted on me.
Things didn’t improve as an adult this main abuser would still tell me that every thing that went wrong was my fault. When one of my children was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, I was constantly told by them it was punishment for me being a bad person. When the car broke down that was my mistake too I must have driven it badly, I was so bad at everything. The sad fact is that at the time I believed them, I was so used to their constant put downs that it didn’t matter how much others would counteract their lies, I always believed them.
Hence my default position is to take the blame because well that’s just how I have become wired over the years. Its taking time and a lot of patience from my psychologist to get me to stop being so self critical, and to think about blame. So when the person who hurt us tried to transfer the blame too I think initially I took it. It was only as time has progressed and I have carried on working at rationalising this incident and their betrayal, that I have accepted it wasn’t my fault.
But of course I hadn’t dealt with the pain and hurt I justifiably felt, until it all became too big to contain anymore and then the part of me that gets angry did just that. I spoke to my psychologist about this anger and how it made me feel and we talked about how everyone has an angry side, they just vent it in different ways. Perhaps they kick the wall or slam the door, people have different ways of letting go of their hurt or anger, I’m just learning about mine.
I now realise that as a child I bottled up my anger, it wasn’t safe to show it or let it out. I can recall that on one occasion I tried to tell my main abuser how much I hated her and that she was nothing more than a big bully. I recall I lost out big style, and was sore for a few days afterwards as she and my brother gave me a beating. The beating was to teach me a lesson they felt I needed and I guess it worked, I never dare express again my anger or hurt.
I lived with anger all around, my main abuser would get drunk and explode with venom at a moments notice. Though to be fair she didn’t need the drink to make her do this it was part of who she was. I grew up soaking in all this anger, this rage and I contained anger and rage from the times I couldn’t express my hurt, pain and frustration too.
It is no wonder there is apart of me that finds it hard to contain her feelings of hurt and frustration and who at times loses control and vents. Of course now I want and need to work through all this anger, not just the present day stuff but the past too. The good thing is I feel guilty when I have lost control and vented, and am I not venting directly at people, so there is hope.
This week when I have felt my frustration levels building I have taken myself off to my room, sat quietly and talked internally. I’m trying to tell all of me that it’s ok that we feel hurt, it’s justifiable and it’s ok to vent if we use art or some other safe means. We are coming to terms with the fact anger is an emotion like many others and it’s ok if we use it well, I’m 48 years old and just learning it’s ok to be angry.
Maybe that’s the reality of being a survivor of childhood abuse, the reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder is that I’m just learning to live, live with all my parts. The part that feels angry isn’t bad she just needs time, patience, space and I guess lots of loving, of course I need to give that loving or self nurture to me because this angry part is a part of me.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014