This week I felt angry. It felt good!
The anger made me feel in control, it gave me a brief interval from the awful feelings of loss that I have been experiencing. My mind has been demanding answers, with the words, “how could you do this to me?” repeating loudly in my head all week, as I shopped, swam, cooked and mowed the lawn.
I am learning that anger can be both totally useless and totally useful all at once.
Anger can use up so much energy. It can keep us stuck, rob us of peace and make us physically unwell. Some camp out in the anger, it can make them feel powerful in what may be a powerless situation. They pitch up that tent and say, ‘this works for me, I’m staying put!’
Anger can act as a wall, one that keeps all of those other nasty feelings, like grief, at bay. The wall becomes a protective force, a defence mechanism.
Betrayal in a marriage can spark a powerful force of anger. It can cause people to act in impulsive moments of revenge that they never in a million years would normally do. This often leads to mistakes that they later come to regret. These acts offer a brief (and tempting) moment of victory but long-term they may only lead to the person feeling worse.
Whenever I get angry, I feel it is serving some kind of purpose, like there is a shift in my feelings. In those angry moments, another crack forms in the rose-tinted glasses I viewed my relationship and my husband through. It feels like I’ve come up for some much-needed air after having been drowning in grief.
In my situation, my husband showed no remorse for his betrayal, his abandonment or his hurtful actions that followed. In fact, he was angry with me. It was like he had chosen to forget I was a human, like he saw me as a doll that shouldn’t have feelings, shouldn’t question his actions and didn’t need explanations. It was easier for him to treat me with hate and anger than to afford me dignity, care and respect. Anger worked much better for him.
Anger allowed him to rewrite both me as a person and our marriage in order to distance himself from me and to carry out the awful, selfish betrayals that he has.
He rewrote me to himself and to others. It’s easier to get others onside when you incite anger in them too! He was working so hard to justify his appalling behaviour and using anger as a manipulative tool was just the ticket.
Anger serves a purpose. It has served a purpose for him and for me.
For me, the only real benefit anger serves, is when it ignites in me a desire to survive this. The more I let myself become angry by my husbands behaviour, the more it lights a fire in me.
In my angry moments I say to myself, these three things; Yes, he was capable of doing this to you. No, you didn’t deserve this and (most importantly), don’t let him take another thing from you!
In one angry moment I reaffirm my reality, my value and my future.
I have to be honest though, I don’t seem to get angry too much. The overwhelming feeling I have is utter disappointment.
Throughout my faith life, I have often thought about the awful experience Jesus went through when He was crucified. The pain, the humiliation and the fear He must have felt. Jesus knows more than anyone, the spectrum of feelings a betrayal burdens you with. His experience of betrayal was on such a brutal scale and yet He didn’t act out of anger. He didn’t scream obscenities at those who were hurting him. He didn’t wish them ill. In fact, He asked for God’s forgiveness upon them. This always blows my mind.
I am not in the place of forgiving my husband yet, one day I hope to be. What I am saying is, Jesus understands all of the negative, awful feelings we are experiencing. He was human too. However, He didn’t allow anger to divert Him from the wider picture, from His purpose.
As I said earlier, anger can be both totally useless and yet totally useful. Try to use anger in a way that empowers you. Rather than using it in destructive ways, harness all that energy so that it ignites in you the ability to rise up and reclaim who you are.