Post number 6 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Anger is a theme which resonates deeply with me, and the path which led me to the Temple.

I grew up in an angry house. My father was, and is, a very angry man, who used anger as a tool to intimidate those around him into submission. He was not (so far as I’m aware) ever violent at home, but he was deeply “violent” in his demeanour. Bullying, attacking, and demeaning, his anger stemmed from… well, if I knew where, I’d have a few valuable answers in my life. But I can only imagine they came from a feeling of inadequacy in himself.

My parents rowed a lot when I grew up. I remember vividly wishing my Mum would divorce my Dad, that we could get clear of his aggressive, angry influence. To this day I’m not sure why she didn’t, because some of the behaviour I witnessed in my childhood home was absolutely disgusting. My brother, sadly, takes after my father. He’s also an angry person, angry at life, at the world, at the poor decisions he feels were forced upon him.

So. This is a bit of a digression, but it speaks to my familiarity with anger. The problem is, I didn’t escape its influence either.

As I was growing up, I wasn’t especially angry. I generally kept quiet. I was the “good” son, who stayed out of trouble in order to avoid the anger around me. I was solitary (more about that in the next response), staying in my room or walking the woods and fields of my village. I didn’t have a lot of time for people, because I didn’t trust them. However, as I got older, more gregarious and socially active, my confidence grew. I was happy in my late teens, independent but optimistic. I felt I finally had the power to escape the negative environment of the childhood home I hated, and get away to friendlier homes, friendlier faces.

In my twenties, this trend progressed into arrogance. My early twenties found me drinking heavily, behaving unpleasantly, and by my late twenties, increasingly angry. This anger manifest itself in my home, a mirror of the anger I had grown up with. When I got married, the main target of my anger became my wife. We met at school and spent 13 years together, but by the end it was clear we’d used up whatever love had been there in our relationship, and had grown to resent one another.

I’m not proud to say our attitude towards each other became increasingly hostile when we had children together – not at first, but as time went on and our approaches to parenting, and the underlying philosophies there, diverged deeply. Things got to the point where my wife physically attacked me, quite a few times in the end. Spite, bitterness, unrelenting anger. Of course, there were patches of light, which made us believe there was something worth fighting for, something to return to some day. And that wasn’t the case.

So. My early thirties, and I found the Temple. I regained a great deal of purpose and control in my life. I put a lot right, and of course made some mistakes too. But by and large, my life was more “together” than it had been since I was a teen. But the anger in my home persisted, and my children were starting to see it. The arguments and resentment spilled out from behind closed doors, and my infant children watched with wide eyes. One day I realised what I was doing – exposing my children to the same anger I had grown up within. I was fulfilling the same destiny my parents had laid before themselves. I was repeating the cycle.

So I broke the cycle. I ended the relationship, moved out. Found peace. Found love, as it happens. I broke the cycle. My children now have two very happy, very fulfilled parents, both in healthy and peaceful, loving relationships. They do not have to live in anger, around anger, behind anger. They are free to be kids. The things which used to drive me crazy with anger now make me laugh or at worst make me frown, swear under my breath, and move on. Anger is a fire. It smoulders before it flares, and given a hot climate, it bursts out unexpectedly. It can take a very, very long time for it to burn itself out. The best thing a person can do is starve it of oxygen; stop feeding it, stop engaging with it. Remove yourself from its vicinity. But when it’s out, it’s out. It takes something major to start it up again.

That fire is out, in me. But I know what it was, I know how it felt, I know the things it made me say and do which I will carry. Shouting at my infant son in the car, one night when he refused to sleep. The time I caught my wife’s fist when she went to hit me and almost, almost, hit her back. The way I looked at people I love, with hatred, resentment, limitless rage. I was a fool, in those days. But everything was so distorted, so strange and unreal. In that fire, everything was fuel.

And now everything is just… what it is. Sure, things make me angry now. Things piss me off, wind me up, drive me nuts. And then they go. The fuel burned up, so the sparks can’t hold. I might get annoyed sometimes, but I’m done being angry. I’m done being a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m calmer, and my life is better because of it. My children’s lives will be better because of it.

And the cycle is broken.

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