About Anger

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I said I would write about how anger figured into my process as I struggled to come to terms with having been ritually abused. I’m going to describe two tracks, the “day life” – my family – and the “night life” – the cult.

In the day life, I was raised to be a nice little girl. There are many things that nice little girls don’t do, and way up at the top of the list is getting angry. If a nice girl burps or runs indoors, it’s greeted with shock, but if she gets angry, it’s greeted with both shock and deep dismay. It’s a disaster that will bring shame on the whole family. So I was taught from a very early age not to show anger and to suppress it to the point of not feeling it.

All my early experiences in the “night life” consisted of religious training. (My cults practices were old-school Satanism.) Neither religious services nor ‘Sunday School” are appropriate places for anger. Any expression of anger, disobedience, or thinking for myself was immediately punished. The message was consistent; only the means of conveying it were different.

By the time I entered school, I had no conscious understanding or even awareness of my anger. I withdrew physically and emotionally from situations that made me mad. Denial, avoidance, repression, and dissociation were my coping mechanisms. Of course, it was still there and managed to sneak out in disguised ways. I was a whiny, sullen child in the day life, and “I can’t” replaced “I won’t, dammit.” Nobody asked why; they figured I was just that way and tried to change me.

As a teen, I developed a thirst to see the world beyond my family. So many things to learn about out there! New foods, other religions, other political beliefs, books, boys. Independence! I developed ways of getting what I wanted, sometimes sneaky ways, like pretending I wanted something outrageous and then settling for what I really wanted all along. I am sure my determination to move beyond my family was largely fueled by anger, but I didn’t know it then.

As I grew into adulthood, I felt anger, even rage, at my parents, but I had no name for that emotion. They thwarted me, I got angry, and then I got angry at being made to feel angry. There were times when I was shaking with the effort not to strangle them. Believe it or not, I only sorta guessed I was angry, and I certainly didn’t feel the depth and breadth of my rage. But I was a nice girl, and I didn’t show my feelings.

The only times I felt angry, knew I was angry, felt entitled to be angry, and showed it in no uncertain terms was when I was defending my kids. Here’s an example: one of my daughters needed an operation and was admitted to the hospital the night before. We were told I could come with her and stay while she got the anesthesia. Next morning at the crack of dawn, I was at the hospital, and they tried to turn me away. “Against the rules.” I blew up and gave the name of the charge nurse who had said I could, and said I would complain all the way to the top if I were not allowed to keep my promise to my child. She would think that I had betrayed her – not that the hospital had fucked up. Guess what? I got my way!

That I was capable of this kind of behavior surprised me. No worry about not being nice, no fear of consequences, no hesitation. And no guilt afterward, just relief and pride.

I have let go of the anger at my parents now that I understand that they had been abused as children, just as I had been. They couldn’t remember, because society was different then, and so they had no chance of healing or of having an honest relationship with their children.

Yes, I am angry now, but at certain world issues, not at specific people. I do object when people cross my boundaries or neglect me, but I quickly work it out.

I never specifically worked on anger. I worked on the things that made me angry, and, as I understood more, my feelings changed. It was one of those things that just seemed to happen, with no effort on my part. A side effect, so to speak, of all the work I did in other areas.

I don’t think that waiting thirty years is a realistic strategy for others to take in dealing with angry feelings. I think it is probably better to learn to identify the feeling, find out how much of it comes from the past and how much from the present, and find ways of handling both past (flashback) and present anger. My guess is that this approach would make life easier and that results would be seen in less than thirty years!

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Upcoming Holidays

December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/10 Full moon
1/10-11 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-january-10
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve
February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/8 Full moon
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/26 Ash Wednesday

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
1/12 Birth of both Rosenburg and Goering, Nazi leaders in WW2
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/10 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (celebration of spring)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)