I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my eardrums. Literally. Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom.
My face is completely heated. I can feel steam coming out of my palms. I have a massive impulse to get revenge. To make her hurt. To fight back with all the secrets of hers that I hold. To expose to the world what a complete hypocrite she is. To show everyone the truth and retrieve back my dignity. To tell everyone how much of a fool she looked like, trying to gain pity from others. I wished she would experience all that I did, all that she made me feel, and then laugh in the face of her pain.
Has it only been a minute? It feels like hours have gone by. I’m barely breathing, my eyes can’t focus on anything. All I see in my mind……is rage. All I feel in my body is terrible terrible anger.
I used to fear feeling like this because I didn’t like the way I felt when anger attacked.
I didn’t like feeling angry. And I would beat myself up about it. I would feel completely horrible for having bad thoughts of other people. The guilt of wanting to hurt them would engulf my anger and render me even more ashamed. I wasn’t this person, so why was I feeling that way???
How could I ever have those thoughts? I’m not a vengeful person. I’ve never been this angry, enough to have such thoughts. Growing up, I’ve never cared about what others said about me. I’ve had people do worse things to me and still I never felt this angry towards them. I’m not even this angry towards my own ex- who was the one who actually did the stuff to hurt me. Why am I so angry towards this person? Someone I don’t even know?
Why? I wanted to seek out the meaning behind my anger towards this particular person.
Twice when the triggers attacked and I experienced tremendous rage, I started hitting myself. I would bang my head against any hard surface, scratch my skin until it bled, pull at my hair, I would hit myself in the head continuously until Marco calms me down. And every time after I calm down, I would start crying immediately because of all the emotions I felt. I felt like the Hulk. I kept repeating to myself “I’m not the hulk. I’m not an angry person.”
Because of such traumatic experiences with Anger, I got afraid of it. So many times when the anger resurfaced, I would push it away. I would reject it, avoid it and completely deny it.
But Anger didn’t want to leave. It found ways to sneak back into my heart, small and big ways. A flashback, a memory, a song, a word, a type of food. It became so exhausting avoiding Anger, it felt like she was waiting around every bend, lurking around every corner.
So, one day. I finally had enough. I summoned up all the courage I had, marched up to her and said “What can I do for you so you will leave me alone????”
It was then, when Anger approached me calmly and placed a single finger on my stomach. The heat that suddenly coursed through my body felt so familiar, so haunting and yet……it wasn’t setting me on fire. I took a leap of faith and embraced the intense heat. Instead of harming me, it was trying to burst energy into me so I could feel my body better. I was….suddenly aware of knots that were in my body. Knots that seemed to pulsate to the drums of my Anger. I couldn’t feel them before because all of the heat used to concentrate around my mind, stopping me from being aware of my body.
I quickly learned that Anger……….was just trying to be helpful. Anger was just trying to tell me something. About who? Not about what we think of the person trying to hurt us, or people trying to get a reaction out of us. Anger doesn’t care about them. Anger doesn’t know them. Anger doesn’t want anything to do with them.
Anger wanted to reveal the cause of my pain and sorrow.
“I want you…to feel where it hurts when you pinpoint where the anger comes from,” My life coach, Rella, told me.
I went through the list of things my perpetrator said about me. One by one. I said those things to myself and I asked myself where the words caused a reaction.
Some surfaced in my lower back, some in my throat, most of them in my stomach and some of them in my chest.
“For all the feelings you’re experiencing now, as you’re replaying the hurtful things that were said to or about you, when was the last time you remember feeling like this before?” Rella very calmly and gently asked me.
At first, it wasn’t so clear to figure out where the source of my feelings came from. I had long ago detached from those memories. I had long ago put away the incidents that hurt me. With Rella‘s help and patience, she helped me navigate through my past and gave me actual solutions to my problems.
Slowly….and when I mean slowly…..I mean that it’s taking months and months, I’m managing to unearth so many things that happened in my past, things that hurt me deeply. I’m going back in time to remember what happened to toddler Jane, child Jane, teenage Jane, young adult Jane and I’m putting faces to many of the triggers I have.
For every precious skull of memory I collect, I place them gently into individual jars and from time to time, I now hold them close to me, with a sole intention to heal these wounds.
I hold closely, each skull that contains a memory of past Janes, and I let the ghosts of them cry out to me. I let them demonstrate what it felt like when those things happened. I allowed them to remind me how lonely, abandoned, hurt, betrayed, and dismissed I once felt.
I used to see such a thick layer of fog. A fog that covered up the meaning behind my anger. Why was I angry? Especially if I knew her intentions to accuse me were only in reaction to her own inability to cope with her feelings?
The minute I started realizing that her anger was not just directed towards me, but more towards her own self, the minute I also realized my own anger wasn’t just in reaction to her actions. They were in reaction to my own past actions.
I put her aside and I focused on my own actions.
I stopped feeling bad about things I’d done before. I started understanding why and letting go of the past. I stopped feeling guilt towards the past because I now knew that the reason I made all of my “mistakes” or “regrets” were because I had past wounds that were buried alive. Buried while they were still pounding alive, wanting to be healed, to be acknowledged, to be heard. My thoughts and actions were driven by the ghosts of my past, all rising to the surface whenever a trigger occurs, all demanding that their grievances were dealt with.
Soon….The fog started clearing and I could see so clearly. There was so much clarity.
I even started looking at my bully differently. She wasn’t my enemy. Although she intended to hurt me, it mirrored the amount of hurt she herself was feeling. However hard she was on me, it reflected how much more brutal she is towards herself. I was never her enemy. She had her own battles to fight. It was easier for her to direct anger towards me, than face Anger herself.
There was no forgiving needed. From either party. I just had to see her. To really see her. And just let her be. Not to change her actions towards me, or wonder why she had so much hatred towards me, but to accept that whatever she does or says is out of my control, and that I can decide to disengage and let go.
“Tell me who you are,” Anger once asked me to write down attributes that would describe me.
As I wrote down each word, I waited for a rejection from my body. If there was, I would re-examine the word and ask myself what the truth was. Is it a word that accurately describes who I am? Or it a word that describes the ghosts of my past? At the end of the session, I looked at all the words that described the person I am and I felt……..accepted. I was finally acknowledging who I am, all of it – even the parts that I felt ashamed of.
Then, I also wrote down words that described who I wanted to be, and I set an intention.
An intention to release myself from the actions of my past, be it good, bad, ugly, or sad.
An intention to allow inner parts of me that were once suppressed and denied, to express and be accepted.
Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but transferred.
And after the calamities that happen in our lives, it is up to us to recuperate and heal, and then seek to grow from within.
And this is how I know, that every single one of us, is capable of building ourselves back up. From the ashes of our calamity, we nurture our self-worth and allow nature to tend to our healing.
And you know what?
After 2 years of grieving, pain, anger, shame, and sorrow, I’ve come to accept all of it. Not to change them, not to wish them away. But simply to accept them.
Someone once told me that acceptance is a mutually beneficial agreement.
If you go to a shop to buy something, and they name you a price, you get what you want only by accepting an agreeable price. However much you haggle with the seller, both of you have to agree on a set price.
And once that price is agreed upon, there are no more hard feelings towards each other. Both parties simply accept and move on.
Accepting our past, accepting the people around us, accepting ourselves.
It all goes into helping us move past temporary disagreements. Not to judge, blame, or hold accountable for anything more. Just to say “look we once disagreed on something, but it doesn’t mean anything else. Let’s move on.”
If we can constantly do this with our “enemies” whether they are people who’ve hurt us, or even ourselves, we will do better in our goals of becoming more evolved versions of ourselves.
How does it feel now?
Lighter and happier.
It’s been easier to distinct between the voices of my past and my own voice now. Even when triggers come, they swiftly go and I’ve learnt to be patient with myself.
Stuck emotions no longer last longer than a day, and my dreams are no longer plagued with what “could have been” or “should have been”
After the calamity, there is Peace.
And Peace……is a treasured luxury. Peace is a gift. I’m grateful for Peace.