This week my husband of 9 years told me our relationship was over. The anger I have been feeling is not good anger, and I have had a very hard time remembering the difference between constructive anger and destructive anger.
When you are faced with trauma - whether it is assault, death of a loved one, injury, relationship breakdown, whatever - your natural instincts take over. Your body and your mind go into survival mode, and you become reactive rather than considering. You may become numb, believing that if you shut out the pain you won't feel it, or you may become aggressive, over-reacting to every situation in order to convince yourself that you have done all you could to save yourself. Flight or fight.
Relationship breakdown may not normally be as traumatic as rape or physical assault, but when you already have PTSD issues it's all a level playing field. This week my mind and my body have chosen to fight. At times I have sufficient control to reason with myself, and understand that my fight is destructive. But other times the reactive emotion takes over and I find myself shouting, swearing, arguing and blaming, none of which is doing me any good whatsoever. I know that when I come down from my fight "high", but when the words are running I seem unable to stop them.
I have flashbacks to my past trauma and I feel violated yet again. I remind myself that I would never, ever let anyone hurt me again, in any way - and yet it has happened, emotionally this time rather than physically, but I still had no control over it. So I fight.
I must make a conscious effort during the next stage to avoid situations which I know may lead to fight, but I must also make a second conscious effort not to retreat to flight. I have to find the good middle ground. I am angry, I should be angry, it's okay that I am angry. But it must not be destructive anger. It won't resolve the situation, there is no easy resolution and whatever answers my husband and I eventually agree on will take time, so for my own survival I have to aim for the middle ground.
It doesn't mean I have to forgive - I won't, I don't need to, I don't have to. But it does mean that I am taking care of myself, and ultimately that will make me stronger, and I know I will be the winner on the other side of any resolution.
This week I am looking to my future. I will use my anger constructively, for my own benefit.
I am Woman, hear me roar.