A couple of months ago, I was in my car and I was full of resentment, anger, and rage at a former friend. My frustration was at a boiling point, and I let it all out in the car – thank God, I was by myself and that conversation remains between God and me.
After my vent, I reflected on how could I be so angry at another person, where does this stem from, “nothing anyone has done to me can be that deep to feel this level of anger and hurt” is what I said to myself. With time to sit with my feelings, I realized that the anger I was harboring currently toward my friend, was just the by product of the seed of anger that had been planted when I was much, much, younger. You see, I grew up raised primarily by mom, its something I talk about briefly in my book, but what I don’t speak to is the strain that raising a child put on my mother. My mother had me at 19 and with the world ahead of her, she sacrificed a lot to raise me, with that sacrifice though, came resentment and bitterness that my mother held toward me, that up until recently neither one of us was fully present to. As a child, my mother would beat me, not simply from a place of disciplining an unruly child, but from a place of anger. – She beat me at times , because life was beating her. She was being beat by financial struggle, relationship difficulties, and a community that frowned upon the idea of a young, unwed woman raising a child on her own.
For the emotional beating life gave my mother, she gave it to me physically. I grew to fear my mother, doing all I could to be the “perfect child” to stay out of harms way and not upset her. I never expressed my fear, my pain, or hurt. Like many, I suppressed, - suppressed it for years and then grew into adulthood not realizing that all of those years of covering up early childhood hurts had not gone away, but had just been suffocated with things to keep me busy, to occupy my mind from having my thoughts drift to the past.
It was that fall morning in the car though when it all came to me. I saw the genesis for my anger was based in fear that had metastasized into anger toward my mother that had never been dealt with. Like clockwork, soon after came the revelation, that I could call up my friend, tell them off in anger and rage, and for a brief period of time, I might feel better, but the reality, in the long run, I would in time feel just as bad as I did before – because the root of my anger was not with them, but a hurt that came from long, long, ago.
I think we are hard wired as humans to look at the current situation as the root of our problems, I and I hear often others say, “if only my significant other would do this” “if only she would just do right” “if only my co-worker would stop doing this” we make all of these ultimatums on the present not realizing they are just the ultimatums of the past that were handled improperly. I made the ultimatum in the past that if I could just be good enough, say the right thing, not do the wrong thing, then my mother would be happy and I would have peace. I fostered that illogical thinking in my adult life of thinking if I just was good enough, said the right thing, and did not do the wrong thing, then maybe this person would show up differently in my life. What those bad ultimatums left me with was this: frustrated, an inability to be fully expressed, feeling as though I was a doormat…with the end result being me harboring pain and resentment, and for the other person, me serving as an enabler to their ineffective ways of being. It’s a powerful lesson, I am just now learning and will spend a lifetime trying to master, that’s understanding that the genesis of my current pain is often rooted in yesterday’s events, unpacking that revelations, unlocks tomorrow’s destiny.