Monday, August 25, 2008

Wanting an Escape Valve

As I drank my cappuccino and watched the man clean the windows this morning at Sidamo, I wished I could figure out how to squeegee away the anger that I am still carrying after last week’s confrontation, no let’s call it assault. I continue to feel like a boiling tea kettle that can’t release its steam.

At one point I remember writing to her, “If I believed everything you are saying about me, I would hate myself.” The accusations ranged from the assertion that I had no personal boundaries to the notion that I should be speaking more in “I” sentences than “we” sentences to the allegation that I was a malicious gossip. None of my other friends have these problems with me, so I have to conclude that they are false charges.

Being accused of anything usually incites one’s ire, but being accused falsely is even worse. And then not to have a chance to even discuss this on the phone or in person seems like sentencing without a day in court.

I woke up today wondering if I could find a way to forgive this person who will never own her own aggression and admit to making a mistake. I even prayed for a path to forgiveness, because I must process this on my own before I can really let it go and just move on. Getting beyond pent-up anger is not so easy.


Blogger Mo said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Sometimes when I'm struggling with anger and I can't deal with the source directly, I write a letter, as cheesy as that may sound. I pour out everything I would say to the person had I the chance, and then I set it on fire or [insert cleansing ritual of your choice]. At times, it will take a minute or two for the peace to set in, but then I experience this huge exhale of tension. Ah...

11:31 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I don't know the details of your situation, but I know how frustrating it can be to feel wrongly accused. I agree with Mo: writing helps. And time. Really, that's the biggest thing for me.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mo, Kristin -- I was actually feeling a little guilty for continuing to wallow in self-pity instead of just shoving this behind me, but just the act of writing this post has helped a lot. I love the idea of writing a letter that never gets mailed and simply watching it go up in smoke. That seems appropriately symbolic and should bring the needed closure. It's interesting that it's people half my age who are giving me such sage advice! Thank you, both of you, and I really mean it.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

The letter is a great suggestion. I used to use my journals for the same purpose -- except I didn't burn them -- at least, not yet!

I just read your "Hair" post, and would love to see you when you come to town! I'm seeing Hair myself tomorrow night -- I bought my ticket the bourgeois way. :)

12:33 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Why does anger seem to grab hold of us so much harder than joy?

Try reading THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle.
I read it a while back and try to remember it's messages often. Acceptance of what has been and enjoying the hear and now- as opposed to dwelling on the past.

I know it's difficult.(I've just had a weekend of holding onto anger towards a couple of people.)

I think I need to reread the book..sigh.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I've written a letter or two myself. And not sent them. It is really enlightening to read them after a period of time has passed - like several months to a year, or however long it takes to truly distance yourself from the situation. Writing the letter helps you to move on because you can sort of put all the anger there and it will still be there to reflect on if you need to later on. You can sort of compartmentalize it and then it causes no additional harm. I think it will help, alot.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Too bad you didn't know about Anna for the $75 deal! I hope you love every minute of Hair.

We will arrive mid-afternoon on Monday and look forward to seeing you any time you are available. We were thinking of looking for a good off-Broadway play or some interesting music for entertainment.

Gewels -- Can you believe I just bought the Power of Now a couple of days before the recent disaster struck? Uncanny! It's next in my pile of books to read after I finish Tim Nunn's style book. (Maybe my priorities are screwed up...)

3:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- With everyone's encouragement, I will write the letter. It will be fairly lengthy because there is definitely a history here. I'm sure it will be cathartic.

3:43 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

first of all hugs. what you are feeling is just plain awful - when there's a big disturbance of this sorts in amongst one's friends it is so disruptive and unsettling.

I'm glad the process of writing is helping - posts, letters that don't get mailed, a poem, or even a fictionalize short story.

embracing the concept of forgiveness is sometimes so much easier than the act, especially when the one has been wronged. for we like the concept of justice perhaps more than forgiveness.

sending sweet coolness like like a clear pool...

4:48 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

ps glad you are getting to nyc!! have a great anniversary!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mouse -- You are absolutely right about justice being so important. I have to keep beating back negative feelings like SPITE though. It's a tricky thing.

As I went through my yoga practice tonight, I tried to focus on the need for granting forgiveness. It was a start.

I loved your post about the monks.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I agree with the letter concept too. Instead of squeegee-ing the anger away, you get to direct it, look at it, rephrase it. I would add a further step. Once you've written the letter (and before you burn it if that's your plan) read it aloud. Hearing what one says is often more enlightening that just reading what one thinks one has said.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I love the idea of closing my door and reading the letter I write out loud. I'm sure I couldn't have gotten better advice from a high-priced therapist than I've gotten from my Blogger friends today.

10:12 PM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

They say that when you can write the letter and not send it you are over it....
In my case last week, I told my antagonist that I was just hypersensitive to her opinions (what I meant was stupidity)and that we would both be better off if she just did'nt call me anymore.
i hope she thinks she won, and that i ne'er hear from her again

9:16 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

Have you ever been to batting cages? They are a mah vel ous way of getting out your anger. I also like to find an old-fashioned (aka not digital) pinball machine. Both allow you to release some anger. One of the things that I read somewhere is that is important to break the "cycle" of anger, where everything reminds you of that anger and makes you more angry. One way to break the cycle is to physically shock yourself (not by electricity), like holding ice in your hands, or going swimming in a cool pool. (this is why "taking a cold shower" is said to cool people off)

9:27 AM  

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