The man is an hour or two away from home now and he reports that he has barbecue in the cooler. Hurray! And so of course I have dough rising for buns. The bed has clean sheets even though I didn't touch his side of the bed the whole time he was gone. My space is clearly delineated not only by custom but by Jack, usually, who knows not to stray anywhere near the man's side of the bed and who therefore guards the borderline with every one of this seventeen pounds. Or whatever he weighs. Just a tiny bit less than Levon, I'm guessing.
I had a terrible dream this morning. A dream I haven't had in years and years and of course it was a variation of ones I used to have as no two of my dreams are ever exactly the same, even if I repeat the same settings and themes frequently. I dreamed I was mad at my children who were still little. They wouldn't obey me and go to sleep and they had created messes all over the house. I woke up with the words, "This place is a pig sty!" screaming loud in my head. In my dream, I was literally going to spank them.
This is a true nightmare for me. There were times when my children were young when I was furious with them. I have even spanked them a few times and I am so regretful about that. I was horribly regretful when I did it. I knew that it was not their actions which had moved me to such high emotion, but my own fucked-upedness. Back before I got help with my sexual abuse issues I carried an incredible amount of anger inside of me and sometimes, it came out and people who did not deserve it in the least bore the brunt of it.
I am not proud of this at all, and there is part of me which can't believe that my husband never left me. On the other hand, knowing what I know now, knowing that in many ways I had every right to be filled with anger, I am not surprised at how I acted at times.
If only I could have directed that anger at the ones who did deserve it. But I never could.
I have often said that my therapist saved my life. I stand by those words. She helped me to understand my anger and she also helped me to understand that very often, anger is what we use to cover up the fear we feel. Anger makes us feel strong. Rage can feel so good.
Fear never does. And god knows, I had plenty of that too. And I suppose I still do. What else is anxiety? And of course there's the old saw that depression is anger turned inwards. Which is probably true.
So many endless layers to that stinking onion, as I also often say.
And these days I don't get angry that often. That part of me has cooled immensely although I do still have times of anxiety and depression. Medication helps with those and that's for sure in my own personal experience. So having that dream this early morning shocked me and upset me, just flat-out worried me. Obviously I am not angry at any children for messing up the house. And the children in my life- my grandchildren- may not obey me all the time but they generally do what I ask or can be talked into it. They certainly don't trigger any anger in me so of course, the presence of the very naughty children in my dreams is purely symbolic.
What am I angry about? Who am I angry at?
When I was very young I was in a Christmas nativity, as most of us who were raised in any Christian faith were. The church I went to was so small and the people who attended it were mostly way past the age of having small children so it was easy for those of us who were children to get a starring role. One year I was Mary, mother of the baby Jesus and I don't remember much about it but I do remember the narrator reading the words from Luke which said, "And Mary took these things and pondered them in her heart," and they seemed so beautiful to me then and they still seem very beautiful to me now.
I am taking these things and I am pondering them in my heart.
I never, ever want to unleash that sort of anger on an innocent person again in my life and especially not a child. I'm not really afraid that I will but it is some sort of warning to me to have had that dream. I realize that I still have anger in me and not the sort of anger one might feel for Donald Trump or the Republican party but a more insidious type of anger, an ugly worm of emotion which, at the very least, is dangerous to the one who carries it inside of her.
That's what I've been thinking about today as I've done laundry and more weeding and mulching and getting bites from the horrible little vicious red ants which have made entire colonies in the delicious, warm bags of composting leaves.
There's a bit of a metaphor.
Soon my husband will be home. My week alone in which I was really not entirely alone at all and in which I was certainly not lonely, will end. I imagine that the cats will be glad to see him, as I will, feeling that things are as they should be once again.
That is so helpful--to think of anger as a kind of cover for fear. I often feel blindingly angry, and it's usually around issues of custody and travel and endangering my life and my child's. And what I really am is scared, but what can we do with that fear? It feels so out of control. Anger feels at least forward motion, though in my case too it gets splattered on those who don't deserve it. You've given me a lot to think about tonight (pondering in my little Mary heart).ReplyDelete
It's complex, isn't it? And anger DOES feel like forward motion somehow although really, it's not generally helpful. I think that for me, it comes through when I am not only scared but also feel weak. Or, for whatever reason, afraid to show my fear. I don't know. I probably never entirely will.Delete
oh, so much here. one, I've been having dreams, I can't ever remember them these days, they slip away with my first conscious thought but I am left with feelings, they've been full of strife or struggle or unpleasantness of a sort, not sure how to describe the lingering impressions. I finally moved my dream catcher out of the bedroom that I used to sleep in into the one I do sleep in yesterday, another of the niggling things I did. And I spanked my kids a time or two when they were rude or refusing to behave or smarting off or just being little assholes. not the kind of spanking where you lay them over your knee and expose their fanny (underwear in place) and wale on them, just a swat or two or three through clothing and only when young. I'm thinking less than six. after that it was getting sent to their room. though I did, once, when my son was in middle school and had a friend over and smarted off to me, talking back to me showing off to his friend, we were outside and I snatched him up by the shoulders and slammed him up against the side of the garage and told him to never, ever talk to me like that again. in front of his friend. but, yeah, I totally get the whole rage thing as a defense against pain because I suffered from being on the receiving end of that from the husband who was in so much emotional pain from his upbringing that that was the only defense he had until I forced him to get help or move out. it's also why I don't cry anymore. I cried enough during those years to last a fucking lifetime.ReplyDelete
had another one of those dreams last night...I was being shunned because I was the last one to be asked to pick what I wanted for lunch from a menu with no details and I took too long to decide apparently and so I told them it wasn't my fault they didn't ask me til last and they could just fuck off.Delete
Ellen, I love your honesty. I love your strength through such hard times. It is a miracle of sorts that you and your husband are still together.Delete
I am sorry that you do not ever cry. It can be such release.
And that dream sounds so frustrating on so many levels. Have you ever noticed that you cannot read or do math or dial phones in dreams? I've heard that the reason is due to the fact that dreaming involves the part of the brain that doesn't have those skills. So of course you couldn't figure out what to order!
As the years pass, my fears seem to be melting away. I am not an angry person. I am grateful for the peace. It was a long time coming.ReplyDelete
Debby- that is beautiful and makes me hopeful. Perhaps someday mine will face away too.Delete
another powerful post, Mary. I never really thought about anger as being exhibited as *disguised* fear.....but that makes total sense to me. A lot to ponder indeed. Glad Mr Moon is home safely with barbecue (sp) in hand.... sweet dreams to you tonightReplyDelete
My dreams last night were still somewhat disturbing but there was no anger. So...better.Delete
Mary I had a strange awful dream last night and I wondered when I woke how many other people might have had the same exact awful dream. It is real COVID dreaming. It’s a way I suppose to sort out the upheaval we’re all feeling. I never got to be Mary but I sang a solo once high up in the whatchamacallit near a stained glass window and didn’t mess it up.ReplyDelete
Covid dreaming is most certainly real. I wonder if part of it is that we are not able to talk normally with others to work things out through talking about them and so our brains have to do it for us at night when we get out of the way with our sleep. Who knows?Delete
They let me sing "What Can I Bring Him?" at one Christmas program. They were being kind.
Perhaps some of your anxiety (and anxiety/anger dreams) will abate when Mr. Moon gets home. Even though you haven't been consciously lonely during his absence, you may worry on some level about what he's doing out there in the wide pandemic-y world. I could understand that.ReplyDelete
I don't think I'm a very angry person but of course I do get angry from time to time, usually at little things. I get cranky about people walking slow or keeping their overdue book WAAAY too long. I don't know if this means I'm transferring some deeper anger, but it's an interesting question.
That may be true, Steve. We shall see.Delete
Everyone gets angry at times and it sounds to me like the things that make you angry are normal and fine.
Could the anger be about all the idiots who still think covid is a hoax? Who refuse to wear masks because it impedes their freedom? I know I'm angry at them.ReplyDelete
I was a very angry woman for a long time until I realized I was a very sad woman who used anger to protect myself. I still get angry sometimes but nothing like when I was young.
Sending hugs and love.
I don't think this sort of anger I was having in my dream was the sort I feel towards idiots. I KNOW I feel that anger. This feels very different.Delete
It's nice, isn't it, not to be quite so angry? But we have to honor the anger we did have which yes, protected us in ways that we could not fathom.
I am a worrier and I have been trying to work on that and just be happy in the moment; to look at the positive right now and not waste time with worries that never come true.ReplyDelete
I strive so hard for that too, Ellen. I waste so much time worrying about things that will never happen. And energy. WAY too much energy.Delete
I was never an angry person. I was so laid back I could fall over - and then I married a very disturbed young man. He put me through hell for 26 years, mentally, financially and also physically. And even though I always had a very strong sense of who I was he wore me down, beat me up and spat me out. It was only after I filed a DV complaint (and won) and got my divorce, that my rage set in - and the hate and the desire for vengeance. And I hated that. I don't want vengeance any more and I don't hate him any more. I pity him actually because he has to live with being the inadequate man he always was. But I get it, I really do. I was once told I had severe PTSD, which I poo-pooed because I thought only the military got that. But now I know better. And even last night I dreamt I was pregnant - and absolutely horrified. I'm 62 so it would be both a miracle and an immaculate conception. But I remember thinking, in my dream, I have to get rid of this baby. I can't be 82 with a 20 year old. Damn do our minds play hell with us sometimes!ReplyDelete
I am so sorry you had to live through that and so glad that you got away. You should be very proud of yourself and realize the strength you had to survive and leave him and THEN to work through the aftermath which I am sure was horrific. So often we don't even realize how horrific a situation was until we are removed from it.ReplyDelete
And I, too, have dreams about being pregnant and just like you- I am always horrified at the thought of trying to carry, birth, and raise a baby at my age. So odd.