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Day 86: Seeking an Excuse to Explode

Posted by intrepidshe , in Healing Work 06 March 2014 · 180 views

Mar. 6, 2014 (15 Days Into Becoming):
I don't know which of two topics I want to write about today. So, I'll list them, but save one of them for another day.
1. I have not yet added the F/F CSA to my story here. I wrote my first telling of it last night.
2. More stuff emerging with the insurance problem, exposing my potential for explosive, violent anger.
I'm going to focus on the second topic. I am aware that the first one might be increasing my potential for the second.
Today the situation with my insurance got worse on a couple levels. First, I received another collection phone call (the second one so far). The person was kind and understanding. This isn't saying they turned me over to collections . . . it's the health care organization calling me about my bill. But, I still feel utterly humiliated to be receiving such a call. I have worked relentlessly in my life, going stretches without food, living in my car, in order to never be delinquent or in collections.
[Right now as I try to write this posting I am losing the sensation and strength in my right arm. My breathing is labored. Ugh!]
I also received a letter (finally) from my current insurance confirming my old insurance has not sent the required document. I sent a copy of that letter to my former employer's HR office. I realized that I need to begin to have undeniable documentation of my efforts to resolve this problem. I realized I could not rely purely on my own statements about the nature of the conversations I have with the other parties involved. I realized I had reached the point I would have to violate my own privacy in order to get the right kind of evidence.
I wrote an email to my old employer's HR, sending the letter from my current insurance. I realized they could claim they never received my email, or never saw it. I didn't want that to happen. So, I said in my email that I was going to follow up with a phone call. I also realized that I needed a witness as to the substance of the phone conversation. This led me to go to our HR office and ask someone to sit with me and listen to the call.
I knew I needed to convey the urgency of this situation. They were talking about me waiting three or four more weeks to hear anything. I can't afford to put off my healthcare for that long. So, I had to reveal that I have current healthcare needs that could put me at risk if they are not taken care of.
It made me feel angry almost to the point of rage to have to reveal something private. There is no reason to have to tell anyone that I am currently receiving health care. They should be sufficiently motivated to fix this problem quickly without me providing any such information. But, they weren't. They were blithely telling me to wait a few weeks. What if I had an emergency? What if I need to refill a prescription?
I didn't tell them what kind of health care I am receiving. I just let them know if I stop right now there could be serious health consequences for me. I said this situation is urgent and cannot be put off.
The HR person who sat with me through the phone call said she was impressed with how patient I have been, and I calm, about this.
If she only knew how good I am at hiding my emotions, or rather at only feeling the physical symptoms not the emotions themselves!
Right after this phone call I had my therapy appointment. I drove like a lunatic on my way there. I wanted someone on the road to get mad at me so I could pull off the road and get in fight with them . . . or, at least part of me wanted that. When I walked into my appointment I couldn't make eye contact with my therapist at first. I didn't want her to see the anger churning inside me.
We talked for a while about a neutral topic and I gained control. I was able to start talking about the insurance situation and the fact that it's triggering me. I was able to admit exactly how it was triggering. This led to me sharing with her about my family history of not going to the doctor, of my mom getting furiously angry with me when I did have to go to the doctor. She said something to the effect of this saying to me that my needs didn't matter. I wasn't quite able to connect to that statement when she said it. I know I feel that way. But, it felt like the words were far away from me. I heard them as if they were spoken in another room, to someone else.
I went on to talk about having intense anger in situations like this. That I would probably go to their offices and throw a chair through a glass window if they were nearby. I talked about my drive to the appointment and how angry I felt. I admitted to having many violent outbursts in my life. I told her about getting into fights with my step-father. She knows about the other fights I got into at school. I told her about getting into fights in public, at work, etc. We talked about the common thread being mostly about me defending others. But, I admitted that the way I was feeling today I was craving getting into a fight just for the sake of getting the anger out of my system. I explained that I look for situations that justify a defensive response, then, I use it as an excuse to lash out. I said I even think about buying a gun so I can have that ultimate means of defending myself or someone else.
I admitted that I was attracted to the violence of it, to the catharsis. I said our society allows people to defend themselves. We can stand our ground. We can protect others and ourselves when in imminent danger. I said my life experience has shown that I encounter imminent danger on a semi-regular basis. It's only a matter of time before I'll face another situation when I have to defend my life, or defend someone else's life. I said there is a good chance I would have reason to use a gun.
I could hardly believe the words that streamed out of me. I have never admitted to the level of violence in my thoughts.
She asked if I feel like I have a store of rage inside. I said, "Yes, for sure."
She said that through therapy we can drain that well.
I accepted her words, though I don't believe it. I have had this store of rage inside me all of my life. Nothing has ever helped to reduce or release it. I have learned to redirect it. I have learned to let it out when situations call for self defense or defense of another person. I have learned to live with it. I have learned to take it out on myself if necessary.
The other thing I thought is that she probably thinks I'm exaggerating anyway. She hasn't seen anything in me that would support the idea that I possess such anger. This thought made me want to find a way to prove it.
I thought about this all the way back to work. I drove just as intensely on the way back as I did on the way there.  But, no one got angry at me.
I got to work and had a meeting I walked right back into. I flipped immediately to pleasant, charming, focused on others, professional. I ignored the tightness of my breathing, the pain in my abdomen, the dizziness in my head. I did my job.
But, I do want to explode. I want an excuse.
However, I am at home. I would never . . . never . . . have such a reaction at home. Thank goodness!
I realize that my habit of seeking a justification for an outburst is something I must change. For tonight, I will lean again into my list of anxiety coping strategies:
  • I will take a shower.
  • I will reach out for support.
  • I will play music.
  • I will sit with my kids.
  • I will play with the dog.
  • I will go for a walk in the rain.
  • I will read a comic book.
  • I will watch a movie.
  • I will read a story.
  • I will breath slowly. 
  • I will have a cup of tea.

There are very constructive ways to process anger too. I'm coming at the issue from the opposite side, I have had to learn it's okay to be angry and feel angry, but to use that constructively. I tend to use my anger to practice boxing, until I am physically, emotionally exhausted. My partner uses his anger to crush the cans for our recycling. Before using calming exercises.

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I read your words. I think anger can be dangerous, as I'm sure you realized after processing some of this with your T- the desire to own a gun is fine, actually carrying one while possessing this rage is certainly playing with fire. I just wanted to let you know I hear you and what you're saying. Anger is neither good nor bad it's a feeling, processing it is probably the best thing for you- I'm not familiar with your health constraints - but if physical exertion isn't possible perhaps a creative outlet such as art or writing might be the way to go. You're in my thoughts.
Take care

Powerful stuff. Anger. I liked the comment that anger is neither good nor bad, but a feeling. Anger bring something my T is working with me on. I don't seem to have a normal anger response either. But mine is the opposite to yours. It is cold, calculating, scary. Rarely do I experience what I think of as the "red mist" rage that you appear to be describing here. When that happens I SH. It is always directed inwards. Because I have to protect others from me. Thank you for sharing this with us.

I had to realise that if I did lash out in anger, I would be dumping on whoever provoked me way more than they deserved. Not fair on them. They might be a jerk, but with how angry I am, they'd get more than even a jerk deserves.

Mar 07 2014 11:41 AM

I feel for you about your mom getting angry when you had to see a doctor.  I remember mine doing the same thing.  It does seem to twist things up inside.


I hear you on your anger.  I wanted to say that I think you've done an amazing job of recognizing what's going on inside you and trying to find ways to manage it. 



Mar 07 2014 02:12 PM

I want to second what yarnfoolishness stated. Though it doesn't make things altogether wonderful or that it will ever make everything in the past okay...but you have been so tied to the core of who you are throughout this process. It is clear that you have a strong ability to listen and stayed attuned to your authenticity as a person. Thank you for sharing this gift/asset with us.

Mar 07 2014 08:57 PM

Thank you everyone!


It is scary to admit the flaws in my coping, or my lack of coping, that have allowed this pattern to persist. I think I've reached the point I recognize the anger is the abuse. It is what was done to me. It is the abusers' crimes. But, my continuing to carry it, to protect it, is on me.


No matter how deserving another person might be of receiving a negative reaction, rage is not likely to be an appropriate response to most situations.


I need to hold myself accountable, even when the other person has earned a reaction. I have choices. I need to learn how to recognize when I'm in this reactive frame of mind and then how to make situationally appropriate choices in my responses.


All of your understanding words are like a salve to the guilt I feel. I am accountable, but forgivable, I hope, too. Thank you!

About Intrepid She

This is a moderated PUBLIC blog. This blog is a therapeutic tool I am using to help me get over my fear of doctors (which is made difficult by a history of abuse by them) to learn to grieve, and ultimately to integrate my dis-integrated heart.


View postings specific to health care.

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The content of this blog is not appropriate for children or for anyone who might be triggered by reading about sexual abuse.


To the many others walking your own version of this path, I wish you well on your journey. -Intrepid


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