Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making Friends with Anger

The last few weeks have been extremely tough.

It has always infuriated me when victims are blamed for their rape.  It doesn't matter how long ago it happened, what the circumstances were, what the victim was wearing, what relationship the rapist has to his or her victim, or if the people involved have been intimate prior to the rape.  If there is no consent, it is rape...PERIOD.  The victim is not to blame.  What happened to her or him is a violation in the worst possible sense of the word. 

I broke my silence 3 years ago and went public just over a year ago.  During that time I have heard and read stories of pathetic people who blame the victim for the rape, but I was, gratefully, never on the receiving end of victim blaming.  That changed a few weekends ago. 

I always thought that if I was on the receiving end of such vile behavior I would be able to defend myself and fight back.  I would never allow someone to make me feel shame about being raped again.  I knew exactly what I would say and the manner in which I would respond. It wouldn't be pretty, but it would get the point across.  So why did I freeze, unable to say anything even remotely coherent or defensive of myself?  Why was I unable to tell this person to go straight to hell?  Why did I sit there and let this person say that my rapist had no reason to rape me because he was my boyfriend and I just misunderstood what he was doing?  Why was I unable to fight back more than just telling this person that I said no and that’s all it should have taken?

Since I hung up the phone with this person that weekend I have gone from being upset to being incredibly angry.  Being on the receiving end of victim blaming is the most demoralizing, humiliating and shameful experience, especially when I had finally stopped blaming myself for the rape.  I want to assume this person said these things out of complete ignorance to what someone who has been raped goes through.  Or maybe it was out of some misogynistic view of the world, in which a woman should put out at the snap of her partner’s fingers, even if she is asleep with medication in her system and unable to fucking consent.   The saddest thing about this to me was this person didn't find anything even remotely wrong with what was being said.  So that leads me to believe that it was being said out of some fucked up misogynistic view of the world.  To that person, here’s a news flash…I don’t care if I would have been married to my ex for 50 years, the instant I woke up and said NO should have been the instant he stopped!  Since me being unconscious wasn't enough, saying NO should have most definitely been enough!  This is not a difficult concept, yet every single day there are people who fail to understand it.  

Bonita and I have talked a lot about anger through all of this.  She has told me that the anger I feel is normal and is not something I should be trying to get out of me, like I have been trying to do.  Instead, she said it is something I should “make friends with and learn more about,” as it is something that is a part of me.  Bonita said that anger is a natural part of the healing process and I need to come to terms with mine.  I have always viewed anger as something I saw from my biological father while I was a child.  It was terrifying, explosive, dangerous, and something that I wanted to stay as far away from as possible.  I used to have blackout periods and shut down due to his anger and temper.  It was a HUGE reason why my mom divorced him.  I have always been scared of becoming like him – the red-headed Italian with a temper to match his fiery hair.  While he has mellowed over the years, it is something I have never been able to get out of my mind.  I don’t want to become like that, but I can feel it inside of me and I hate it.

How do I begin to “make friends” with a part of me that I hate?  How do I come to terms with this part of me that brings sadness to not only me, but those around me?  How do I try and explain to the people I love and care about the most what this feels like and how little control I have over it right now?  How many times can you say to people that this is something you are working on before it just sounds like empty words and a bull shit excuse?  This is why I push people away.  This is why I keep most of my friends at arms’ length.  I don’t want to hurt or upset anyone.  It’s lonely though.  It is very lonely. 

So what am I going to do now?  I am going to keep doing the work with Bonita.  I am going to keep writing.  I am going to keep doing all of the things I know I need to do to continue on this journey full of twists, turns, ups and downs until I find my way through this.  I am going to start looking for what I truly want in life, love and everything in between.  I am going to take each day a little bit at a time – hour by hour, minute by minute – until each day gets easier than the last and what was once chaotic becomes peaceful.