Standing at the abyss.

One of the “homework” tasks I’ve been set by my counsellor is to spend some time “getting in touch” with my anger. My anger that I was hit, and made to feel frightened, by the person with whom I should have been utterly safe and at home. My anger that I was forced to betray my family and my friends, and my own integrity, just to buy safety. My anger that I was made to believe that I was worthless, and useless, and stupid, when it turns out that those things aren’t true. My anger that those things most important to me – my faith, my music, my creativity, my friends and family – were belittled and minimised. My anger that I was not allowed to be happy, so such an extent that I am having to learn what happiness actually is. It turns out that I have quite a lot to be angry about.

But here’s the thing – for the last ten years, I’ve learned that anger is bad. Anger is wrong. If someone else is angry, I’ll get hurt. If I get angry, I’ll get hurt. Anger leads to punishment. And so I’m pretty scared of my anger. Because it’s not a small thing. I’m frightened that it will overwhelm me. The amazing genius of Joss Whedon (talking about being forced to face evil, but I think I can generalise a bit here): “The darkness…the kind of darkness you can’t even imagine…A man comes up against that kind of darkness, the only way to deal with it, I suspect, is to become it”.

And yet anger is also an indication that something is wrong. That boundaries have been transgressed. That damage has been done. And I suspect that I can keep pushing away the darkness within, pretend it’s not there, and that it can’t hurt me. I can disguise it with words like “I’m pretty rope-able about that” (what a telling choice of words!) or minimise it by using terms like “cross” (how genteel!) or “pissed off”. But the reality is that I was hurt. For no reason at all. And I’m still paying the price for that. And I’m fucking angry about it.

I don’t know yet how deep this anger goes, or how to make space for it in my heart and soul and head. I don’t know yet whether it’s an abyss, or an all-consuming black hole. I pray that there’s enough tying me to the light – my friends, my family, the soul-feeding and life-giving blessings of my life, my own integrity – to keep me safe in this. All I know now is that I have to take my strength, the strength that’s got me this far, and stand as tall as I can to face the darkness.

Watch this space.

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5 thoughts on “Standing at the abyss.

  1. Naomi, I have started to read your journal/blog. It is very powerful, raw, insightful, honest – it reveals your inner strength and courage. Your anger was/is justified. If I may offer something I heard recently about the darkness and shadows that we confront – ‘befriend your inner dragon’. Befriend your anger until it is transformed. It will become the firm grounding for you and it will never allow you to be mistreated again in any way. We have so much admiration and respect for you. Stand tall.

  2. What great words from Lynette … I can’t say anything better … but everyone who knows you knows that there is much that is tying you to the light! Be angry – I am – it’s only when we recognise it that we can deal with it. We all love, respect and are here for you.

  3. You have much that ties you to the light but you also have the light of God within you. The same light that is expressed in your faith, your music, your creativity, and draws your family and friends to love you. I love John 1:1-5 which ends: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Like a candle lit in a pitch black room which, no matter how small, is enough to banish the darkness your light is stronger than the darkness of anger. As Lynette says that anger will be transformed.

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