Some time ago I wrote in this blog about my anger. A wonderful person – gracious and gentle, who lives her faith with every breath she takes – made a comment about “befriending the dragon”. I’ve been thinking about it since then, wondering how a conversation would go between me and this fictional but presumably psychologically autobiographical dragon who represents my anger. Then my dad suggested that I do write the conversation – so I decided that it must be a good idea.
Today I took myself off to Ground Floor (the best cafe in Newcastle. Their coffee can restore someone an inch from death, and their cakes could make you weep), and I opened my notebook, and I wrote out this fictional conversation. It started: “Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but are you a dragon?” Then, left-brain rationality put aside as I delved into narrative , it continued from there.
And I did learn things about my dragon/anger. Here is what I learned:
1. My dragon is pretty acerbic. It doesn’t mince words and it certainly doesn’t pull punches.
2. My dragon’s voice sounds a lot like certain friends or mentors I have. You know the people who see through any deflection and don’t let you get away with any of it? Those friends.
3. My dragon is pretty annoyed at me. I’ve been ignoring it for far too long. I’ve been crowding it out of my consciousness with thoughts and concepts and analysis and intellect. It’s been waiting patiently below the level of thinking, but it’s pretty pissed.
4. My dragon pointed out that it’s not alone in there, in the depths of my being. It’s also accompanied by the shame monster (this is fiction, alright?). The shame monster is the insidious little menace which has convinced me that my ex is right, I am worthless, and I deserved everything he ever did to me and more. It’s the shame monster which has convinced me that I’m to blame for everything I went through, and everything I’m going through.
5. My dragon has been trying to protect me from the shame monster by holding onto the fact that I did not deserve what I got. The alternative to blaming myself, though, it to blame my ex, and that’s too frightening. I’d rather loathe myself than face the depths of my anger towards him.
6. My dragon does not want to take over my life. It doesn’t want to control my decisions or destroy my soul. It just wants to be acknowledged and not ignored. It wants to do its job in protecting me from the shame monster. While it’s at it, it will also point out to me if my boundaries or my rights are being disregarded.
7. My dragon has my bests interests at heart.
So my dragon’s actually not as scary as I thought it was. I’m not sure yet that we’ll be friends. I can’t imagine sitting down in Ground Floor for a coffee with it, even if a) a dragon was not a fictional being, or b) a dragon could fit into the best cafe in Newcastle. But having sat down and written a fictional conversation with the personification (dragonification?) of a deep and frightening psychological reality, I’m pretty sure that even if I can’t be friends with my dragon yet, we can definitely be allies.
And that’s probably enough to be getting on with.