I wrote yesterday about the fact that starting to move from survival mode has meant less of a focus on symptom management. And that means actually, finally, acknowledging the reality of what happened to me over ten years in a violent marriage: literally hundreds of assaults; sexual abuse and assault; more than one occasion on which I could have lost my life.
And I’m actually a bit angry about that. Not the white-hot solar flare of anger which roars out of control and incinerates everything – friend or foe – in its path. This anger is not frightening, not destructive, not relying on me to keep it under rigid control in order to keep myself, and others, safe. It’s not like that at all.
This anger, the anger that I’m just starting to discover, is quiet, and patient. It’s not volatile, searing up at the slightest provocation; its not clamouring for release or howling for bloody revenge; it simply is. It’s quiet, and hard, and unyielding, like a stone.
It’s a safe anger. It’s an anger that will keep me safe. It’s an anger that says, this is wrong. The injuries I’m still living with are wrong; the things I’m starting to remember, assaults in their tedious, terrifying detail, are wrong. It is not ok for one human being to treat another like this. It is not ok for me to have spent ten years in fear. And I will not allow this to happen again.
It’s an anger which tells me, too, that I am not to blame. I was a victim of, not a contributor to, assault. I am not deserving of everything that was done to me. I am not something of which I should be ashamed. I am not someone whose very existence warrants violent, and dangerous, punishment.
This new, quiet, quite gentle anger is telling me this. So are the responses of the people I’ve learned to trust with the small details of some of what happened to me. The friendships which have strengthened me these last two years, these people who have loved me both in and out of survival mode, are starting to make me believe that actually, I didn’t deserve this shit. I am worth the space I take up in the universe, all five-odd foot of it.
Now, I’m just learning to believe it.