Anger The Sheild Against Hurt

Anger is a strange emotion. It never seems to make me feel better to be angry, but it does act as a shield at times from being hurt more. Anger is often times the very cornerstone of building walls, the foundation of shutting out what has hurt us. If I am angry at someone, that very anger will keep me from being hurt further by the offender. Of course their is the fly off the handle sort of anger that is really just a reaction to a situation and often has nothing to do with that situation, but seems to be something deep inside, just brewing, waiting for a hole to escape like a crack in the ground where molten lava can escape.
I have been thinking about my sister a lot recently. She has had a boyfriend now for about a year, and in that time she has completely divorced herself from the family. I don't think he is the type to forbid her to have contact with any of us, I think its more like she is happy for the first time in a long time and fears so much that she might loose him that she spends every single waking moment holding on to the relationship, reminding everyone who knows her of the small child holding so tight to its new pet duckling, that in the end she squeezes the poor critter to death. In all this time of Melanie being in the hospital prior to Mei-Lings birth and with all the seriousness of Mei-Lings health issues, my sister has called only a couple times to see how she is. Now this is from a sister that I once chatted to almost every day on the phone, and then would IM for an hour every night. I am a busy person, always have been with my family and farm life but there was always room to talk with my sister. Perfect strangers have shown more concern about Mei-Ling than this sister who has been a best friend for most of my life. Naturally I am deeply and profoundly hurt by my sisters lack of communication. No way to reach her, she is not home any more, and you sort of loose interest when someone you have been so close to never checks on you when there is a life and death struggle going on in your family. So its easy to turn this hurt into anger. She used to pride herself on being close to my daughters but now, they are so hurt they just wonder what happened to change things so much. Love doesn't make you loose connection with your family, certainly not when you are in your 50's. By then you realize the world we live in is made up of many relationships with family and friends. I am guessing its been several months since we have talked. I am sure she doesn't want to talk to me now because its awkward. I want to be so mad at her, angry, start shutting her out, building a wall, saying things like, " I am certainly not calling her or telling her whats happening." Everyone in my family is feeling the same things, sisters, dad and my own children. I keep trying to put these things in perspective and feel sorry for her that she is so concentrated on one aspect of her life that nothing else can fit in. There must be so much fear there for her to react this way.
I can see now, from this experience how anger can take over for hurt. Its a protective emotion this anger. It turns our vulnerability into what seems like a strength, the upper hand of sorts.
Hurt is painful, it is just like a wound, left open, exposed, painful with every movement. Anger lets you be the boss, you be in control, lets you cover the wound with plaster. But it anger transforms things, mutates, is self centered in the way it grows into its own thing. Soon the original matter gets lost, it becomes all about every single little thing that could be taken the wrong way. I have a couple folk in blogland that peruse my blog daily, looking for something to take issue with. I check my stat counter to see how many times a day they visit my blog, and when its over 4 in a morning I can bet they have been on the attack and are just watching for some reaction. And that is what anger becomes like, a monster consuming us, it no longer is about the original matter, its about anything that might be taken wrong. I don't want my feelings for my sister to become like that. But I don't like this hurt feeling either. I have tried talking, send emails, all that stuff. Its really not personal, since she is that way with everyone else in her life, but this guy and his grand-daughter. I don't think she is capable at this time for what ever reason to have a multidimensional life. She can only focus on one thing. I am writing about this personal issue because I know that I am not alone in having these feelings. The circumstances are not the same but most everyone has had this kind of situation on some level and let it get to the place where anger has festered and grown and soon become the only aspect recognized. I know far too many parents who have grown children that have gone and done things the parents don't agree with, and often the very same things the parents did in their youth, but because the parents feel hurt, or shame because their children may have acted in a way contrary to the parents belief system, the parents grow angry, cut communication with their child. Anger grows, is felt on both sides and soon there no longer is a relationship, when it really is about hurt and shame. I have more than once asked these parents, " so what was it that turned your life around ?" the response is always the same......" I met this person who was not judgemental, just showed me the unconditional way of Christ, I felt loved, accepted and then I wanted to live the right way." At that point I want to shake them, "do that very same thing for your child, you may be the only one that can step up to that plate."
I am thinking about my sister. I cannot make her want to remain close to the family. But I can watch my own feelings and make certain my hurt does not turn to anger and build a wall that is too hard to crash through.


Anonymous said…
Patty what a great post. I think that often our family members ignore us, or take things out on us because they know no matter what, we will still love them and open our arms and hearts when they need us.
Hope Mei-ling continues to improve
nancyr said…
Wow! This is so timely for me. I was just reflecting, this morning, on how I am angry with my brother for a reason similar to yours. I was starting to become a little "passive-aggressive", and I don't want to be that way!

It is possible that your sister's boyfriend is monopolizing her attention and affection. I have a son-in-law, who is not close to his family, and resents my daughter's closeness with hers.
People like this do try to aleniate their significant other from their families, and want to be the center of attention.
Kathy said…
I love your blogs, and get so much from them. I especially could relate to today's post. My parents and I are not speaking. I have tried MANY times to get some sort of communication going, but to no avail. My mom is adamant that she no longer wants a relationship. Anyway, sometimes I feel angry, but most of the time it is deep pain. How do I trust anyone? I never want to be as close to a person, like I was with my mom, and then be hurt like this again. We used to tal everyday, sometimes more than once a day. Life changes.
Heart at Home said…
I can especially relate to your example of an adult child doing things contrary to their upbringing or their parents beliefs and how it can cause hurt that turns to anger. We knew a single mom whose young adult daughter decided to court and marry a man whom the mother decided was not the right one for her daughter. Daughter decided to go against Mom's wishes and Mom, being embarassed and hurt, ended up disowning daughter in anger. Daughter is now expecting first child and Mom would like to repair the relationship, but the damage is done and Daughter isn't sure she wants to have Mom in her life now.
In our own life, our oldest daughter decided to date a young man that we would not have chosen for her-after she turned 18 and had graduated from our homeschool, she decided to go live with said boyfriend. We have been deeply grieved over this as we had raised her to participate in courtship and to keep herself pure until marriage. However, observing what happened with the lady we knew, we did know we didn't want to alienate our daughter and as easy as it would be to let that hurt turn to anger, we refuse to allow it.
We just found out that our daughter is expecting our first grandchild. No, our daughter and the boyfriend are not married. We can only continue to love them and pray that God will use this to work in their lives.
Although we do not condone their choices, we neither are sitting in judgement of them. Only the Lord can judge. If they cannot find love and acceptance within our family, how will they ever understand the love and acceptance that our Father in heaven offers us?
As for your sister, one can only hope that as the relationship with the boyfriend matures that she will rediscover her family. It truly doesn't sound like she would have normally been so uncaring. I am sorry that she has hurt the family, but please don't allow the hurt to fester and turn to anger in your lives. Yes, you need your sister to be there for you but maybe through this all, the Lord is really just trying to draw you closer to Him and to have you rely on His comfort rather than the comfort of your earthly family. I don't really have the answers but would not want to see you give in to anger at your sister.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for this post. I rarely comment on your blog, but do read it frequently and have prayed for Mei-Ling's health. Incidentally, our 3rd daughter was tested for vesicoureteral reflux at 9 months because of a particularly nasty UTI that took IV antibiotics and two rounds of antibiotics at home to clear up. Thankfully, she did not have it, but when I read about Mei-Ling, I knew exactly what that was. I will continue to pray for her and wait for the day when she will be able to have the surgery to fix the problem.
Bless you.
Susan said…
Anger most definately builds a wall. Usually a very tall wall. While it might keep the hurt out it also traps us in and we end up being the bigger loser. "Love concurs all." As for me, I have chosen to endure the pain and have been richly blessed to see love concur.
Patty said…
Heart at Home, Emery and I eloped after just 10 weeks of dating. My parents did not approve of the relationship, simply because they never took the time to get to know him, but listened instead to what others thought they knew. My parents grew to love him like a son and see that they raised a daughter who knew her own mind and did not discard what she had been taught, just went about it her own way. I suspect your daughter too was raised with good wisdom and as she grows older it will be more important to her. blessings on becoming a grandparent, Joys abounding
Andrea Maddiex said…
Hello Patty,
I want to thank you from my heart for the post. I lived in that world for a very long time. Not a sister or parent but someone else, someone very close who was hurting on a daily basis. The things you said are EXACTLY right. It does become a constant. You lose track of where it started and why and then it is EVERYTHING. I think there comes a point that even if that person wanted to stop hurting you they couldn't because you wont let them. I have never drank or done drugs, but I realized that anger was just as addictive. It covers the hurt. It feels safe. But, like you said, soon its not enough and it just grows until it is out of control. I so agree. The ONLY way to stop it is to give it to the Lord. Hand it over as soon as you can. I imagine He knows just how we feel. He could be so angry with us, but He loves us anyway. :) Sorry this was so long.
i just wanted to say that i am sorry you are being attacked routinely by others throughout blogland....i didn't know that blogging was supposed to elicit mean comments from other people...however i bet you didn't know that either..:-) hopefully these people will stop! that is my wish for you today!
Patty said…
Simply Authentic,
no one is attacking me in blogland, there are just a couple folks that watch me, looking for something to take issue with.
The post was about my sister.
Jenn said…
I have found that when anger started to try and take root, praying for the person/people in question safeguards my own heart. Interesting how God's ways are for our own good in ways we don't always realize in the beginning, but become clear later.

My dh's brother and girlfriend have gotten entangled with oxycontin among other things and we have had to cut ties. The lack of concern for anyone but themselves, the selfishness, and only calling to borrow money,....broken promises to my child was too much. My dh has apologized to his brother for his own anger, maybe someday things will be mended. For now, though, it is a relief to me not to have any contact, though I know my dh is bothered by it.

Popular Posts