Anger & Bitterness: Have Your Walls Become Your Prison Since Divorcing?
Written during Year Three post-divorce; 2011
Cause it happened to me — and I didn’t even realize it. In fact, to this very day, I still periodically struggle with acrimonious feelings. And I find it unsettling; for even though these emotions are a natural part of grieving, I can easily see how one could stay forever stuck in them. I’ve actually met people like this…. have you? (shudder)
Only in hindsight, do I see that I began constructing “walls” between myself and men around nine months into my divorce. By that time, I’d already started dating again — but I had no time for “wall building”, I was too busy trying to “seek and replace” to soothe my broken heart.
But around the nine-month mark, something shifted — my shock and horror at my exes’ betrayals wore off. I felt more comfortable and confident in the dating/sex scene. And suddenly, space become available for new emotions to occupy: ANGER and FEAR OF BEING HURT AGAIN. The chief foremen of my walls.
My anger proclaimed that I’d never again be a man’s doormat – not even for a nanosecond. Never again was a man going to rip my heart out by fucking other women behind my back; he’d never get close enough for me to care. Never again was I going to be the one who “chased,” who spent hours and days hoping and daydreaming over what “might be”. Pfft, no way — figuring out men or investing in men was a waste of my time; an insult to my purpose for being alive. I resolved that if a man wanted me, if he was TRULY worthy of me, he would not only pursue me with every ounce of his being, he’d have to be brave enough, strong enough, to blast through my walls and swoop me up and away…
And I’d mock men. Oh, how sweet it felt to laugh at and criticize men. I felt like I’d finally learned the truth about them; that I’d inflated them to be these magnificently evolved creatures when in fact, most were simple-minded, penis-lead duds, who didn’t deserve the time of day.
I even felt angry at our patriarchal society at large. For I’d spent my whole life hearing men comment on how women are ‘too fat”, “too old”, “her boobs are too small” etc, and every wounded part of my womanhood wanted to scream at them to get their priorities straight, leave our fucking bodies alone, and get their asses home, be good husbands and take care of their goddamn children. And as for those divorced men, they needed to wake the hell up, stop complaining, spend time with their kids, work hard, and pay child support, not because they have to but because it’s the right thing to do.
(Shaking head)…I wasn’t even aware of what was happening inside me: I was blaming the entire male species for the horrible transgressions done to me by a couple of men. Higher and wider the stones were lain upon my wall. I felt safe. Empowered. I had complete ownership of my heart in here.
But then, over a year later, the universe hijacked my fortress: it sent in a Good Man when I wasn’t looking. And it was he, this Good Man – a man who was but a written voice on my computer, a man who I made jump through hoops to earn my trust and friendship over many months, who announced: “You’ve got these huge walls up around yourself, Delaine. And I understand that they’re there to protect you. But you’ve built them so high that you set men up for failure before they even start. And I’m warning you to be careful. Cause the woman inside those walls is absolutely beautiful…but she’s blocking out any chance she may have at love and happiness. She’s becoming her own prisoner.”
And how did I respond? I brushed him off. Pfft, what does he know? He just doesn’t get it, I thought. He hadn’t suffered as I had…
But, one day, months later, it was like a light turned on and I could suddenly could see the walls surrounding me. It was dark in here….lonely. And my anger, which normally sustained me, provided no satisfaction.
Slowly, I began dismantling the stones. And strangely enough, the more I pulled down, the lighter I began to feel; it was like fresh air blowing through a room in my soul. Moreover – look at who had shown up and were standing in my courtyard — MORE Good Men!!! And I couldn’t help but smile. A few Brave Men were sent to coax the Angry Woman out of her fortress.
Look. I’m not saying my walls are totally gone now; I definitely still have work to do. Plus, a part of me still kind of needs the walls – to ward off the simple-minded, penis-lead-duds – I mean, “less suitable” men out there in the dating trenches.
But I’m now aware of when I’m being defensive. I’m aware of when a trigger has been hit and I’m falsely blaming someone else for an old transgression. And on the whole, I’d have to say I’m happier and lighter within my relationships with men AND myself than ever before. I’m getting there.. : )
So I hope that my insane story lingers in your mind to serve you somehow, now or in future. And if you’re in a “dark place” — one of anger, bitterness and/or resentment — I hope it reminds you that it’s an important place to visit, but please, stay there only temporarily; for you can’t build up walls and shut out the other half of the species, without serving yourself your own painful sentence.
Mars Venus Coach, Therapist, Calgary, AB
Author, The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom
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