I couple of weeks ago I was reading a blog entry by a friend online. This is an online friend, someone I’ve never met in real life. Upon reading the post my heart dropped to my feet. She had written this post where she talks about someone doing something to her. She was expressing her anger at this person. When I read it my first thought was “I can’t even apologize as I don’t know what I did.”
Everyone knows abuse changes lives. That it leaves lasting marks. Perhaps this is an unrecognized consequence. I can’t handle anger. Oh i’ve gotten better. Much better. I no longer fall completely apart when someone expresses anger around me. I no longer burst into tears and apologize profusely. I no longer have to leave the room when I hear anger. Still though, I am always sure, no. Completely convinced the person is angry at me. Completely sure it is about me. Perhaps this can be seen as selfish. I’m not sure. What I mean is that when I was little, I internalized my abusers and my fathers anger. It was always my fault. I was the one who always got in trouble. If something went wrong, It was my fault. My issue. I’m the one who paid the price.
Needless to say it didn’t take long for me to become super sensitive to anger. I can tell by someone’s face and body language if they are angry. Even if it is someone I don’t know, haven’t ever talked to. Even if it is someone i’ve never met.
It took me hours of sadness and upset to realize this online friend wasn’t referring to me. Hours to realize I had done nothing wrong and I wasn’t the nameless person referred to in the post.
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever have a normal reaction to anger. I’m not even sure what a normal reaction is. I guess it is likely I won’t. How can I after a very non-normal childhood?