Updated: Dec 25, 2021
I told myself it was because I grew up watching my father behave like that…that I was a result of my environment. I had a built-in excuse for being completely out of control.
It might seem a bit counter-intuitive…to be so awful to the people who you love yet so sweet and caring to people who are just acquaintances, but it was a safe place for me to unleash the hatred I carried toward myself. Hatred that was buried so deep that it would explode…burst out at random times. No one — not even me — knew what would set me off.
Looking back, I now know the biggest trigger was that nasty combo of settling and feeling unworthy of love. I would feel trapped and terrified to be alone at the same time. It was a no win. I went from relationship to relationship to relationship…searching for someone to love me…paying too little attention to how I felt in return until it was too late. Until I would finally realize that I didn’t care about them like they did me…and then the anger…the rage…would surface. I was probably never really mad at the other person, not like I was mad at myself anyway.
Somehow I managed to shed that part of myself along the way…but it took years…30 plus. And as a result, I live with knowing that I said things that I can never take back. Damaging relationships simply because I was damaged. Leaving human wreckage in my wake.
As I started to get healthy…to realize that I was so much more than a product of my environment…that I was worthy of love — love from the right person, not just someone with a pulse — I noticed the anger started to subside. Outbursts became less frequent…the urge to lash out, faded.
The more I forgave myself for my past behavior…the deeper I processed that my father’s issues were his issues and not mine…the more I pushed forward to be the person I knew I was — just a girl with a really big heart that wanted to love and be loved — the happier I became. The more the wounds that I’d carried since early in my childhood healed, the less I wanted to argue with people, especially people I cared about.
Arguments still happen, of course, but they don’t get personal…I don’t go for the jugular – actually the thought never crosses my mind anymore. When they happen, I find myself carefully searching for the right words to say…rather than yelling whatever comes to mind. I try to be purposeful with my words and mindful of my tone.
I’ve come to learn that you can tell a lot about a person by how they argue or handle confrontation. If someone can’t sit with you…look you in the eye…and talk through issues, why bother spending time with them when things are good? It’s easy to be with someone when everything is going swimmingly. The true test is how you handle choppy waters together.
I’m happy to say that…so far…Mr. Universe and I have had a couple of “discussions” and that’s exactly what they were…discussions…amongst two grown ass individuals that choose to take the time to try to understand each other when we don’t see eye to eye. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d be this person…but I like her so much better…and the people she attracts. It’s such an easier way to live…without regrets.
Be kind to each other…and to yourselves. We’re all we have.