Anger has been a part of my life for many years. The reasons for getting angry have seemed mysterious. Though each time anger boiled into rage became uncomfortable. Once the rage episode concluded, negative feelings always remained. Lacking understanding over the root cause for each explosive act. It has been an intense time of learning over the past few weeks. Beginning to concentrate more intensely on concepts like triggers. Things happening in life resulting in uncontrollably aggressive behavior. Switches being flipped or buttons being pushed without understanding the implications. Resulting in continuous self-blame for the results of my anger. Each time an explosive event took place, the thought left over was “bad Pete,” leaving me feeling as though everything was my fault. Though everything going on inside my brain and therefore my emotions wasn’t my fault. In order to begin understanding the true reasons for my anger, this concept was vital. The self-blame seemed to require an end, before the reasoning could be explored. Because without the release of fault, every reason for the anger would simply add to the “bad Pete,” concept. The concept shutting down my ability to listen. Making it almost impossible to truly embrace the help being given. I wasn’t ready to face the seemingly addictive role of anger. Because facing the anger would mean relinquishing control. Inside my mind, the giving up of control would equal abandonment.
Over the years, cerebral palsy has caused havoc on my self-worth. Believing people wouldn’t want to spend time with me if given a choice. Thinking most people surrounded me out of obligation or pity. Because they felt sorry for me in some way, not wanting to be the individual leaving me by myself. The concept played on my mind a million times over. Feeling that if cerebral palsy would disappear, there would be a greater desire for me to be included. Even believing people who loved me were simply dealing with me out of obligation. Those emotions continued causing frustration inside. The anger accompanying the lost ability to become like everyone else. Through the anger, convincing myself of the desire to push people away. They didn’t want to be around me anyway. So, anger was used to force them further away from my circle. Then, blaming them for walking away from an unhealthy situation. It had all become concocted inside an irrational mind. Pursuing friendships only with those who wanted to gain something from being friends. Because, inside my mind, being around me was a burden to be endured. Not because of anger, but because they had to deal with my awkward movements and trembling speech. They were forced to help me, when others wouldn’t require assistance. The manipulation and bullying from others felt well deserved. The impact of cerebral palsy was all my fault. Self-esteem was being given no room to grow.
Placing myself in these manipulative situations was incredibly detrimental. The environment of everyday life was resulting in self-harm at every turn. The emotional impact of allowing people to push me around. Feeling like all of it was part of the price associated with having friendships. The trouble being, these weren’t friendships under any definition of the word. Recalling a session with Dr. Montgomery where the story was being told of friendly interaction. At least an interaction having become almost normal among my relationships. When the short explanation of interaction had concluded. The reaction from Dr. Montgomery, who had become extremely trusted, was surprising. In his opinion, the comments made during the conversation weren’t those of a friendly nature. The response, along with the concept behind it, struck me as almost unreal. It was a form of treatment which had become so regular in my life. Being given advice about the unworthiness of myself. It caused familiar emotions of frustration and anger, but if multiple friends had spoken to it over the years, mustn’t it be true. Friendly conversations like these have often brought about feelings of losing control. They can cause my head to spin, bringing with them bouts of total confusion. While also, leaving me feeling the words are deserved. Because, I was at fault for still feeling the impact of my disability.
Bullying and manipulation seem to bring with them feeling of confusion. All of the toxicity inside relationships resulting in the loss of emotional control. Getting so toxic, we don’t know where the next insult or personal slight might originate. Leaving us walking through the world constantly guarding ourselves. Living on an edge, holding back from letting in any form of love. We have been pushed around and bullied. Causing some to accept the behavior as being part of how the world operates. The loss of emotional control can lead down an extremely dark path. Resulting in an unhealthy attempt to regain control of emotional life. That anger building up inside my emotions couldn’t be taken out on those nurturing it. Losing the acceptance of the individuals doing the bullying wouldn’t help. They were needed to help encourage the negative thoughts about myself. The manipulative nature of those relationships brought the feeling of normalcy. It was the love of others in my life, not making sense to my emotions. Any kind of emotional support was being fought against. The kindness of other relationships was simply getting in the way, causing a distraction from an attachment. That attachment, maybe even a form of addiction, was to negativity. A longing for the precursor to becoming angry and abusive. The very thing hurting my emotions and violating my emotional safety, was being passed on from my person to others. The anger and raging behavior turning me into the manipulative bully. Hurting the relationships attempting to help me onto the road of healing.
In my search for emotional control, tools had been developed. Tools that weren’t helping me gain emotional control. They were causing further damage to important relationships. The frustration and anger inside my thoughts and feelings couldn’t remain dormant. When the frustrations of having cerebral palsy and enduring poor treatment could no longer be handled, explosive anger surfaced. The boiling over of anger occurring for most of my life. Hitting and pushing were never things that worked to release pent up frustrations. Cerebral palsy making me too weak muscularly to hurt anyone, or be physically intimidating. The release had to come from some other angle in my case. If someone has the ability to physically intimidate, they are often in control of others. In addition, people who bully and emotionally abuse others, often also maintain control over others. After feeling bullied in many ways by people around, I wanted to control others, because I was feeling controlled. It feels to me like the cycle of abuse, when someone ends up being hurt, they want to inflict pain on others. A part of my story that has been sadly frightening. If my aggression couldn’t come out in physical intimidation. It would be exemplified by threatening self-harm. The point was attempting to make people frightened, in order to gain control. If yelling didn’t work, or throwing something across the room failed, threats of self-harm would be next. I wanted to make people feel trapped, scared, and alone. Every negative emotion being felt inside my emotions.
The threat of self-harm was working as a method of control in my mind. People who cared for me didn’t want to witness me hurting myself. The threat causing them to stop everything. All at once the world revolved around myself. Understanding the threat of rage was controlling the actions of those in my presence. Placing them into the position of fear around their own actions. Wondering if something would be said or done to further enrage my desire of taking action against myself. The whole circumstance resulted in scary moments that weren’t being recognized. During these rage episodes, the only person of importance was myself. Sometimes the mechanism of control could be pulling a knife, threatening to stab myself, for others to watch. As a teen, it was sitting on the home window ledge of a second story window, threatening to jump. While there have also been threats of jumping out of a moving vehicle. All taking place inside the rage of anger. Seeking control of the environment around me, when processing of my emotions had been lost. The raging might also result in driving aggressively. Wondering if control would be lost, resulting in devastating injury. The frustration and anger having become so great in those moments, it didn’t matter who would be hurt. My pain took precedent over everything inside the world. My thoughts and emotions around cerebral palsy leading to a destructive environment. Everything was my fault. My view of the world around me wasn’t up for debate.
The threats of self-harm occurring were abusive. They were also being used in a manipulative fashion toward others. The idea of being manipulative never entering into my mind. My thoughts revolved around self-harm threats defining who I was as a person. When others would complement me for kindness, it was challenging to hear. So much of my self-image had become wrapped up in anger and rage. When these tools were being used toward people around me, they seemed to instill fear. Not just fear during the raging event, but seemingly causing fear during everyday life. People close lacked the ability to truly know when an episode might occur. The possibility of my abusive tendencies keeping them on edge. Wondering if I would be abusive on that day, accelerating me into a rage. The impact of my actions on others, both during the rage, along with the anger preluding that rage, weren’t even being considered. My thoughts remained solely on punishing others for not having to handle a disability. Along with my desire to gain control from the bullying I was enduring elsewhere in my life. At times, my life had turned into a full cycle of abuse. Without understanding my role smack in the center of the cycle. Abuse was flowing into me, then flowing out onto others who cared. I was being hurt through bullying, so I wanted to be a bully. As a result, my life had deteriorated into chaos. The goal of stopping the cycle of abuse was fading fast.
They often say, you don’t know until you know. Until someone or something helps you understand. Until the ability comes to begin placing the pieces together. Beginning to unravel the reasoning behind manipulative and abusive behavior. Which doesn’t mean the behavior disappears overnight. Starting the dive deeper into the reasons for toxic behavior seems to be the place were more truthful work begins. The early stages of understanding the impact of the abusive things being said and done. The suggestion of raging anger being different from my true identity seemed a good start. An attempt to release the feeling of blame around my disability seemed a valid objective. Then came the emotional impact on those closest. The aspect furthest from my brain, but seemingly most important. Starting to realize the selfishness taking place, which wasn’t being thought about. So, deep into the anger of having cerebral palsy, it didn’t matter who got hurt. There was little, to no, effort being placed into understanding how others might feel about my anger. Their fears and uneasy emotions about being around me at times. As long as my anger was controlling the relationships, those things didn’t matter. The downward spiral continued for years. While attempting to cover true emotions with a friendly smile or kind word. Only to punish myself in moments of self-isolation, where negativity felt as though it could be hidden away. Finally, the continued attempt at running had to stop. An attempt at truly listening and understanding would be required. More serious effort was needed to improve life.
The challenge of anger has become mine to face. The realization of anger as a mechanism of control has led to the beginning of a process toward understanding. Taking away the tendency to simply blame myself, apologize, and move forward. Because, this methodology wasn’t working to bring peace into life. Yes, things have become much better as the years have worn on. The anger may not be flaring in the frequency of the past. However, the upsets have continued taking place more often than they should. Too often for people close to feel complete emotional safety. That goal requires more work and better acceptance of help. Letting go of the, “bad Pete” method of self-blame and accepting responsibility without fault. The things triggering anger no longer are my responsibility to control. Cerebral palsy can’t be remedied by working more diligently or applying more focus. Because of this seemingly simple fact, belittling or bullying shouldn’t be concerning anymore. There has been little I could do to stop people from looking down on me, I just needed to begin realizing that fact. The hope being, through all the realizations, grace for myself can be found, anger can subside, the need for control can dissipate, and emotional abuse can disappear. If all of this can be achieved through hard work and self-understanding, maybe happiness can prevail.