I frequently come across posts or emails written by people in the early aftermath of infidelity. The writings are often angry. Powerfully so, the words slashing across the screen like a serrated blade. You can feel the power, the fury. Each sentence an explosion of outrage towards the unfaithful partner, the affair partner and even circumstances in general.
When I encounter these posts, I want to turn my head in horror.
Not because of the writer.
But because of myself.
I recognize myself in those outbursts, those paragraphs of wrath-tinged keening.
I recollect responding in that same manner. With that same rage blinding my sight and deafening my ears.
I identify with the deep upswell of anger formed by betrayal and a sense of unfairness.
And I want to turn away.
I don’t want to remember that part of myself.
I don’t want to perhaps catch a glimpse of residual fury tucked away.
I don’t want to admit the power that anger held over me.
I see those posts and I remember my early journals, the pen digging deep trenches into the paper, pretending it was gouging flesh from his face. All I wanted to do was to lash out, to make him experience just a fraction of the pain he had inflicted upon me. It was ugly. And it made me ugly.
And I don’t like to face that, to remember the vileness of the anger, any potential for compassion forced out by blind indignation. I don’t like admitting that I wanted to respond to my pain by creating pain in someone else.
And so I want to turn my head. To deny that I once felt that same way.
But that’s becoming what I promised I wouldn’t – someone who writes about divorce only from the scrubbed and polished perspective of the other side.
I want to turn my head in horror.
But that’s not honest.
The horror is real.
The anger is real.
And facing it is the only way to lessen its grip.
So I read. And I remember. And I try to reach out.
Because anger is simply pain screaming to be heard.