Sunday, February 12, 2012


It’s been dark, gray and stormy in Griefland lately. A few weeks ago the massage therapist noted some anger build up in my body. She sensed I had been coping with the sadness and longing well enough but not so much with the anger. She sensed it up in my shoulders and moving all the way down to my hands, ready to be released. Perhaps scribbling; screaming; breaking glass.

I think I’m fairly demonstrative but I have always had difficulty expressing anger. I’m not a yeller or a stomper or a door slammer. I don’t know what to do with anger so I usually stuff it down inside until one day it explodes – usually in the form of tears.

Trusting the massage therapist, I brainstormed where I could break glass. In the backyard? Too public. In the basement? Too messy.

I don’t mind cleaning up after myself but glass shards can fly really far. Pragmatic, analytical me was still pondering the logistics of how and where to break glass weeks later when intense waves of anger starting rolling through me. Naturally I tried to put a lid on it. When that didn’t work I cried. Still the anger did not dissipate. It was so overwhelming I had to leave work early for fear of doing or saying something I would regret.

Arriving home I was held together by a mere thread having used up all of my patience and energy already. I grabbed a wooden folding chair, a plastic file box, a metal pole and safety goggles (I said I was pragmatic). Down to the basement before my husband or the lower tenant arrived home and smash went the file box. I was crying before I even landed the first blow. Through the tears and gasps for breath I screamed. Screamed a blood-curdling howl that would have sent the neighbors running to dial 911. I’ve never heard myself make such a noise. I picked up the folding chair WWF-style and hurled it toward the ground. I kept screaming and swinging and crying and bellowing. She was right, I did need to get this gunk out.

Except I was smashing it on the ground, not another person.

I didn’t feel better instantly. I think there’s a lot more anger that needs to be expelled. But it was somewhat refreshing to access that crap; to tap into the primordial wounded animal inside. That loud, wailing that came hurtling out from the deepest depths of my soul.

I’m not sure if this is the “Anger” phase of Kubler-Ross’s grief theory but I do know I will remember to utilize this tactic in the future regarding anger that derives from any source. Just another lesson from my beautiful son. Thank you A for teaching me a healthy way to deal with anger; it is something I never knew how to do my whole life until you prodded me.

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