One of the (many) things that I am working through is anger. If I allow the frustrations of life to get to me, I am angry. For a long time all I felt was anger. Anger towards whatever was getting in my way that particular day or moment. Anger for things that happened long ago and were never properly handled. Anger at perceived hurts or slights.
I was in some part addicted to anger. It can be strange to hear but being angry felt good. At least for a brief moment. Having a “moment” released some kind of chemical in my brain. I also felt powerful, seeing how people would react to me.
I used anger as a litmus test for friends and family. Would they reach past my walls of anger to love me? When they didn’t,or when their reaction did not fit into my preconceived narrative. I rewarded them with passive aggressiveness.
Oh how smug I felt in those moments. Often sarcasm was my weapon of choice. I could be cruel and quite manipulative. If not getting my way, then at least making others pay for it.
Crazy. I know.
But after the moment passed would then come shame at my behavior. Berating myself for once again acting or reacting in such a way.
That my punishment for this behavior was to be alone. After all, a person like me could not possibly deserve love. To be cared for by others. I was just that terrible.
A vicious lie of course.
As I grew to know Christ more and more I began to understand this better. Knowing Jesus has changed my life significantly. He has forced me to face the ugliness of my sin of anger. To see that it no longer need to define me. Placing people in my life to help me look in the mirror. To see what I’ve been blind to for so long. Getting what I have longed for, to be loved well.
There are long lasting consequences. It saddens my heart but there will always be someone, somewhere who I have hurt. To them I will always be that cruel angry person. And I’m sorry to have left such a mark on their lives. There are people currently in my life who are often wary on how to approach me. Because in my anger I taught them this.
But those in my life have seen how far I have come. How Jesus has continues to grow me. That I may not always catch how sharply I speak or not masking my face. Hiding my face is so hard, I wear my emotions so vividly.
But I can own when I have hurt people. I understand better what can trigger me and how to handle it. Some days are better than others. The difference today is that I understand more of the truth than the lie.
I am not cured but I am far better. This will always be my struggle. Anger though, no longer has the hold on me it once did. There was a time where I believed I would caught up in this cycle of anger for the rest of my life.
No matter the struggles we face in our lives, they are not necessarily permanent. You can change and grow if you are willing to face some hard truths about yourself. It has not been an easy journey for me. Facing the reality of my anger makes me want to be better. To become more of the person I know I am deep down.
What struggle has defined your life and how are you growing in the midst of it?