I’m Not the Angry One

jumping with dad

It was an emotionally exhausting journey across the mountains. Potamus slept until Issaquah (which is about…um…thirty minutes), and then cried until we got to Cle Elum for a snack. And then he ate a lot of french fries, and cried some more because he was out of water, and then he was content for five minutes down the road before he started to scream again because he had pooped.

We had three stops on the “2.5 hour” drive. It was hell. There might have been a ten minute stretch where I plugged my ears and shut my eyes (I wasn’t driving) and tried to notice my breath like I did when I was in labor or in Savasana in yoga. It helped me to keep myself from hurling out of the speeding car at 70 mph.

But other than that, the trip was brilliant. There was a wound-up kiddo who loved his gifts, and plenty of cupcakes that induced sugar highs for all of us, and maybe some good natured teasing. I even managed to only shout one time, out of passion and not anger, about how cool I actually think The Pope is (because my dad insinuated he was evil because he was ‘Marxist,’ which I later debunked). And then, about ten minutes until we left, the shit hit the fan. Somehow my dad managed to start yelling at me and saying that I had been yelling at him and it became a crazy convoluted argument about who-the-fuck-knows-why, of which I left feeling confused and sad and might have cried for twenty minutes until we got out of the city limits. Ad if you know me, you know that I cry approximately every 2 years, so it’s a pretty freaking big deal.

Because no matter what I do, I somehow am always pegged as the ‘angry one’ in the family. I’m tired of having a perfectly good time and still not ‘doing it right enough,’ to show my family t hat I’m not the angry¬† depressed teenager I used to be. But somehow in pouring my heart out to Boof, I realized…I am not the angry one. I haven’t ever really been the angry one. In fact, my dad, who has been so pegged as jovial and overly rational (let’s sit down and discuss this conflict using I statements) is actually the angry one. He is angry. I am not. And that realization shifted something in me.

I am not angry.

Knowing that he is angry relieves me. It makes sense for why he’s been lashing out and blaming me for things that I didn’t actually do. I don’t know why he’s angry, what hes’ bottled up over the years, but that’s not my job to figure out. My job is to work on myself, which I have been doing in therapy, and it’s my job to continue to treat him compassionately. So while I don’t like having to have experienced that explosiveness earlier today, I do like the insight, because now I feel like I am better prepared to handle myself in the future.

What have you learned about your parents over the years that has re-shaped how you view yourself, your childhood, or them?