I never thought accepting my rage was possible.
As a child, I grew up with a raging mom. I swore I’d never be like her so as an adult, I organized my life to never feel rage.
Little did I know that rage was silently waiting for a chance to reveal itself.
I was determined to be a peaceful, loving parent.
So when my daughter expressed her rage, I retreated and withdrew, and yet rage demanded I meet her by expressing mine.
I was thrown into incredibly dangerous and volatile waters since I perceived rage as the Great Destroyer. Actually, it was the Great Awakener and was to illuminate a part of myself that I had longed to experience.
I’ll never forget the first night that I met my rage fully.
We’d just moved into co-housing and my daughter, who had been glued to my leg most of her life, was feeling comfortable enough to go to the neighbor’s, without me, to watch a movie.
I dropped her off and came home to put on my jammies and read my book upstairs. I turned on the whole house fan and got comfy in the bed. I was in bliss. After 8 years of 24/7 parenting I had a moment to myself. As I relaxed and opened to this new experience I heard a faint tap, tap, tap.
Happily, I floated downstairs and saw my daughter’s angry red face at the door banging furiously. (She had gone out the back door and was at the front door that was locked)
As I quickly opened the door to welcome her home she forcefully backed me up the stairs and into my bedroom. Her rage was burning hot and she was ready to attack and there was nowhere to go.
I was so shocked that I jumped into the middle of my bed to get away from her fury. She grabbed her toothbrush (which at that moment I perceived as a knife) and screamed “brush my teeth”.
At that moment, I WOKE up.
I said to myself. “OK, rage, I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going to time you out. I’m not going to fix or change you. If you take me out, you take me out. But I’m going to meet you, even if it kills me.”
As I looked in the mirror it was my rage I was finally meeting.
The minute I did, my daughter broke into tears wailing “I was so afraid.”
“I was afraid. I was so afraid.”
As she collapsed into my arms I rocked and soothed the one in her that was so young and terrified.
It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. Underneath rage was uncontrollable terror. As I found my courage to meet mine as well as hers we collapsed into love and tenderness.
Anger is a secondary emotion. It’s protecting a deeply vulnerable part of you that you hid away to keep safe. When you aggress on yourself, then you turn your rage out toward your children.
Meeting rage with kindness, will open up places where you are afraid and needing care.
I built the capacity to lovingly stay with my vulnerability, especially my rage.
As I did, my heart opened to the tenderness underneath that was longing to be seen, heard and understood. Just like my daughter’s.
Listen to podcast Ep. 39 ” Rage: The Great Awakener”