Today I’m going to throw a question out there, to the universe, and see what it throws back at me. Today I’m in need of support, today I’m in need of help and today I don’t want to be judged.
I knew this week would be a hard one for me. It always is when my anchor, my darling husband, is not at my side. It’s as if I come adrift spinning helplessly in the ocean without something to tether me to sanity. I just didn’t think it would happen so early in the week, he had barely got on his plane (I suspect) when things started to unravel.
Meditation had become my saving grace every morning for the last week. Ten minutes of focus, of still breathing and trying really hard to maintain it. It has been getting easier and easier, until this morning. I had already identified that morning is best, it starts the day out well, I can actually focus and still the mind then, it leaves me feeling energised, and THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ALL, the kids are not awake.
This morning this was not to be. I started out, and barely 3 minutes into my session my daughter came in the bedroom demanding to get into bed with me because she had a bad dream. I am deeply ashamed to say that that white heat of rage took over. Despite being in a semi-meditative state the white hot rage burst forth from nowhere and it was as if I never heard her say she had a bad dream. This was 5.45am and I was not happy that MY PEACE had been disturbed by HER. I demanded that she go back to bed, and in her fear, in her whimpering, in the ragged breath, in her disbelief, she woke her brother and the cat, which cranked the white heat into something quite nasty. She “knew” enough to try and stop her sobs to “be quiet” and go back to “sleep” because Mummy was clearly NOT Mummy, Mummy was a Raging Monster.
Oddly, I shut the door on that. The Good Mummy I am trying so hard to nurture, the one that begs to grow sat whimpering inside me saying in a tiny voice “Lie down beside her and hold her, she needs you”. Instead I smacked that little Mummy HARD. What right did she have to interrupt what I was doing, I needed to MEDITATE. The Good Mummy tried again… “umm… isn’t that a tad ironic? Do you really honestly think you can after that”. SLAP. And she stayed quiet while I “meditated”.
To say it was a hopeless session was an understatement. I did not even reach the 10 minutes.
Then I came down the stairs, knowing both my children were awake and quiet in their beds and not wanting yet to deal with it. Angry MUMMY was still in charge.
The cat had vomited in at least TEN different places all over the carpet. It was 6.20am. My darling husband had left me a note saying (and bless him) that he had tried to clean it up. The rage entered again. What part of “cleaning up” did he mean? This time the Raging Monster ignored the fact he had a flight first thing in the morning and all she saw was the small patch he had “noticed” and attempted to clean up and the multitude of places he did not see and therefore did not clean up. Good Mummy/Good Partner got up and said “It’s ok, I can handle this”. Again the Raging Monster said “Get down Bitch, stay down, I have the situation in hand”. Which clearly they did not. And so stomping I raged and cleaned, raged and cleaned, raged and cleaned till the heat was dissipating.
By the time I had my shower the rage had almost gone. It was smouldering. My children came out of the bedroom and my daughter glared at me. Still the Raging Monster had enough life left to think “what’s she angry about!!”. This time the Good Mummy smacked her down and delivered this crippling blow.
“Mummy is sorry, and Mummy promises that Bad Mummy will never ever come out again”.
But how can I be so sure?
I have thought long and hard about giving my children new neural pathways, new ways of being, ways of seeing the world, ways of handling their emotions that I do not possess. I do not want them to struggle against the baggage, to find ways of rewiring their brains as adults, because the wiring is maladaptive. I want them to know that there are healthier ways of handling things.
How can I show them that pathway to healthy anger when all I know, when the most familiar models of anger I know, are those of rage. What pathways do I have? Why do my pathways burn white heat and make it impossible for the new ways of seeing, the new ways of being to dampen down that fire?
So I ask, where do I find these new pathways and how do I teach them when I know what they are, but the old pathways are so worn, so well trodden that they rise phoenix like and burn like white heat through my mind?
I made a promise to my daughter today, but that’s just the beginning of the promise. That’s one step. Because I know that I can’t divorce myself from the Raging Monster, I have to accept her, she’s part of me, and a deeply powerful one too. Equally I cannot shut her down. I have to treat her with empathy, she has to learn that she doesn’t have to rage, that she doesn’t have to hurt forever and that her power can be redirected. She need not fear being evicted, she need not fear being loved, there is a place for her here and this cycle of female rage can be broken.
I can be a better person, I can learn better ways. I know better ways, and I can walk them and learn them, I AM walking them and I AM learning them, and I can learn them with my children. We can hold each others hands and we can guide each other.
I saw in my daughter’s eyes, the expectation, the woman I can be, the woman she KNOWS I am, the woman I know I am, and I cannot ever let that down. So I welcome her, the Raging Monster, the White Heat, I shower her with love and I feel her sobs of relief for she has come home.