The Mad-ness of Partners

Posted by – January 23, 2006

I’ve been thinking a lot about the anger of partners.

I wonder sometimes about the correlation between anger & empowerment.

I’ve never been a plate-breaking type; I’ve never thrown someone’s stuff out a window. And I wonder, when I see the kind of rage that partners can kick up, what it is in their brains that allows them to go so out of control. I have a lot of anger; Betty sometimes says I’m one of the angriest people she’s ever met. But at some point in time, I found yelling and screaming at the injustice of it all was perfectly futile, so I (mostly) stopped doing it. That’s not to say I don’t rant – I’m a professional ranter, actually – but I stopped thinking that my ranting was going to change anything.

My mother always tells me that I spent more of my time convincing her of why I shouldn’t have to do more chores than it would have taken me to do them, and it strikes me that misplaced anger is a similar waste of time. If being angry or sad or screaming is not going to change the situation, then why keep doing those things?

But what I’ve noticed is the anger and sadness don’t satisfy people either. They stop being angry just at the thing that made them angry, and start spreading it around. In our case, we had to deal with an ex of Betty’s who not only targeted Betty, but me, and a friend of ours who introduced us, Betty’s parents, etc.

I’ve heard recently that one of the reasons therapists used to recommend divorce if one partner was transitioning is for fear the therapist, or doctor, might be sued by the angry partner. And while I can understand the urge of a partner who wants to sue a therapist for being “encouraging,” I don’t really understand the misplaced anger: the therapist didn’t cause the transsexualism.

A couple of weeks back I put up a post about having to decide what to do when you’re done crying, and sometimes I wonder if the crying and anger doesn’t continue for some people because they simply can’t face doing something, either because they don’t feel that they can do anything, or have generally felt unable to exert real power over their lives, or that they don’t feel up to following through on whatever decision they might make. That is, I wonder if they keep being angry and sad because the other emotion they’ll have to confront is outright fear.

3 Comments on The Mad-ness of Partners

  1. lizzy says:

    Yes, being angry about one thing a long time, gets you angry about everything.
    I used to be able to let go of anger, I know it only harms me. The thought about anger and sadness distilling down to fear, is, for me true.
    The list of stuff I’m afraid of is way long……. and I hate it that I can’t seem to pull myself out like I used to.
    DJ is my one last good chance, I have to get it right this time, I just don’t have it in me to re invent myself again and start over.
    Besides I’m in love with my husband, and that scares the shit out of me.
    I am not used to needing someone.

  2. Barbara says:

    Sort of off-topic, but lizzy’s last sentence got to me.

    I never thought I would get used to needing someone. And then I found someone. And much too soon afterward, I lost my someone. And after all these years, I can’t get used to needing and not having someone. To all those out there who have someone, please count your blessings.

  3. Elaine says:

    Am I the only one who liked the film “Upside to Anger”? In one later scene the younger daughter reflects:

    “Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you… turn you… mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then… is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm.”

    Seems true to my experience.

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