I am FURIOUS with my neighbor!! She raises an ire in me that is incredibly hard to control. She spits venomous words at me and baits me to engage in a senseless fight that basically consists of her accusing me of sleeping with her boyfriend because I strut (her words) back and forth in front of their apartment, encouraging him to admire me like a prize pony. (According to her, my strutting occurs when I am grabbing my laundry from the basement—in my sweatpants and pony tail. I must look damn fine in those sweatpants! Why do I even bother putting on dresses if ya’ll really like the sweatpants??)
For the record, I am most definitely not sleeping with or at all interested in her partner. I tell myself I won’t take the bait and return fire. I try to convince myself I am in control of those faculties that tell me to just WALK AWAY. But every time she confronts me (four and counting), I get this urge to try and convince her I am a good woman, a good person… And the thing is, it really doesn’t matter! What’s she going to do, nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize after she realizes her horrible and embarrassing mistake? Not likely!
Her anger isn’t about me. In fact, I’m relatively certain she knows I’m not actually sleeping with her boyfriend. It’s about what is inside her heart that makes her lash out at a perfect stranger. She is obviously hurting. Even before our feud started, she never had a friendly word for any of her neighbors. She always has a grimace on her face. It makes me sad for her. Not so sad that I don’t deliver several choice words in the privacy of my home after a confrontation, though. I let my blood rise to a boil and I vent for far too long to my girlfriends about it. It runs over and over like a movie in front of my eyes, and I can’t stop it.
For me, anger takes on two costume changes. One I see as something negative, dark. The dark side is the one that makes my veins bulge out of my neck, makes my head ache and my fists clench. I feel the sweat form at my temples and a slow burn starts at my crown and moves into my chest. It makes me feel like I have lost control. It makes me a victim. And this is not who I want to be.

Every issue, belief or assumption is precisely the issue that stands between you and your relationship to another human being; and between you and yourself.

Gita Bellin said this, but I have heard it many times over. Is it true? Am I seeing part of myself in this hurting human being? Why can’t I just let it go? Am I that same, sad girl? Twice, I’ve let myself actually yell back at her, which is very unlike me. In the moment, I truly believe I’m defending my honor…but what is really going on?
The other side of my anger is light and bright, and I see it as pure motivation to change what I don’t like. For example, my recent promotion came out of what started as anger. Did I stomp around and suffer in silence while continuing to go to work every day for less than I deserved? Well, yes, but not for long. I used that anger as fuel to focus on the prize. Once I had a clear vision of how I was going to change my situation, a calm feeling washed over me and I began working on my goal. The nerves and anger dissipated quickly.
Now what do I do with that emotion when it comes upon me? I’ve read articles that tell me to “sit in my anger.” Why the hell would I want to do that?? I don’t want to stay sweaty and fired up. I want to smile and giggle like I usually do.
Is this “sitting in anger” actually a technique of loving myself in all states of emotion? To sit in anger is to accept it. It is painfully obvious to me that I am very hesitant to sit in any emotion for long. Could I really slow down, stop trying to cut to the front, and appreciate standing in a long line in order to get to know that part of me that gets heated?
What do you do, readers? I welcome your suggestions, your hugs, and a few paper bags to breathe into when my neighbor comes a’shouting again.

13 responses to “Anger”

  1. Jan R Loomis Avatar
    Jan R Loomis

    Anger tends to turn toward tolerance as one grows older.
    Sent from my iPad

    1. beckydancer Avatar

      Yes, tolerance as well as the wisdom to save your energy for real battles!

  2. Claudia Shimmies Avatar

    That neighbor is trying to feed off of your energy like a parasite. She is not operating from a whole self so to fill her emptiness she looks to others. Not consciously but primally. I bet if you didn’t feed her this energy she would find other ways to elicit energy from you. Sorry Celestine Prophecy has had a lingering effect in my life…only because in a lot of cases it’s freaking true.

    1. Juana Avatar

      I agree with Claudia. Also, I don’t tend to stomp down my anger as much as I used to. It’s there for a legitimate reason, and in this case, I think looking at the source of it is a good idea.

      1. beckydancer Avatar

        Exactly – it is always a good idea to reflect on the source of these strong emotions! Thank you for reading, Juana

        1. Juana Avatar

          Keep writing. I love your words.

    2. beckydancer Avatar

      I can always use a good Celestine Prophecy reference! I have read that book so many times, and every single time I get something new out of it. I’ll tell you what, since I consciously decided not to give her/them any more energy, I have felt such a lightness of being! It took a while to get me there, for sure, but I’m not giving her any more pieces of me. Thank you for being there for me.

  3. Myra Avatar

    I have noticed that as I get older I have less patience for crap, this has made me lash out in retaliation a few more times than I would have liked. I definitely have to stop and check myself before reacting in many situations. Those that know me know that lashing out is not me at all. I think that in the past I’ve taken so much from so many people that now I refuse to sit quietly in my anger anymore. Something else I have learned the hard way is that you can’t please everyone, which is something I used to try to do. It’s impossible! I no longer care about what other people think of me because I finally know who I am. You don’t like me, well guess what, you are the one missing out and you are the one with a problem. I think you shouldn’t sit in anger it can make you bitter and depressed. Embrace it, that unimportant neighbor doesn’t deserve your time! If she confronts you again, let her know just that and waste no more time on it. Use your anger for good, when it’s time to stand up for your beliefs or for you. Just know when you need to use it. Hugs!

    1. beckydancer Avatar

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Myra, as someone who has known many of my struggles, and I yours, I can see how much we’ve grown through our emotional issues. Thank you for putting such succinct words on your feelings on this.

  4. Erin Avatar

    I’m sorry you’re going through this – It is definitely something inside your neighbor and has nothing to do with you… Good for you taking the high road.

    1. beckydancer Avatar

      Thank you! Every time I started doubting myself, I have to think THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. But it’s hard to remember because society trains us in all the wrong ways.

  5. Create/Enjoy (@SuzannahStanley) Avatar

    How strange of her! I agree, others doing hurtful things is usually because of their issues and they’re probably really struggling. I realized once years ago that “everyone is doing the best that they can” at any given moment and it has made me a lot more forgiving of rude drivers, my husband, and more!

    1. beckydancer Avatar

      That is a wonderful mantra!! Thank you for reading.

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