Arthritis and anger
Sunday August 05, 2007
Dear Alice, I am in the middle of a journey to i know not where. I am now 53 and in the last few years am dealing with so many issues which until now i was in denial about. I am trapped in a marriage to a disabled man. He had a stroke 18 years ago and is profoundly disabled but in invisible ways. He can walk and looks healthy but he has no language and his personality has changed. I continued to take care of him and our four children for many years. He is very emotionally withdrawn and repressed. All the energy for the relationship comes from me. He is paranoid, secretive and arrogant.His anger at me is expressed in the fridge treatment and withdrawal.
I also had an affair with a younger man who turned out to be emotionally abusive. I had some sort of nervous breakdown after breaking off the relationship. i began to realise that much of the dynamics of the relationship were similar to the ones with my parents. I was a pathetic creature running around trying to understand and forgive them all for their atrocious treatment of me. I started to see more and more how abusive my mother was and is towards me. My father has ignored me for 30 years even though he lives nearby.
By reading other peoples letters on this website i have been able to put a name to my experiences. I am now seeing how much i hate myself and how i have always sabotaged myself. I also do not know what love is.
I have also noticed how other people experience pain in their bodies and you have mentioned how rage is related to arthritis. I am very physically robust and healthy but have osteoarthritis in my hips. It is now so bad that there seems no alternative but to have hip replacement surgery.
I have begun a degree course at university and have many interests. The truth is that i am happiest when away from my husband and the house where i seem to have all the responsibility.
I have found a very supportive therapist who has helped me alot. I cannot see how i can get away from my husband. The obstacles and responsibility for splitting up would all fall on me. The authorities will not help-they do not seem to understand about invisible disabilities.
I feel so angry sometimes that i worry it will burn a whole in my belly. I see now that i married my father and i clung on because my father was the only bit of love i got as a child.
My mother is a sadist, a bully and never wanted me. She had to get married at 17 and she made sure i suffered for it. I do not have one good memory of my mother. What i do remember is all bad. I am only now realising what that has done to me. I am still living in another country to people who were loved by their mothers. Everything looks different. My father ignores me. If i did that to a plant or my dog-it would die!
I am sick of people who feed off my energy-I am angry that i find myself trapped like this. My therapist says that maybe the walls around my prison are not as high as i like to think. He could be right.
My question is this. Do you think actual degenerative arthritis can be caused by anger and resentment caused by too much responsibility? If so-why do you belive that?
I would like to add that i cut off contact with my mother 4 months ago and i do not miss her one bit. I always used to feel guilty because i did not love her. I used to think that i hoped she would die and then i would at least have some money. That sounds awful but it's the truth. Now i realise that it's ok not to love people who are horrible to me. It was emotional enmeshment-not love. She never loved me. It is a hard thing to accept that i have totally selfish and immature parents who never parented me.
I struggle with wanting to be with the abusive man-he will not leave me alone. However i do not have contact with him at all. It is hard to believe i am worth more than the company of a man who cannot love anyone.
What can i do with this anger and the anxiety that wakes me in the night like a hand in my guts?
Thank you for reading this and the help from your writing. I just read 'The body never lies' Every word on every page speaks to me.
AM: Your clarity is wonderful. You don't deserve to live in such a prison. It is understandable thus that your body rebels. It seems to say: you can't live this way; you must make a decision. Can it be that you will find the outcome if you allow yourself to feel the rage of the small girl for your father whom you still seem to protect? The child could not leave, but the adult has options that he doesn't see as long as he/she is blocked by the feelings of their childhood.