*******Warning discussion of suicide*******
I learned that I couldn’t continue watching the Star Wars series when they showed how Darth Vader came to be. If it feels too real, it is not entertainment.
17. “[I] won’t let anyone see the ‘bad’ side of myself.”
I don’t want people to see the residual violence that stills lingers from a violent childhood. Watching daily fists fights under the guise of ‘boys will be boys’ was damaging for them and me. The violence from the neighborhood pedophile I explain that ‘my pain was his pleasure.’ Much like Darth Vader the fear and twisted thinking that corrodes a young mind exposed to a steady diet of violence and threats of violence leave a dark side, the ‘bad’ side. I find memes that joke about the different sides of a person. One basically says there is a good side and a bad side and a side that you NEVER want to see. I try hard to stop the violence within me but I am human and failed too many times. In my opinion, once is too many times. Another twisted meme “That which does not kill me, better run.” (This is a spin off from ‘that which does not kill me, makes me stronger.’) It is not just a case of “Ooo I don’t want anyone to think badly of me.” More like “I like you and want to protect you from the monster that lurks within.” My counselor watched in fascination when I would want to erupt but with great effort pull myself under ridged control. I would physically shake from the strain of keeping my ugly volcano from spewing filth and rage all over him and anyone else in the way. This isn’t a matter of letting my guard down, this is a bubbling cauldron of ugliness. What did I do about this?
Counseling with a therapist that understands PTSD and the raging emotions kept suppressed under pressure cooker levels of steam. He knew that teaching me to feel, assess, process, and release negative emotions would be a life time process. He taught me the process and I work through it bit by bit. I don’t want to hurt anyone by the ugliness that erupts from time to time. I will isolate myself rather than expose anyone to what I am capable of doing. Yes, at one point I made the decision I would die rather than hurt anyone the way I was hurt. My counselor was shocked when he realized my source of suicidal ideation stemmed from stopping the violence. He sat back and worked out, “You are not thinking about committing suicide, your committing an execution.” I was proud of myself for not saying “Duh” at the time. I still tend to isolate myself rather than expose other people to the violent side that lurks behind the veneer of civilization. Mostly I do the steps he taught me:
- Accept the anger I am feeling
- Look past the anger to the hurt, fear, or frustration behind my anger
- Examine my hidden emotions
- Evaluate what my options are for addressing those emotions
- Attempt to meet the unmet needs and feelings that need attention
- Pull down the Red Flag of anger, it did the job of alerting me to a problem and now I am paying attention and working through what I need to do.
I was fortunate that my therapist understood the lake of rage bubbling just below the surface. He took the time to teach me how to work through negative emotions. Some days are harder than other to keep things under control.