Anger is a difficult emotion. It is the emotion we chide ourselves for having and not containing. It is an explosive emotion that we are told to keep under control. Yet it is the very emotion that makes us sick when we repress it. There is nothing wrong with being angry. It is a sign that something has insulted our ego or sense of self. It is a sign that our values may have been compromised. The key is to express anger without taking actions that cause negative repercussions. The challenge is to channel anger into positive action, through art, photography, music or exercise and not to throw things, drink, call names or any other angry behaviour.

It is also an emotion that is most felt during separation and divorce. Both parties become angry at some stage, over finances, child access, legal proceedings or any myriad of potential triggers.

The following is an excerpt from my blog “The Lake House Writer” during my separation and divorce, when I turned to photography and writing to channel productively my anger.

After the tears comes anger. I’m angry at him, at the world and everything that I find annoying. I’m angry that life served me up a lemon and now I’m a single mother, living off a pathetic pension. It’s as if the anger inside of him has transferred inside of me. Most of all I’m angry at me for being angry.

I should know better than being angry. Now that I’m learning how to be a good mindful Buddhist I should know how to watch anger rise and to be able to not have it manifest. But I am a novice. I can not be patient and calm despite trying to override the emotion by focusing on positive quotes and photography:

 

And so I explode; with a blog.

Slowly but surely, the news is filtering around that I left my husband. Most people, unsure of what to do, do nothing, and continue on in their merry lives as if they were none the wiser. They press the like button on Facebook when I post photos, and think they have done their part. The bolder ones send an email, the even bolder a phone call.

The phone calls all tend to have the same pattern. Heard the news, and just checking to see if I am ok. Do I need anything? Then they try to sidestep politely around the issue of what went wrong. They ask if we tried counselling. They ask if I would change my mind. Once I politely but firmly assure them that it is definitely over and there is no going back, the recurring comment is ‘oh well, at least you are young enough to get married again’.

AGAIN?! Are you crazy? Once was enough for me. I was married for six years, five of which I was effectively a single mother, with a husband who chose to work seven hours drive away from where we lived. We saw him every three weeks for between two and seven days, with twenty-four hours notice. We lived in dual worlds. One world where mum ran the roost and did her best to cope; the other, where dad came home tired, horny as hell, trying to assert authority as the income earner.

To be honest, I am effectively a bachelor. I am used to doing things the way they work for the kids and me. I really like not having a husband. The government gives me a pension now and Centrelink doesn’t try to get in the shower with me, misunderstanding that the shower is the ONLY time of the day a mother has to herself.

I don’t miss having someone to talk to at night. I never had that luxury, and after a day of non-stop talking boys I rather enjoy the silence. I’d rather curl up in bed with a glass of red and a good book. Marriage made me feel like a prostitute, pimping for grocery money. I’m done with it, so thanks anyway.