Getting mad is a part of getting better.
It's right in there in the steps of grief...in the steps of healing from trauma...in the steps for healing from sexual abuse.
It can be a terrifying road to travel because when you are walking it, you don't know where it will lead. There are side roads to take you to mind numbing alternatives...drugs, cutting, abusive relationships, suicide.
These are all sorts of pitfalls and potholes along the way.
And once you walk down that path, it's impossible to see the end and after a few short steps, you can no longer see where you came from. If you hold your hand out straight in front of your face, it disappears in the darkness that envelopes you.
No matter how many people want to walk with you, they can't. Anger is a personal journey. People can walk beside you. People can hold out their hands and try to catch you if you fall, but no one can crawl inside your skin and walk your journey for you.
When my daughter asked for people to support her at the hearing on June 26th, this was a huge step for her. When the two of us, along with her PAVSA advocate, had to meet with yet another legal person in the system to spill our guts yet again (one hour after STBX denied her the right to change her name), she got as heated as I've ever seen her.
But not for herself. For me.
To sit there, knowing what she has gone through and knowing how horrible her father treated her for so many years and listening to her tell this person that her father treated me like crap was soul wrenching.
Later, her advocate commented that her anger was positive. It was a sign that she was headed in the right direction. She was channeling it through positive things. She was doing the right thing.
I then asked the question that had haunted me since our meeting. "How can she get so worked up over what her father did to me? What her father did to me was nothing. What her father did to her was horrifying."
And that's when all these last few months came down on my head.
"How have you managed to get through these last few months?" She asked me. "What has been the force that has pulled you through when you didn't think you could survive another five minutes?"
"My kids," I told her. "If we didn't have kids and if he had been a pedophile toward some other child, I probably would have put a bullet in his head and then did the same to myself. As a matter of fact, that thought haunted me even though I did have kids. But it was the anger that I had at him for what he did to my daughter that kept me going. My need to protect her now even though I couldn't/didn't protect her then."
"And why," she then asked me. "Do you think that her journey is any different?"
I just stood there, probably with my mouth hanging open and flies coming in and out. The parent-child bond is also a child-parent bond. I survived for her. She made it through for me.
Neither one of us looked in the mirror and said "I need to do this for myself."
"Myself" is a harder concept. "Myself" means that you recognize that what occured to you was wrong. "Myself" can lead down a road of "oh poor me" and that whole victimization bullshit that STBX wallows in on a daily basis.
But just for a moment, it can be the startling realization that it's easier to stand up for the ones you love than it is to stand up for yourself.
It's the realization that this road is a million miles long and we have only taken the first three steps.