Some minor thing would go wrong at school or Granddad would do or say something particularly nasty and the anger would just rise up inside me. I used to feel so cross with Mum and Dad for leaving me behind to face all the crap on my own! As the anger died away it would be replaced by guilt. Guilt that I was feeling such negative feelings about the two people I had loved best in the world. Guilt that they had died for such a trivial reason when I had survived almost without a scratch. Guilt at feeling that I should have been strong enough to cope with what had happened but knowing deep down that I wasn’t.
There were two quite different types of anger in my life. The first was directed towards Mum and Dad. I knew it was irrational and unfair to be cross with them and it was only the fact that these spells of anger were short-lived that made them both bearable and forgivable.
The anger I felt towards Granddad was there most of the time I was in his house. Each time he hit me, each time he said something negative about my Dad, each time he marched into my room without knocking, each time a meal I had paid for didn’t appear because of some alleged “crime” I had committed the anger grew a bit more.
Just occasionally Nan would sense that I was reaching boiling point and she would have a little talk at me. Not with me, at me. She found it very difficult to see things from my perspective after so many years of living under his control and any criticism of him by either of us was totally forbidden. When Granddad was out of the house I used to try to talk to this educated and articulate person about how I was feeling but it was like trying to describe colour to a blind person. Nan recognised the words but my message never got through.
Clearly I had to make some alternative provision for anger management!