The Right to be Angry

The more the love I have for my daughter grows, the more I despise the one who tried to take her from me.

Shortly after my then-wife and I separated, one of her grandmothers tried to help me by saying, “Don’t be angry about something you can’t control.” I’m going to explain why I find this profoundly ignorant.

This particular grandmother of hers is one of the few (emphasis on the word few) people related to my ex-wife that I have any respect or affection for. She and I have never had a bad interaction, but she has said some things in the past that have bothered me; this example being one. She’s a good person, she means well, and I do attempt to bring my daughter to visit her, since my ex-wife hardly ever bothers from what I hear. Still, that doesn’t stop her blind loyalty to my ex-wife from irritating me immensely.

Too many people confuse their relatives with ‘family.’ Too often, people fail to see their relatives for the despicable people they are.  But that’s a subject for another post.

Here is what’s ignorant about the statement, “Don’t be angry about something you can’t control.” Firstly, I most certainly was not helpless; I fought back, and because I fought back, the end result was a fair one, which my ex-wife should have wanted in the first place, if she was a good person. I could affect my circumstances, and I most certainly did.

Second and most importantly, anger is what gave me the strength I needed to fight back, and to survive the nightmare my ex-wife put me through. Anger is what gives everyone who is forced into unfair, cruel situations the power to overcome them. What else should I have done? Lied on my back and played dead? That’s exactly what my ex-wife tried to get me to do. Hell, it’s probably accurate to assume that’s what she expected me to do. Oh, the numerous audio recordings I have of her yelling, literally yelling, demands at me. On one or two occasions, she only stopped yelling when I firmly reminded her that I’m our daughter’s parent, too.

Should I have been crippled by sadness? Should I have smiled and said, “Thanks for taking all I hold dear”?

If I were part of the family that raised my ex-wife, I’d be deeply ashamed of how she turned out: Immature, a pathological liar, and beyond self-absorbed.

I’ve seen what happens to people who don’t get angry when they’ve been wronged. I’ve seen people just take it. I used to be one such person. It’s not beneficial. In fact, it’s destructive. In one friend’s case, he didn’t mentally recover for at least 5 years. He’s a good person who didn’t deserve what happened to him, but since he never allowed himself to be angry, he therefore never fought back. When you allow yourself to get beaten, people are even more inclined to beat you. I say this from a place of experience. If someone’s willing to beat you down in the first place … why the hell would you think accepting that would get them to stop?

I used to be weak, I used to never fight back …, I used to never get angry from being wronged. I was forced to learn this adaptation, because it just didn’t stop. Technically, it still hasn’t – people still try to screw me over, obviously– but at least I’m not afraid to fight back and I’m not afraid to admit I was stupid to have loved a shitty person.

When my daughter turns 3, I get to have her more – yes, more – than half of each week. This is a situation where I’m tempted to break my moral code. I believe kids need both parents, and that it’s moral for separated parents to split their parenting time down the middle. The right thing is for each of us to have 3.5 days weekly… But I’m torn, because I despise my ex-wife immeasurably at this point – she was so incredibly willing to ruin my life, to take my child from me, to deprive her own child of a father – that I’m tempted to say, “Fuck my code. She deserves less than half the time.” Not to mention, if the judge felt this was right, maybe I should, too?

Here’s the part where I explain how I know I will never stop despising my ex-wife… Whether or not I choose to make our parenting time an even split, the fact remains I still have to pay her “child support.” Does anyone, literally anyone, think that when my court-ordered 4-days-per-week parenting time goes into effect, that my ex-wife will reject the money? Even though she’ll be taking care of our daughter less, even though she’s never needed to pay a single penny for our daughter’s healthcare, and even though she still lives off her family … will she reject the “child support” I have to pay her by giving it back to me, so that I may better care for our child? Something she ethically should already have pledged to do?

Not a chance.

This is the kind of person she is. This is why I’m angry and will never stop being. She will always be the person who lied about me being an abusive husband. She will always be the person who lied about me stalking her. She will always be the person who lied, lied, lied, lied, lied, fucking lied. She will never apologize, she will never recognize the flaws of her actions. Decency and humility, especially humility, are beneath her.

For her to change and improve her character, she’d have to become a completely different person (as in having different DNA, a different date of birth, etc.).

So, just try to tell me I shouldn’t be angry. This is despicable. No other reaction would be appropriate. The softer you are toward shitty people, the more they shit on you. Again I remind you, I’m speaking from experience here.

My right to be angry even slightly extends farther than this. My ex-wife has tried to use the fact I resisted – the fact I said no to her bullshit and chose to put up a fight – against me. I’ve mentioned this in another post. Merely my resisting was something she tried to point to and say, “See? He’s so horrible!” Negating her lies, scorning her hypocrisy, expressing frustration when she consciously chooses to be selfish and difficult, etc. Our judge saw these things in our text exchanges, and her opinion amounted to, “It seems like he was trying to make things fair, and was angry that he was the only one trying to.” What I’m trying to say in this paragraph is: If someone openly, shamelessly, and constantly treats you like shit, you are not obligated in any way to be nice in return. You have the right to be angry in this way, too.

For the dimwitted, I probably have to make it clear that when I say ‘anger,’ all I mean is the emotion. I’m not at all endorsing unlawful behaviors with that anger. Just the anger itself.

Both I and my daughter are proof that nobody is doomed to be exactly like their parents. Nobody is a clone of either of their parents. I’m so different from my parents, I sometimes wonder if I’m actually related to them. And from what I’ve seen of my daughter, as little as she is, I wonder how it’s possible she’s related to her mother. She’s so sweet, so innocent, so generous, so affectionate, and has such a thirst for understanding things …, she actually reminds me of myself when I was little. I desperately want her to remain sweet, innocent, and generous, unlike myself.

I hope with all my being that my daughter never becomes damaged like I was, screwed over by people who should have loved her, or at the very least should have had a sense of decency, like I was. I can only do my best to protect her from such pain. I have so far protected her (mostly) from the first person who tried to deprive her of something vital to her happiness and completeness. And no, I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of that anger gave me the strength to do so, and will continue to.