Anger Management


It’s been a week here. 

Monday afternoon, while my husband and I were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for his nephrology appointment at the University of Michigan Hosptial, there was quite a bit of excitement going on at our house.

Apparently, two men drove a battered white Escort into our driveway, walked around the back of our house, bashed down the back door, came inside and walked out with our 47 inch screen television, both of our laptop computers and both of our digital cameras.  They likely would have taken more (like some of the jewelry on my dresser or the cash in my desk) had one of our  neighbors not come out onto his driveway and spotted them, at which point they jumped into the car and took off.  He called the police of course, who came forthwith.  Very soon there were evidence officers inside our house dusting for fingerprints, while patrol officers tried to track down the vehicle (of course, to no avail).

By the time we got home, it was all over but the shouting.

My shouting, that is.

Bad as it is, there is much to be thankful for in this situation.  Both the dogs were at my mother’s, so they weren’t involved or hurt in any way.  Other than the broken garage door, there was not one bit of damage to the inside of my house – as a matter of fact, everything was eerily undisturbed.  Were it not for the dusty patches were the television and computers were sitting, you would never know anyone had been inside.

But I’m shouting nevertheless.

I have to confess, I’m a bit disturbed by the depth of anger and hatred I feel right now.  Those of you who know me personally, and even those who know me only by my words, would likely describe me as a gentle soul, someone who cares about others, perhaps even someone who wouldn’t hurt a flea, as the old saying goes.

Until Monday, I would have described myself that way as well.  But right now, I’m so damn mad that I can hardly see straight.   I’m a person who has spent her whole life trying to do the right thing, working hard, living by the rules.  The nice things I have – the tv sets, the computers, the cameras – those are things I’ve worked for and earned.  And nobody – NOBODY – has the right to take those from me.  I don’t care how underpriveleged you are, I don’t care if your parents beat you or abuse you, I don’t care if you were born addicted to crack cocaine, I don’t even care if you’re homeless and hungry. 

You don’t get to break down my door and come into  my house and take my stuff.


So right now, this gentle soul who can’t bear to look when her husband kills a spider or a fly, who was sick to her stomach the one time she hit a squirrel with her car, this same person is fantasizing with great satisfaction about pointing a nine millimeter pistol at those intruders and blowing them to bits, splattering their ignorant brains all over the sidewalk.

Wow.  Scary, isn’t it?

What’s even scarier is the way that violence begets violence, the way even the best of us can be turned in an instant into someone filled with hate and anger, someone we don’t even recognize when we look in the mirror.  There is just so much injustice, and unreasonableness, and trouble in this world we live in, I marvel that any of us makes it through the day without being overcome by anger.  We go through the motions and hold all the uneasiness at bay, suppressing our emotions with platitudes, when really we’re nearly consumed with turmoil.  And yet deep inside it festers away until one day something causes it to overflow and we’re lost.

My anger may eventually fade.  I may just be in one of the “stages” crime victims inevitably travel through as they come to terms with the way they’ve been violated and the things they have lost.  Then again, it might be that an indelible mark has been left on my soul, that the gentle person I once was has been stolen away, has disappeared into the night along with my possessions.

And that would be the greatest loss of all.


17 thoughts on “Anger Management

  1. Oh Becca, what a terrible thing to happen! I feel every word with you. I think it’s the violation of my private space that would upset me the most, too. There is something sacred about our homes, they are not just physical shelters for our bodies and personal belongings but our safe havens from a world that can feel so fragile and threatening. I agree with you that we all have a dark side within us, and certain events can trigger it to the surface. But no-one can take away the essence of who you are, don’t ever believe that. I am glad you shared your experience with us and am sending good wishes your way. Kxo

    • Kerstin, how lovely to see you here 🙂 And thank you for your kind and very wise words. You’re right- my home is my sacred space, and it’s so upsetting to have that violated. You’re also right in saying that I must not let this change the essence of who I am. I’m still working on that one.

  2. Becca, I’m just sorry beyond words this has happened to you. It’s such a common occurrence here in Houston I think we tend to become just a touch blase – until it happens to us, of course.

    If there’s any good news in this, it’s that you are angry. Anger’s a perfectly reasonable response to being violated. I’d worry if you weren’t. Some of it will fade with time, and you can help yourself by letting go of it, bit by bit. Too soon for that, I suspect.

    I think about two people I know who were terribly affected by the BP oil spill. One is beginning to move on, after all these months. She still has many problems, and still becomes frustrated and angry, but it’s fading a bit because she doesn’t dwell on it. The other gal is hanging on to her anger for all she’s worth – and you can see her turning bitter and more sour every day. We all wish she’d stop making herself angry by telling the story to herself over and over, but she seems not to be able to stop. Perhaps more time will help.

    I love what Luther said about these negative emotions – “You can’t keep the birds from flying around your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.” 😉

    I’ve never been burglarized, but that’s only because when I came out and discovered the dude with the crow bar happily letting himself in through my patio door, I screamed bloody murder and sent him flying over a 5′ concrete block wall. I got mugged one night in Houston, too. Screamed then, and sent to guy off on a dead run even though he got my purse.

    I got my purse back the next day – a couple found it in their flower beds. The best part was that I had no credit cards, etc., and only 89 cents in change. He didn’t even take the change. I laughed about that for quite a while!

    • Linda, I love the Luther quote. I’m writing that down and carrying it in my wallet for a while. I’ll be shaking my head a lot in the coming days, clearing those birds out of my hair!

  3. Oh, Becca, I’m so sorry. What a terrible shock. You’re entitled to feel anything you need to, as loudly and colorfully as you’d like. My thoughts are with you. xoxo

  4. I am so sorry – so sorry! – that this happened to you. That your home was violated and broken and stolen from. Ugh. Becca, seriously – I often wonder WTF is going on in this world?

    I totally understand your anger. You, your husband, and your home were done wrong in such a way that would leave me feeling angry, frustrated, and vulnerable. I’m just so glad that you were not home, nor were your little pups – and that you are all safe.
    This has never happened to me personally. I do have a blogger friend who’s apartment was robbed and she shared about it candidly on her blog. She is very much like you – smart, sweet, and gentle.
    This one will take time, my friend. All you can do is walk through it one step and one emotion at a time. I am sending you healing thoughts. Because I do hope that down the road, this injustice will only remain a memory rather than impact the beautiful person that you are. I’m an email (or a phone call if you wish) away. xo

    • We too are so thankful the pups weren’t here, and that nothing was badly damaged. You’re right – one step at a time, one emotion at a time.
      Thanks for your support, my wise friend.

  5. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. We all need this space that we can call ours and that feels save. This intrusion breaches that confidence so i’m not surprised that it affects a person quite deeply.

    • Thanks, Goofball…my space is so important to me, and it will take some time to come to grips with this intrusion on it and to trust the world around me again.

  6. I am so sorry that you are going through this. Long after the anger disolves, I fear I’d be left with the feeling of vulnerability…the thought that this act was carefully planned, they knew you were gone, and that it could happen again. THAT is what would keep me up at night. I’ve never had this happen to me, and can’t offer any advice to shake those thoughts….but I pray that peace returns to your life.

  7. I’m so, so sorry that happened to you. But your anger is justified and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t feel the same way. In time it won’t hurt so bad but it leaves a realy bad taste in your mouth for humankind which, unfortunately, takes a long time to go away.

  8. Wow. Such wise and articulate comments. You people are amazing.
    Thanks for being so honest Becca.
    It’s a huge loss on so many levels. Loss of faith in the basic goodness of people, loss of the sanctity of your home, loss of your computers (!) That one really scares me. I can’t imagine losing my laptop and all that’s on it.
    And I agree this is a good healthy anger that will eventually burn off to leave you with the essenital core of who you are. I don’t think that good person will disappear. No fear of that.
    Keep writing. Keep talking. It’s how we gain wisdom. Thank you for sharing.
    Remember to breathe deeply and slowly. It helps calm the inner self.
    All the best,

  9. Becca,
    How horrible! It is such a trauma to have your safe zone invaded like this, and you’ve expressed it so well.

    This happened to my neighbor years ago. They were at a basketball game and we were home, but we never saw a thing. They went in through the back door, too. Like you, my friend was very gentle. She talked about the same feelings you’ve described here. With time, she moved forward, but it’s a huge violation and it does take time.

    I hope they catch the guys who did this, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

    I’m very sorry that this happened to you. I’m thinking of you and wishing you well, Becca.

  10. Becca,
    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. When something like this happens, we have so many conflicting emotions–they all seem to happen at the same time and get swirled together. Being able to write about them will help you sort them out. It takes time for emotions to settle down–and even then they will flare up when something stirs a particular memory.

    Thieves broke into my mom’s house after she died, before we had dispersed all her belongings. They were never caught. It has been more than a year, and still, when I think of particular items that were taken, those feelings swirl back to the surface. At this point in time, I feel deep sadness and I wonder “Why?” What prompts people to do these things? Why would they take things that mean nothing to them and so much to the people who owned them–not monetary value as much as emotional value. As you say, those things are MINE. So leave them alone!

    I trust that you will come through this with your essential gentle nature still in control. You won’t be exactly the same as you were before. You will be that person with this experience added in. I think you will choose to let the goodness guide you and let the anger fade.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. Pingback: What Matters Most « Becca’s Byline

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