Friday, August 17, 2007


I'm not sure where to begin except that I was on the receiving end of someone's rage today. I'm confused.

When I was about 5, I visited my grandparents' home. My sister and I had been playing in the side yard of the house near the garden. We were running and jumping and doing what little girls do best. At some point, I decided to go inside to use the bathroom. I scrambled up the steps, and opened the screen door. An old-fashioned black and white tile kitchen floor appeared beneath my feet. On my right, I could see the thick pedastal of the oak kitchen table. What shocked me into paying attention was the arguing and yelling and swearing. I didn't know what it was about, but the argument was quickly escalating. My grandfather grabbed my grandmother's wrist in a rapid wrenching motion. Grandma swore at Grandpa. I must have gasped because the next thing I heard was my grandfather shouting at me, "You! You get outta here." It freaked me out, and I quickly retreated. I ran as fast as I could, and grabbed my little sister. We ran into the garage, and crouched down low. My sister was confused, but I didn't want to say anything. I just stared at the cement block walls of the garage, and collected myself. I recovered in a few minutes. When my mom arrived, I told her what had happened. I don't recall what she said, but I will never forget seeing unbottled rage for the first time. Ever since, I have dreamt of what I saw.

To be honest, today's run-in with rage scared the hell out of me again. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but it was enough to make me question a whole lot of the decisions I've made in my adult life. I wasn't prepared for it, and it was petrifying.

I spoke a few words before they were cut off abruptly. A fist came crashing down on the table close to me. Arms went flinging up and a foot slammed a chair backward. The chair fell over. Another person was nearly injured by the chair falling. As I sat in the chair, a pointed index finger was within a few milimeters of my nose. It was meant to intimidate me, and the person succeeded.

Although I did initially tremble with fear, my next reaction was one of preservation. To put it bluntly, I was not going to be subjected to that rage, and I removed myself from the situation. I had to protect myself.

When I was a teenager, I dated someone who had a problem with rage. At one point that person punched the slate top of a pool table in anger. His rage was never taken out on me, but I've always wondered to myself. If I had stayed with that person, would that rage ever have been redirected into the form of hurting me? I suppose I'll never know, but I do know this:

When the fuse was lit, there was no way I could calm the person down today. It literally was like TNT was about to blow, and well, all of us around the enraged person knew it was going to happen. It was glaringly obvious in demeanor, expression, and in a bright red face. One ran away to try to hide. Another shook and burst into tears. All I wanted to do was diffuse the situation. I wanted it to stop. It was terrifying me and those around me. It was not warranted. It was not deserved. It was not appropriate. It was not fair. I will never forget it.

Why can't we all just get along? Why does the stupidest thing set someone off? Why am I shaking as I write this? Why?


A Week In the Life of A Redhead said...

One word: adrenaline. There is a great site that explains your shaking at:

I am a redhead ... and I can get mad if pushed, but the whole rage thing leaves me running for cover. I do not like to be around violence - even if it is verbal.

Sounds like you could use a hot bath and a glass of wine.

Catherine, the redhead

Lauren said...

Well we all know you can't have that glass of wine...

However, I hope everything is okay big sis! Sorry I can't make it to Shanna's shower tomorrow-- I'm going to see Grandma with Dad! Want me to bring back jam and cooga?

Kristen said...

Wow! I hope you are having a better weekend than your Friday. Hugs big sister!


~Denise~ said...

Rage is a frightening emotion. Often, no words can be spoken to make it all better. It's not forgotten, and a protectiveness gets built into future situations with that person.

Whatever happened, I wish you lots of love Jen. If you need to talk, let me know.