Symbol of Rage

You’d be surprised at the physical force a bipolar episode entails.  It’s like watching a nuclear bomb explode and level everything within its radius.  One specific time my husband went into the garage where the corvette was and wildly swung a small metal post like a bat in every direction until it bent in two and wasn’t useful anymore.  He destroyed everything it touched, even denting the steel shelves that lined the walls as I stupidly stood in front of the car to protect it. Papers were scattered along with broken bits of things everywhere. That was one of the bigger messes I cleaned up.  The garage door happened to be open that day and our neighbors witnessed that one. I’m pretty sure he scared the crap out of them. You become eerily calm while it’s happening, your body and mind moving into a trance like state in preparation.  If you just let him get it out, it will end eventually.  The tears come later, as you survey the damage each time and clean up the tiny pieces and remnants of now unrecognizable things. With the practiced aim and force of a professional baseball pitcher, he once threw a cordless plastic phone at the wall so hard that pieces of it were scattered in every corner of the living room. It took me a few days to realize it was the home phone because I couldn’t tell from the hole left behind or the pieces I found what it was he threw. During his rages, he focuses on me and says the most demeaning, ugly, hurtful things. His whole body changes into something unimaginable. He looks like a demon with a contorted red face and black holes for eyes. He spits saliva as he screams.  You know neighbors down the street can hear every word. You are so humiliated and embarrassed.  I know the question in everyone’s mind.  Why stay? It’s difficult for someone to understand unless you have been in the situation. He needs that gratification of a witness and the focus of his rage to release it. I am that symbol that represents his hatred and anger..  If I just endure , it is over sooner and the damage is controlled I guess. In a sense, the harm to me is worse, but I can make sure he doesn’t hurt himself or someone else.  If I leave, I literally don’t know if the house will be standing when I get back or if there will be anything in it left untouched.  I have come home to the fence being ripped down and the yard being completely dug up, to drawers overturned and things toppled in the garage. The not knowing what he is doing is more dangerous than being there to redirect and have a tiny bit of control in the damage. He feeds off of your reaction. He wants you to run away or flinch in the face of his fury. He feeds off your fear so you have to be blank and fearless.  To adapt and survive, I learned no reaction in a strange way is the safest action.  You don’t respond to the vile words or taunts.  You just apologize over and over. And eventually, it ends……until the next time.

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