Dealing with Anger – A Child’s perspective
Dealing with anger in an appropriate way was foreign to my mom. She grew up in a home filled with pain. Abuse was very prevalent.
My dad’s family was different. While I don’t know much about dad’s family, I do remember times at my grandma’s house. My grandma, my aunt, and my four uncles were very tender loving people. I loved going to grandma’s house. Despite the tenderness, I do know that my paternal grandfather was also abusive. He struggled with alcoholism which seemed to be prevalent on that side of my family.
I remember making a remark to my first-grade teacher. She was a gorgeous blonde to whom I said, in front of my mother, “My dad would like you!” For a six year old that was an innocent comment, but how would I come up with something like that? The answer is easy. I was exposed to sexual comments at home.
In those early years, the abuses at home began. My mom was an overpowering person and if things didn’t go her way, she would become angry. That anger would be taken out on the family in rough ways.
Like other young boys, I liked to do mischievous things. One day, I took some fingernail polish and painted a large smiley face on the bottom side of the toilet seat lid. As punishment, my angry mother painted my fingernails and toenails red, and took me to grandma’s house to show what a bad kid I was. She made sure that everyone could see my hands and feet. This and other humiliations were always a part of childhood and certainly very painful.
When I was young, I seemed to be very proud of my male physical makeup. I’m not sure why, but to me this was something very important. I’m only guessing, but I believe it had to do with the sexual comments I would hear at home. So I decided it would be cool to show off my private part to my sister and her friends. As punishment, I was forced to stand naked by the dining room table for quite a long time. I was humiliated. My parents considered me their “dumb kid.”
Dealing with Anger – Learning How to Control Others
My mom dealt with anger and got her way by putting people down and embarrassing them, which made her feel in control. Embarrassment was how I learned to get people to act the way I wanted them to. I began to embarrass and demean people. It would give me a sense of authority and importance. For years, it didn’t dawn on me that this was the reason fellow students would beat me up on the school grounds. I should have realized that I didn’t have the physical body to back up my sarcastic mouth. Embarrassing people became so prevalent that I became callous to other’s feelings. I didn’t seem to care how I would hurt people with demeaning comments.
There was so much pain in my life that it is only by the grace of God that I did not go on a school shooting rampage when I became older. My dad had a gun, and at one time, I thought about it being the only way to protect myself. I was angry because I was hated, rejected, and very much alone. I wanted to get even with everyone who treated me poorly. I did not realize that I was treating people poorly by demeaning them with embarrassing comments. I had learned well how to use my mouth, cursing rather than blessing people. I learned the wrong way.
Then a Christian family moved in across the street. After hearing from my neighbors the message that I needed to “get saved or go to hell,” I figured salvation was the better option. But that was about as far as my commitment went. I went to church, but I didn’t change.
Dealing with Anger – Looking for answers
At 17, I happily left home and headed off to the U.S. Air Force where I found more rejection and pain. My superiors and fellow airmen were jerks. They would refuse being around me because of my mouth. But I didn’t see it that way. I only saw it as more rejection and my loneliness grew.
During basic training and tech school, I attended church and partied with non-Christians. I was looking for acceptance and love from both the church and the world at the same time. My first permanent duty station was in Las Vegas, NV. Not a good place for a Christian young man. I was fortunate to find a good church, whose pastors were two people I came to know who exemplified God’s love and acceptance. I would not see the fullness of their impact until years later.
At age 20, I was reassigned to a Europe with the Air Force. There I became more and more interested in ministry things and began spending a lot of time with other Christians. Despite my new interest, I had not changed in my personal life. I still wanted the world. The lusts I had for it were becoming uncontrollable.
By this time of my life, my sex drive was in full force and self gratification became a daily thing for me. I would talk to older men about it and they would tell me it was fine. Yet, deep in my heart, I felt extreme guilt. The desire to quit masturbating was so strong that I even had considered suicide to keep me from sinning. I was too chicken to try that, so I asked God to kill me. He too chose not to end my life. I was to live daily with my sins of the flesh, anger, and control. Yet still my heart was drawn to ministry. How could this be? How could God want me with all my baggage? How could I become a minister and still have sin in my life?