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Volcano Child

by Linda Serrano 6 months ago in coping
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A true story of how I struggle through my anger issues

When I was a little girl, my 2nd grade teacher told my mom that I have a tantrum worse than a toddler’s. My mom - angry and embarrassed- told her that she’s going to straighten me out. Did she take me to therapy? No, but let’s just say there’s a belt with my name on it. This method worked for my older sister so it should work for me, right? Not exactly and the crazy thing is I still remember that day as if it happened yesterday. The pain I felt after the spanking and the lesson I learned: my feelings don’t matter.

That was the mantra that lives in my head rent free growing up. I learned to bottle up my emotions and to never outwardly express them in fear of getting in trouble. However, it’s not always effective. I wasn’t well equipped to deal with the minor inconveniences in life such as rejection from a crush, not being invited to a sleepover, or even not being able to play on the swings because they are all being occupied. Any minor inconvenience and I exploded into a fit of rage, sadness, and distress causing everyone around me to hide for cover. All I saw was red, therefore my mouth got reckless and I didn’t care who’s feelings I’ve hurt. After all nobody cared about mines. I would spit nasty cruel insults at people who “wronged” me and sometimes at those poor innocent bystanders until I have exhausted myself. After the fact, I have no recollection of what happened. Unfortunately those who witnessed my tantrums were left traumatized. I’ve been told that my dark brown eyes turned black when I’m mad, but who’s to say it might be an exaggeration. Heck, it could be true for all I know.

I’ve been passed around from counselor to counselor throughout my elementary and middle school years. They all gave me the same useless advice: deep breaths and count to ten. Ugh. If one more guidance counselor tell me to breathe and count to ten one more time I’m going to scream. I eventually stop going to counseling which was a mistake on my part. From then up until high school I had teachers remind me to have self control. The more they reminded me, the more I get pissed. Eventually, they backed off seeing as they have more problematic students to deal with. For once I was left to my own devices on how to deal with my tantrums. I opted for the bottling the emotions method.

This ineffective method followed me through high school where I made more enemies than friends. I’ve gotten death threats thrown at me left and right that it became a normal part of my life. My sister had random people come up to her requesting to “go get me” to the point where she blatantly told them that whatever beef they got with me is between them and me and to stop bothering her. Great. My sister was done playing superhero and I was left to my own devices.

Surprisingly, I managed to get boyfriends during my heydays of high school. Those poor boys if only they knew. Oh yeah, they did! I had to read and make them sign the terms and conditions of being my boyfriend which included my tantrums. They all said the same thing: “Yeah, that’s nothing. I can handle that.” Suffice to say they can’t handle me at my worse so they all left. Oh well.

I didn’t realized how hard it would be to contain my emotions until I got to the real world. None of the employers wanted to deal with my anger issues so I would be in and out of jobs. I didn’t bother looking for my next boyfriend, because I didn’t feel the need to waste his time. Yes, I cared about the well-being of a nonexistent man who tried to hook up with me. It sickens me even today that my anger issues are controlling my life, pulling my strings as if I’m a puppet. I don’t speak unless I’m told to. I don’t react unless I’m told to. I don’t even clap my hands unless I’m told to, but I continued to do nothing about it. Instead I let my feelings pile up inside me until they are an itch in the back of my head that I can’t scratch. God forbid my buttons get pushed and I let go a natural disaster of emotions destroying any living thing around me like a volcano.

Who would’ve thought I would compare myself to a volcano? They erupt whenever and destroy everything in its path just like I do, but they are easily forgiven. I am not. By now it’s not a surprise that I pushed a handful of people away from me including my family. Don’t ask me about friends for I don’t necessarily have any. However do ask about my current boyfriend for I don’t know why he stayed this long.

We met over a year ago and I knew right then and there he was head over heels for me. However, I didn’t know how to gently reject his advances. He’s sweet and down to earth so I knew that we’re not meant to be. Unfortunately for him at least, I finally agreed to go on a date with him and we surprisingly hit it off.

When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I naturally read him the terms and conditions including my anger issues. That poor guy accepted it; he had no idea what he gotten himself into. Fast forward today, I wonder if he regrets his decision.

Earlier last month, I made a reservation for a restaurant I’ve been dying to go to and being an early bird I want to get there before the scheduled time. My boyfriend wanted to go a tad bit later so we did. Unfortunately on our way out, his sister told him to get pizza for his neice and nephew “real quick.” So we went to the nearest Lil Ceasars for a simple large pepperoni pizza and was quoted a thirty minute wait. At that point it was ten after eight and my anxiety kicked in. We really didn’t get the pizza until a little after thirty minutes and boy was I upset. I canceled the reservation while cussing my boyfriend out. He dropped the pizza off and tried to call another restaurant to see if they were busy or not. Great news: it was steady so no reservation needed. Bad news: I was beyond livid at that point. I said a snarky comment which caused my boyfriend to call it a night as he should. Yeah my comment emasculated him, but I didn’t care at that time. I felt like our time as a couple didn’t matter to him so his feelings shouldn’t either. Naturally I went home angry and crying, not because I didn’t get to have a nice evening out but because I did it again.

There goes the magma spilling out the crater, creating lava as it lands on the ground. From there, the lava spreads destroying everything in its path. There goes the trees. There goes the houses. There goes the schools. There goes the churches. There goes my family. There goes my friends. There goes my job. There goes my boyfriend. There goes my sanity. There goes my happiness. Gone. Melted. Useless. Look at the mess I made! See, volcanoes are easily forgiven because it’s in its nature to erupt. I -being a human being- am supposed to have self control, but I don’t. Of course the hot magma that I spit out of my crater mouth would cause greater damage onto those around me, causing everyone around me to evacuate out of my life for good and all that’s left is ashes of regret. I’m not easily forgiven and I don’t expect to.

That’s why I was surprised that my boyfriend forgiven me even after I said that nasty comment to him. That incident awoken something within me. A realization if you will. He was the first person who showed me empathy and forgiveness. He said that he understood where I was coming from. He knew how I felt and that I was communicating the only way I could: through anger. I couldn’t believe it! For the first time in 24 years of being on this Earth, somebody finally heard me. I don’t think even my therapist could top anything my boyfriend said. That conversation finally open my eyes.

I realized that I can’t live like this anymore. I want to be happy and anxiety free. I don’t want to lose my man at the expense of my uncontrollable emotions. No more resenting my parents for not getting me psychological help back then. No more pushing my loved ones away. No more bottling up emotions. I learn not only that it’s okay to be upset and anxious, but that my feelings do matter. I matter. I am heard.

coping

About the author

Linda Serrano

Don’t mind me. I’m just an ambitious writer trying to write stories inspired by films, books, music, and my personal life. I’m currently working on three different novels on Wattpad as I’m typing this profile so stay tuned 😉

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