I have always had temper. It’s part genetic from my father and my late nana, and part developed by other people’s expectations of me. A stubborn young girl with temper and annoying arguing skills was never what my parents signed up for. I would say lucky for them I had short attention span, but they always perceived me as a give-upper who simply lacked persistence! Talk about how hard it is to please parents.
My father tried to tame and train me like they do with wild horses. He would yell and scream, sometimes talk saying that I am a GIRL, and that girls should behave in a certain way. He would grind his teeth and say I should not have that temper and that I should be more submissive and perhaps say “na3am” and “7ader” more often. I always used to argue that I should only say them when I meant them, and that some people simply did not deserve to be told those words.
Exactly eight years ago I stopped being that girl. It started with a simple conversation that repeated itself in a bigger pattern for the past eight years! He said “let’s go have lunch”, I said “but I am not hungry just yet!”, he said with his once charming smile “mafeesh 7aga esmaha keda, hatakly ya3ne hatakly”, I smiled back and said “7ader”.
People I know were amazed at the transformation. The wild horse analogy was actually said by a friend who insisted that as much as I liked his “control” and willingly submitted to it, it would eventually kill my spirit once I realize I have given my freedom to the wrong person. Little did I know to believe those words! This is not regret, it’s just hindsight.
I no longer had that hot temper; I mean it was still there, only suppressed. Thing is, it was suppressed by my own will; I loved him and I learned to say “na3am” and “7ader” because it pleased him, isn’t that what “good girls” do. Little by little, I lost touch with who I was. I cancelled my own thinking and adopted his, and I silenced any inner voices and ignored all instincts willingly. Keyword here willingly.
It only made sense to believe him when he said I was inadequate, sometimes he didn’t even have to say it, all he had to do was give me the look, and I would jump through hoops to see that smile again. Not in the literal sense, because I have been told that even through it all, it always seemed like I had the stronger character! Now, I think it’s probably because he’s always been the weaker character, but he managed to suck his strength out of me.
The girl who used to get too angry to let anyone tell her what to do started containing her anger and doing as told! I learned to sit silently and watch him steal my anger and say words that would hurt me, only I never answered like I once would have. Instead, I would bite my tongue and refrain from saying something I would never be able to take back.
He taught me that! He took me from one extreme to the other; from someone who would blurt all the shit she had in mind to someone who would weigh every word before speaking it. It may seem healthy, but it’s not! Not when it’s done that way, and not when you suppress that much. My short attention didn’t let me dwell, and I wouldn’t have allowed myself to have doubts anyways.
I thought I was happy, I thought I had it all! And when his masks started falling one after the other, I was in a state of shock that my mind stopped functioning. I believed him when he blamed it all on me, I even apologized. I hate him for that. Yes, I do not hate him for the cheating or the humiliation half as much as I hate him for this. Sometimes I even hate myself for letting him do it to me. I am not sure if I can possibly forgive him or myself for that part.
When I finally saw him for who he was… (I tried but I could not find words that would describe any of my feelings… pages and pages would be written but I would still not be able to put it in words)
I thought I would never heal. I remember times when I couldn’t lift my body off the floor because I felt too weak to move a muscle. I remember times I wanted to die despite my fear of what comes next. I saw how frail I have become because of him; I could no longer relate to the girl everyone said was strong and independent! All I saw was a weak weak person who did nothing but cry out of pain, yet did not have the strength to stop her abuser from abusing her. I hate that person, I still do.
Through the past year, I have come a long way. I would say I healed, but I know better. I just know how to hide my wounds and pretend they are not there anymore, but I do know exactly where they are and sometimes I check on them hoping they wouldn’t feel as sore. As much as I seem to have talked about all of it, I don’t remember ever talking about those hidden wounds. They’re too specific and too painful that I think I will never be able to talk about them because I hid them so well I no longer remember those details as clearly, this is why they haunt me leaving me unable to speak.
I don’t know if this counts as an upside, but I think I learned how to control my temper. He taught me what every one else failed to teach me, in the cruelest way possible. It cost me a lot to learn how to think before I start yelling words I would regret later. I learned the hardest way possible that rash decisions can have drastic consequences. And now, people who have not seen me in ages can tell the difference, they see “wisdom” that did not just come with experience, but came with so much negativity!
In the past week, I have been losing my temper way too often for my recent taste. I yelled at my sister over the phone two times and hung up on her. I still think she deserved it because she knew I would get upset and perhaps counted on my newly found “wisdom” to stop me from reacting the old way. However, I surprised myself when I changed my mind about the decisions I was about to make in my anger, and instead talked to her when I saw her later like it was no bog deal.
I am proud of finally being able to behave rationally to an extent, but I am not specifically happy about how I got there. More importantly, I am not happy at all that I do more silent treatment when I still find myself upset. I learned to not expect much from people, but somehow I am no longer able of telling them what I want of them. This is something I found out today as I took my time thinking and reflecting on my so called anniversary.