Learning to Let Go

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.  -Buddha

Having a baby is hard enough, but throw in some postpartum depression, and your world gets turned upside down.  The first year was the roughest for me for many reasons, the least of which is the resentment I felt towards people who did not deserve it.  A large majority of the time, the resentment was ill-founded.  I had no real reason to be angry and feel this way towards my daughter or my husband, but I did.

The most obvious feelings of resentment was towards my husband.  I say obvious because it felt real, and happened often, even though there was no reason for it.  He did his fair share of the parental responsibilities.  He got up with her for feedings, he helped with the housework, and he was just a great father and husband.  I felt guilty when he got up in the middle of the night to be with kiddo because he had to get up early for work.  I did not.  I had the option of napping when kiddo did, so it only seemed right that I should do the most work when it came to the home and kiddo.

That was when I felt the resentment, when I was the one doing everything.  The reason I was doing everything: I didn’t want help.  I got up in the middle of the night to feed kiddo, or be with her when she was sick, because I felt guilty when he did it because he had to go to work in the morning.  He was training other Marines to work in his job, so he had to be awake and alert.  However, when I was up with her, all I could think of was how mad I was at him for not doing it.  It wasn’t for a lack of trying on his part, he was always trying to make me stay in bed and sleep so he could go get her, but I always ended up going because of the idea that it was MY job.  The resentment though was there, even though it was my choice to be the one who did everything myself.

That resentment often turned into anger, which would get directed at whomever was near.  That usually ended up being kiddo.  I only raised my voice at her once during those sleepless nights, which was completely uncalled for, but it happened.  I am sure our nights were longer than they might have been under normal conditions because I am sure I had a major negative energy surrounding me.  I am positive that negative energy is what fueled her crying.

On those long nights, or any other time I felt like I was doing everything myself (which I was, because it was my job!), I felt so angry with my husband.  I felt angry with my daughter.  I even felt angry with myself.  There was so much anger and resentment coursing through me, I am not sure how I survived.  Actually, I am not sure how our marriage survived. I would snap at him for trying to help, for not trying to help, for anything and everything really.  Even on nights where he was so exhausted from work, and didn’t hear her crying, I would get upset and angry that he did not hear her, like he did it on purpose to spite me.

I still get those feelings from time to time.  Last night is a good example.  He got home last from a mess night he had for work, so he was out like a light as soon as his head hit the pillow.  Kiddo woke up because she had leaked out her nighttime diaper, and her pajamas and sheets were wet.  I got up to change her and the bed, and started to feel that resentment rise up.  Why wasn’t he in here helping me?  Why was I the only one who had to be awake at two in the morning?  As soon as that feeling started to boil, I stopped myself.  I even laughed.  Was I really going to feel that way over this?  No.  I am done with that.

My husband is awesome, and is always helping.  He has been my rock, along with my daughter, throughout this whole ordeal.  We had some rough patches, and I was worried about our marriage at one point, but things are great again.  I have no reason to feel resentment towards someone who does his best to be helpful in everything.  He not only works hard at work, but he does a lot for us here at home too.  So what if I get up with her in the middle of the night.  He almost always gets up with her in the morning and let’s me sleep in.  I think it’s a fair trade, especially since kiddo is an early riser.

In order for me to heal, and be a better me, I have to learn to let go of the silly things.  I have to let go of the resentment that is ill-founded.  I have to let people help me when I most need it.  I am slowly accepting this, and I actually feel better because of it.  Resentment made me an ugly, hateful person.  Postpartum depression did too.  That is not who I am, so I am moving on, and letting go.

 

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14 thoughts on “Learning to Let Go

  1. Thank you for this post. It took me a couple of years to realize how angry I was at my husband for our two unplanned children/pregnancies even though he clearly could not have spawed these fabulous children without me being a participant throughout the entire process from conception to birth. I’m still angry and it’s compounded by my work where I travel a lot and he needs to take on often more than half the parenting load. It leaves me feeling insufficient and cheated of motherhood. He’s a good man, a good father – I have other problems relating to him any more, now in our 16th year of being together and at time our marriage feels to falter. There are enough challenges already – letting go, as you recommend, needs to be a big piece of my efforts to help us succeed if we’re going to make the next few years work. Thanks for writing.

    • You’re very welcome. There is no need to hold on to resentment, especially when there is nothing supporting it. I feel much more free now. If something bothers me, I just say it now.

  2. You write very clearly, which is good. I went through some trauma a while back, and found that afterwards for quite some time I would just feel angry, and emotion I wasn’t very comfortable with, being I had always been a very mellow person. I did some research about anger in hopes to understand it a bit better, as I know it is one of the most feared and uncomfortable emotions. What I found was that it often had to do with either fear, or unmet needs. I found some interesting things that indicated if I figured out, or tried to figure out what it was I needed, it would help the anger to pass, and often it did. The anger I was feeling was most likely a combination of fear releasing from the trauma, and the need for love in an emotionally difficult period of my life. The trauma definitely left me quite emotionally wounded, and love was the only thing that seemed to soothe it. Love on demand, however, is not so convenient a thing, lol. Especially when you’re single which I was at the time. But whenever I felt angry I would think to myself, what do I need? It could have been a hug, a sandwich, a nap, but just in asking that, and in sometimes figuring out what I needed, it relieved the anger. Anger is a misunderstood, and generally considered unpleasant emotion. But in reality, in my opinion anyway, every emotion deserves to be felt, and equally dealt with, or focused upon. Anger is a very loud emotion, which has made it a very undesirable unpleasant one socially speaking. But in my experience, Anger is truly often Fear, and/or simply Need. It is not the fiery beast it appears to be, not if addressed and cared for. And what is resentment really, but misunderstood anger. Feel what you need to feel, but take the time to understand it, and separate it like stones in your mind/heart/mind. Do I need this, yeah. Do I need this, nah, and toss it. Anger is Emotional Step Child, and should not be neglected. Lol Nuff said, glad you and your Husband are doing well, your baby too.

    DarkJade-

    • You are so right! With depression though, anger just kind of comes out of nowhere. I have felt it, now I am learning to deal. You are spot on about it though. Very well said.

  3. Depression is a bit different. Depression is more like compressed anger, in my experience that is. I haven’t had to deal with much depression, but my dad and one of my sister’s have (Though in my sister’s case it seems to be more of a self loathing). In my dad’s case, I’d say his depression is very old anger from when he was a kid, that basically never got very addressed, and so it just kind of seeps in once in a while. If at all possible, it’s better to deal with this old anger as early on as possible, and when I say deal with it what I mean is try to identify where it came from, identifying things is half the battle. Then at least when the anger comes up you can say, oh, well that just “______”, and often it goes away quicker. Not always, nothing in life is perfect, but I do believe old anger should be identified, and felt, in a safe environment. If you just feel things and never identify them, chances are it will just keep happening, and hitting people around you. Sounds like you’ve already been dealing with that, and working on it. But like I say, actually identifying where these old feeling stem from seems to potentially actually begin to let them go away, reduce and/or heal. In my experience that is.

    All the best

    DarkJade-

  4. I have never dealt with postpartum depression but I am an expert on resentment, bitterness, and anger making you not such a friendly person. I try to completely block those negative feelings out now. It makes for a happier life for you and those around you.

  5. I hate when I’m upset and I know that it’s completely irrational, but I can’t help it. Good for you for stopping your negative feelings in their tracks! I’m impressed 🙂

  6. I think every mother feels this way at one time or another. I was a SAHM for 11 years and felt like I had all the responsibility. I resented my husband for having a job when I didn’t. My resentment made for a miserable married life. I still struggle with it. I’m glad you’re learning to let it go.

    Very honest post.

  7. This is an excellent introspective article on coming to grips with one’s own emotional energies. You are trying to be fair and yet also trying to understand what has happened and is happening with yourself and your life. Kudos for being capable of doing this. Something I believe Mahatma Ghandi also tried to teach us.
    I work with people, every single day, that have problems with coping. Most of which are due to self-absorption, obsessive compulsion and immaturity. Your article should be a must read for everyone. However, there are not very many who would try to or will understand it.

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