Guilt and Being Human
When I speak of guilt I am not talking about survivor guilt, but the guilt one feels over reactions to brain injured behavior. Sometimes my wife would speak to me or treat me in a brain injured fashion with irritation and anger. Since I had done nothing the attack of course felt unwarranted, and my sense of justice kicked in. I would of course say nothing, not wanting to escalate the situation, but inside, would seeth with my own anger and stuffing the feelings did damage to me.
I knew that she wasn't doing any of this on purpose, but as a human I couldn't stop the feelings of anger from arising. I would then feel guilty and beat myself up for the angry thoughts I had. I thought of divorce, retaliation, suicide(my own) to get out of the relationship, etc... I spent alot of time hating myself for being hurt by this person who couldn't help it. How could I be so selfish? How could I be so unfeeling? How could I be so childish and be such a bad husband?
I have since come to terms with myself and the feelings. I realize that it is OK to think it. I don't act on the feelings and when it becomes to much to take I go out to the barn and take it out on a support beam, or scream into a pillow, or write nasty letters that I then burn. I realize that it is ok to feel those human feelings that respond to hurt or attack.
For a long time I tried to be a saint. Now that I got rid of the halo I'm much the better for it. Trying not to be human drove me half mad and actually fueled the feelings I had inside. Accepting the truth of one's feelings actually helps one to deal with them. It is the hidden feelings and thoughts that can cause us untold amounts of self hate, guilt, and shame. Acknowledging the anger and feelings diffuses them. It is ok to express those feelings as long as we aren't hurting someone else or the family pet. It also helps reduce the tremendous stress that a caregiver is under sometimes.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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