Imagine this: You and your spouse, whom you just married a few months ago, are washing dishes together after dinner. This is of course early on when you have no money and can't afford a dish washer, but I digress. You are having a somewhat heated discussion about something that is clearly not that big of a deal. While you are arguing, you are trying to find a spoon to dry off. However, this is a silver spoon and you have a silver sink. Once you finally grope around a find it, you are so frustrated that you end up throwing it across the room. Thus, ending the argument. (Not winning the argument, mind you, just ending it.)
Does this sound familiar at all?
Real Life Rage
Sadly, I wish I could tell you that this was a fictional story I made up to prove some point. However, it is a real life story from my own journey. You see, at this time, I had been visually impaired for just over 2 years. I was newly married, living in a place that was unfamiliar and trying to live a life as normal as possible. It was not easy to say the least.
I want to note very quickly that I did not throw the spoon at my new bride. I may have been upset, but I wasn't THAT upset.
Now, why do I bring this up? Well, I wanted to give a tangible picture of an all too familiar emotion that we feel after sight loss. The one that can creep in and ruin a very nice evening. The emotion that causes you to explode or to withdrawal depending on who you are. Of course, I'm talking about anger.
After losing our sight, it is easy to get into fights with people around us. It might be a spat with your spouse when trying to figure out transportation for the kids. It might be with a co worker when talking about the new dress code. It might just be yelling at your kids when they leave their toys out on the floor. In all these cases, we feel so angry at the person with which we are arguing. But, I don't actually think we are angry with that person. I think we are angry at sight loss.
I know it sounds weird to blame something that we can't grab onto. But, that is usually why we end up fighting with the people around us. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are lots of legitimate arguments that you have with family. But, after losing your sight, these arguments can escalate due to the “sight issues” involved.
Take the fight you end up having with your spouse about setting up transportation for the kids to get to practices. This one is pretty obvious. You are upset with the fact that you can no longer drive. Now, you have to work on finding people to take your kids from place to place. You feel very useless and like a burden on everyone else. These feelings are usually subconcious, but they tend to make their way to the surface when your spouse simply wants to figure this out. Throw in the fact that he or she is just as upset as you are that your lives have changed dramatically and you have quite a fight on your hands. Not because you are mad at each other. Simply because you are mad at sight loss.
Dealing With It
So, how do you deal with this in a practical way? Well, the first thinng is to realize it. You have to know that you are most likely not mad at the person sitting across from you. Then, you need to verbalize it. Let that person know, “I'm feeling very upset right now. I don't know if it is because of my sight loss, but I'd like to talk about it for a moment.” Try to share your feelings and see if you can get to the bottom. If it reveals that you are struggling with your current situation, then at least you can share that and not start an argument.
In reality, it is hard to determine where your angrer should be directed in the heat of the moment. That is why it is important to talk about how you are feeling about sight loss on a regular basis. That way, we issues do arise, you aren't automatically starting a fight based on your feelings that you are completely unaware of.
Facing Anger Can Equal Less Anger
Just to bring this thing back around, I was feeling upset about something in the fight I was having with my new wife. But, the reason I threw the spoon was because of shear frustration that I couldn't find it in the sink. Having to grope around is something I struggle with even today, so it is no wonder I didn't like it then. But, over the years, I have learned that my anger isn't at my wife or even at the spoon. Surprisingly enough, that has actually helped me not be quite as angry.
Learning where to direct your anger can be very helpful. At the very least, you can help cut down on some of the arguments you might be having. That is, of course, unless your spouse leaves the drawers out on your dresser. Now, that is a fight waiting to happen! haha…
Do you struggle with anger about sight loss? If you'd like some more personal support with this issue, I'd love to walk beside you. Please visit my coaching page and sign up for a session with me! I look forward to connecting!