I'm super mad right now and although the thing that precipitated my absolute frustration is a totally "normal" thing to get upset about, I'm on the verge of a panic attack raging. In trying to get my head around why I would be SO mad about something that, ultimately, has resolution, it's because, frankly, it's just not fair.
Today I was involved in a car accident with an individual driving across the parking lanes of a parking lot, while I drove, properly, down the aisle. Because I was watching for cars backing out in front of me, I didn't see the driver come barreling toward me from my left, that is, until I ran directly into the passenger's side of their door. This person was in the wrong. Right? That seems fairly clear. Three other things aggravated the situation. First, it was the end of Kaia's day of celebration for her fifth birthday. We just wanted to get home, enjoy some cake and relax and we ended up stuck for over an hour. The stress wasn't welcome. Second, the driver didn't have a valid license. Last, the car and driver were uninsured. To top off the frustration, the officer couldn't ticket the driver for the driving error because we were in a private parking lot. The driver later called me to ask for my insurance information. Really.
So, yes, this is one of those things that all well-meaning people love to call "normal." You freak out about how you treat your kids? We all do that. You're normal. You don't love being a stay at home mom/work outside of the home mom? We all feel that. You're normal. Not only does this accomplish the opposite of supporting a person struggling with these questions, as it minimizes the importance placed on them, but it suggests that everyone walking around has any idea what it's like to live in my head. That was an off-topic rant, but in my defense, I admitted that I was pretty angry already.
So as I've rolled this over in my head tonight, because sadly, I can't shake it, it occurs to me that it makes me feel like a victim with no recourse. Not only has this driver forced me to pay a deductible to my insurance company under my uninsured motorists coverage to pay for the damage their actions caused, but they come after me trying to get my insurance to pay for their damages?! I have the sick feeling that a lawsuit is brewing and I hate accepting the stereotype that the kind of person that would drive like an idiot, without insurance or a license would also be the kind of person who would try to get anything from anyone they think they could....victimize.
I've worn the victim shoes before. I am not brave enough to walk through that story in this kind of public forum. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was and when I recalled it for various therapists and psychiatrists and friends, it has been. What's left behind is an ember and, given the right environment, a twinge of similar feelings, regret for my role in the matter, for not having stopped it or not having been able to, frustration at the price I paid for their action, disappointment that people can be so unfeeling, it's like a fire fed with gasoline.
I'm not really that mad about the accident. That's what insurance is for, right? And frankly, my car doesn't even really need to be fixed. But I didn't have insurance for some of the lessons that life has taught me. I wasn't prepared for the losses I've suffered at others' hands. It makes it very difficult to trust and it amazes me how quickly I can be thrust back into a state of terror at the control others have the ability to exert over my world. There are beautiful and inspiring quotes about how people only affect you in the way that you let them, by reaction, by behavior, etc. It's just not true. Sure I can control whether I'm angry or sad, but I can't undue damage, neither physical or emotional, simply by having a good attitude. I rarely feel like a victim. I'm strong and I don't care to let others impact my life, but sometimes something bigger than your inner strength can handle happens and it leaves a permanent scar. Those marks resurface now and then and this is one of those times.
Tonight is the first time I've taken a fast-acting, anti-anxiety medication since I stopped taking my daily medication. I feel weak and I feel out of control. I'm frustrated that I feel like I let someone drive me to this (ha ha, pun sort of intended) space where I'm recalling old wounds. I can accept and live with the choices I've made, but I really struggle to accept the actions of others that have changed my life so deeply that I can't just let a simple fender bender go.