Anger turned inward

I started with this simple post, wondering about the status of my marriage.

As you may know, things got worse, especially with regard to my three girls and how they reacted to the tension in the house. In fact, the effect on the kids at the time was considerable.

Eventually, it came to a head and she decided to move out.

After she moved out, I was careful to tell the kids that they needed to be nice to their mom. One day, she will their friend again, she will be there at their wedding, when their kids are born. They just need to get past the current problems.

I shut down their outlet for anger by doing that. I forced them to avoid and suppress their anger at their mom and her departure. I didn’t realize that at the time. It just seemed like the ‘safe’ way to protect their long-term relationship with her. There are a few other bloggers that have since commented on how one of more of their children have become estranged as a result of a divorce.

Some time ago, a friend mentioned to me a theory that “depression is anger turned inward” and I’ve been thinking about that for a while now.

Two of my girls are now clinically depressed. Only my mild-mannered and ever-sweet middle child, Brigitte, is handling things well (as far as I can tell, unless still waters run deep). She is the only one to be clear with her mother how she feels without being overly furious. She has expressed her anger clearly but not forcefully. Relevant?

Maybe Brigitte has not succumbed to some kind of depression because she’s just the serene type. Maybe it’s because she found an outlet in friends that Amélie and Charlotte did not. Maybe it’s because she didn’t let that anger turn inward.

Last night, I was discussing this issue with the Office Manager for the consulting company I work for. She and her husband divorced many years ago now. When I told her about this theory about depression, she replied with “You know what, that is absolutely right. To this day my son holds a great deal of anger towards his father. I have told him many times to express that to his father and he will feel a lot better about himself.”

It’s a puzzle I need to mull over some more. Any thoughts on this are welcome…

About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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5 Responses to Anger turned inward

  1. backonmyown says:

    I’m so sorry SD. When your children hurt, you hurt. You don’t need any psycho-babble from me. You’re doing a good job of figuring it out for yourself. I think you’re right to keep an open mind about your sweet, mild-mannered Brigitte. I, too, was a middle child and thought it was my job to keep the peace amidst familial chaos. And we had a lot of it. You sound like a wonderful father and I can see by your writing that you’re a good communicator. Communication is the most important thing for Brigitte and her sisters. And for you, too. I’m pulling for your “family of four.” Hang on.

  2. Caroline says:

    I think you’re right in the route you’re going now. Anger turned inwards does lead to depression – according to my LC.

    Thoughts with you.

  3. Online Dating Circus Expert says:

    I have studied a lot on the subject actually and the theory tends to be the backbone for the definition of depression.

    What strikes me about your post is how you handled the situation in the first place – exactly how any court would probably tell you to handle it. In dealing with my ex’s children, we were always told to shield them from the truth that their mother was a sociopath in training. But who does that help? I always felt it was the improper thing to do. But in reality, what did shielding them do? It seems that there is always one parent who is trying to shield their children from the flaws of the other parent. I am of the school that it is best for that other parent’s flaws to be part of the learning, rather than the repression.

    You did your best at the time SD. You are an incredible father!!! Your girls will get through this. Be there for them. Encourage sharing and communication and healing. Love them and love yourself 🙂

  4. sirak98 says:

    I keep on saying to Sofia Grace, who is eight ” Your Dad really does love you “.
    It would be really easy to be the evil wicked Mother who turns her against her Father- but he needs no help. She has no problem telling her Dad that she is mad or that she got a haircut because she is tired of his GF messing with her hair.
    The eighteen year old son is a lost cause. I have gone through counseling and anger managment with him. He already knows his Father well.
    I think the main thing is giving them coping tools. I want them to recognize that anger is ok- but the energy can be used in a postive direction.

  5. I am not sure how I missed this post the first time 🙂 I agree with everything you have said. My divorce was ugly…my children were 5 years old and 6 months old. It is funny how over the years (as that was 15 years ago now) the boys have gone through different feelings about their Dad. He was having an affair for a couple of years before we split, obviously I didn’t know (he worked out of town and was with one of his apprentices…nice huh?) We had three children, the oldest was my stepson who was 15 at the time. When I left town, due to my husbands control issues and blaming ME for everything I had to leave the 15 year old behind. It broke my heart, but the situation didn’t warrant any other outcome unfortunately. My youngest son was obviously not old enough to understand anything, and my oldest was mostly just confused. I tried to never talk badly about my ex in front of my children. I am not saying once and a while it didn’t happen, like I said we had a horrible divorce so inevitably they heard some stuff. Alcohol also played a huge roll with my ex, and has up until fairly recently. My children see him, but usually only once or twice a year, it has always been that way, and that has been his choice not mine.I am sad for my kids that they don’t have a strong bond with him, but thankful that they had a great step dad for the years it really mattered. In a bizarre way though, my youngest son, who I feel has been the most neglected by his father, is the most loyal to him. Kids will work through it all on their own, all you can do is steer them right and have integrity in what YOU do…you have obviously done all of that, you are a great Dad and that is all you can do my friend…xox

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