Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What’s the statute of limitation on anger?

This is not a post on the overhyped stereotype of the Angry Black Woman. It's a tale about one angry (sort of) black woman (maybe two). Read on...

So I'm attending a Women of Faith discussion group not too long ago. The group consists of around fifteen women of all ages and colors, going through guided workshops from the book series by the same name. Now bear in mind, these are supposed to be Christian folks working on expanding their knowledge of the faith. Unfortunately in this setting, folks get bathed with the warm of acceptance and the promise of no judgment to the point where they over share. (TMI)

It was one such circumstance as we talked about small moments in time or brief encounters that changed our paths when a young lady spoke up. She spoke of having been somewhat of a wild child when she lived in California. She paused so I asked, "What part?" She replied, "Oakland." I smiled at her, "I used to live in Alameda." (They are right next to each other.) Feeling relaxed, she launched into a story about how she met a guy at a restaurant bar (she named one of favorites).

She went on to tell us how the evening progressed and shared their conversation. She described what the guy looked like and his profession. Now I was getting a little twitchy because it sure sounded like my ex she was describing. As in he's an ex now but at that time, he was most definitely a Significant Other. But, I reasoned, how many guys looked like that, sounded like that and had that particular profession? Not many but more than one or two. What were the odds? I thought to myself. Her story continued with him giving her a ride home. She described the car. Now I was REALLY interested in hearing the outcome of this story. She shared (in more detail than was necessary at a church function) the manner of foreplay they engaged in before he called a halt. Apparently he apologized, advised her against "hooking up" with strange men, wished her luck and left. And then she told us his name. Same guy. I couldn't even focus on the rest of story about how this experience turned her around. I just went through the motions until the meeting ended and bolted.

In discussing this with one of my girlfriends (who ADORED this guy) she said, "But he didn't really DO anything!" I cut my eyes at her, "You mean besides picking up women in restaurant bars, taking them home and feeling them up? I TOLD you he was a cheatin'-ass cheater!" She patted my hand, "Okay Chele but it was over five years ago. You all have been broken up for a long time. I don't think you still get to be mad about his behavior. What are you gonna do? Break up with him again?"

She had a point. This, however; did not stop me from letting the anger take me on a roller coaster ride for a while. I started thinking if he picked up one chick, he picked up five others. If he felt up one, goodness knows what he did with the others. And yes, I got angry all over again. Every negative thing I had ever assumed he'd done was suddenly real. And instead of being in the comfortable place where I stashed him as "that guy I used to date" he became the Villain (yes, with the capital "V"). It was like going through the break-up all over again. (sigh) I held myself back from angry-texting, turning him into Don'tdatehimgirl dot com and firing off a blistering two a.m email with my keyboard of FIYAH! (Yeah, the angry OneChele emails are legend). I eventually let it go... kinda, I mean I did write this post. But nicely, no?

On the flip side, I was working a contract assignment helping a company with their Human Resources. During a conference call, I overheard one of the other staff members talking about her son. Her son had an unusual name. He was named after his father and grandfather. Turns out I used to date the guy who is now her husband. Over the course of time as she and I talked, I started to put a timeline together in my head. There was a grey area of about five months where it appears he may have been "courting" the both of us at the same time… awkward. Especially when you consider that things ended so poorly between the two of us that I ended up blocking his calls and emails. So I wondered: if she found out about it- does she still have the right to be angry? Does it at all change the scope of their "married with two kids and a mortgage" relationship?

Which leads me to ask, what's the statute of limitation on anger? How long after the event that triggers your anger can you summon up that emotion, especially if you just found out about it? I'm told that at a certain point you just have to let it all go and I believe that to be true. You cannot walk around with your fist balled up mad at all the crap life has thrown at you. Again, that's easier said than done. So I'll ask you, BnB reader? What do you think?


SBChitownChick said...

Uh yeah, you still get to be pissed off about it. But then, as you say - you have to let it go. But don't take him back!!!

Anonymous said...

Dang! Ole girl look hella-mad too! I got mad just reading it...

MidwestDominicana said...

It's one thing to be angry at being cheated on, but if the relationship is must let it go. That is, unless of course you have some lingering reminder of your ex's infidelity (i.e. STD, baby, etc.)

If you continue to carry this anger around, you are setting yourself up for failure in the next relationship as well as giving your ex continued control in your life. Take the energy the anger produces and use it to reclaim your sexy! Lose a couple of inches or get that sassy new haircut. Learn a new language or make yourself the kind of girl guys just can't resist (and I mean that in a good, brushing up on your sports knowledge or perfecting your homemade apple and pear crisp recipe).

Keep in mind that he lost out on the best thing since sliced bread, you, however...dodged a bullet!

C-Hustle said...

I'm actually laughing at your ex who thought he'd skated past this indiscretion. A lesson ninjas - it always comes out.

Max Reddick said...

That's a good question. What is the statue of limitation on anger?

Certainly as things come out and other things made plain, the natural inclination is to be angry, mad as hell. But what good will the anger do?

Best thing to do is to push it to the back of your mind and go on. But make a mental note that if you ever see that #%*&%@! again, dig into that behind.

But remember to maintain the requisite level of bougie.

JaymeC said...

Agree with Max, take the moment, get mad then move on. It's all you can do.

A.Smith said...

I want us, at some point, to address what a small effin world we live in. Makes me unhappy sometimes.

In the last couple of days I sent a text message to a friend that said "There really needs to be some legal limits on how long you get to be mad at someone." She concurred.

However, there's a difference between being mad at someone for the same thing for 5 years, and getting mad 5 years later. That is to say, if you found out shortly after the indiscretion and were still mad at your ex for cheating... well, OneChele, you and I, us being the close friends we are (chuckle) would need to talk. But you getting mad upon finding out about something, no matter how long ago it happened, that's fair. As long as you're not still mad 5 years from now.

I think too often we're too quick to push our very valid emotions under the wrong because of "bad timing" when truth be told, we have just as much a right to feel what we feel whenever we feel it. At some point, though, responsible individuals handle said feelings and move on. I think we should all be careful of discouraging anyone from feeling what they feel (within a realm of reality)

OneChele said...

In response, let's see
@SBChi - not taking him back, no worries.
@Midwest - nothing lingering, thank goodness
@C-Hustle - TRUTH!
@Max - yessir, I'm keeping it bouge
@Jayme - cosign
@A.Smith - we're not close?! ;-)

True2me said...

i feel you on this..special if he was real significant..I can understand you being mad

But its only temporary...but still makes you mad

bcopher said...

I have been known to stay salty over some nonsense. However, once I realize that while I'm sitting around sulking and ticked off, the person I'm mad at isn't thinking about me, I move on.
No point in wasting all that energy over someone or something that's not worth it. I may be a big girl now but ohhhh honey, I used to get ticked!

Anonymous said...

Wow. You either date and travel in a very small cirlce, or there really is something to that six degrees of separation theory, huh?

I say in your case (and the woman's) the statute of limitations for being angry has expired.


Bailey said...

You did say you had let it go and were just sharing which I can appreciate. Sometimes you can forgive and move forward but do you ever forget? Not really.


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