Sleeping with the Enemy? (Why It’s Worth It.)
Sleeping with the Enemy? (Why It’s Worth It.)

Sleeping with the Enemy? (Why It’s Worth It.)

Sleeping with the Enemy? (Why It’s Worth It.)

Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?

I’m sleeping with the enemy. And there’s more than one.

Oh, I don’t know them in the biblical sense, and I haven’t seen them, as such. Then who are they?

My personal demons, that’s who.

Yes. I am in bed with my demons.

Boomer Rumour

For a very long time, I ran from them. It’s what we Baby Boomer kids were conditioned to do. And for us females, traditionally, ANGER has been the most demonised demon.

Then Helen Reddy came along and sang, ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’.

‘Roar’? Like, really?

Geez … I got slapped down for expressing righteous indignation, so hello! Roaring seemed beyond the realm of reason. Roaring would invite more of the shame attached to mouthing off, which had already uglified anger.

But we’ve been fed furphies about both anger and demons.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

The POV of anger that I grew up with: ‘An angry man is assertive; an angry woman is a bitch.’

And our modern-day definition of demon is: 1. an evil spirit; fiend. 2. an evil passion or influence. 3. a wicked or cruel person. Persistently tormenting.

Misappropriation

We’ve been sold a big fat lie and it’s cost us dearly.

Let’s first look at the definition of demon.

Somewhere along the line it became bastardised: monotheistic religion was hell-bent on purifying us, encouraging us to expunge our dark natural impulses.

But check out the etymological meaning of demon: ‘from Latin daemon ‘spirit’, from Greek daimon ‘deity, divine power; lesser god; guiding spirit, tutelary deity’.

The darkness-denying ideologists became society’s self-appointed guiding spirits, making us believe that female anger was … ‘demonic’ (in our contaminated understanding of ‘demon’).

Unvarnished Truth

But …

The raw, hot emotion of anger is pretty cool. A natural and appropriate response to an injustice, it stimulates, strengthens and motivates.

When I discovered the value of anger, I first raged on paper against its taboo-ness in my psyche. A personal journal is an intimate space where no one can shame your fury. It’s where I learnt that rage = healthy anger + shame. It’s where I can systematically unplug from the shame that bound my childhood expression of this misperceived feeling.

I dare say that for many women of my generation (and previous and subsequent ones), seeing this much-maligned warrior-emotion as a friend rather than an enemy is a work in progress. It’s safe to say, though, it’s an important bedfellow. ROAR!

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Comments

  1. What a fabulous blog, how many women and men have been brought up with these beliefs and probably still do today. How lucky are we to be living in these times where women are finally finding their voice and men, at least some, are listening. We are after all in this life together and the more teachers we have the better we travel. Keep on writing Paula

    • Thanks, Suzi. And I agree. We are lucky to be living in these times. Even so, it can be a mighty challenge to undo multi-generational imprints that don’t easily loosen their grip on our psyches! This is one endeavour where ‘united we stand’ can pay off: ‘more teachers’, as you say, but also a cheering squad!

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