When Chronic Pain Pushes Me to Take My Anger Out on Loved Ones

I can remember being a little girl and getting yelled at by my mother for no particular reason. My mother has always been loving and kind, so for her to yell at me was a pretty big deal. My dad would always tell me, “Be patient with Mommy, she’s in a lot of pain.” As a kid, I recall that I wished she didn’t have to be in pain, but I still didn’t understand why she took that out on me.

As I got older, and developed my own pains and health issues, I always promised myself I wouldn’t take it out on those I loved. I vowed to be patient and calm, and not to snap, raise my voice or take out my frustration or exhaustion on them. As time went on, I realized this was a lot easier said than done.

Now that I’m older, and I’ve had pain for several years, I understand why my mother raised her voice. I understand why she got angry and frustrated and I don’t blame her for snapping like she did. There are times when the pain is so bad that all I want to do is scream. Sometimes the pain is so loud that it takes over and it’s nearly impossible not to snap or yell or do something just to drown it out.1 There have been several times when I’ve flat out screamed at just about every one of my loved ones when in reality they were just trying to help. But that’s the thing about pain – it changes you, and sometimes it turns you into a person you don’t recognize.

I don’t like the person I am when I take my pain out on those I love. It isn’t fair, and they deserve better. Afterward, they usually tell me it’s OK, because they know I’m in pain. But in my eyes it’s not OK – just because I am in a lot of pain doesn’t warrant me treating my loved ones terribly. This doesn’t change the fact that it happens sometimes, and I wish it didn’t, but I’m trying to be better. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve figured out, it’s that the pain doesn’t get better, so those of us who struggle with it have to try to be better ourselves. That’s what I’ve learned throughout this whole journey.

To those whom I love: I am sorry for all of the times I’ve yelled at you and shut you out and treated you terribly because of my pain. I’m trying to be better, because you deserve better. Thank you for sticking by me and putting up with me through this never-ending journey.

To those who can relate to this, and feel they sometimes do the same thing: don’t beat yourself up about it too much. You’re only human, and in reality, people snap at each other all the time for no particular reason. It’s OK that your pain makes you do lousy things sometimes – only so much of it is in your control. Let your joy be louder than the pain, and your positivity louder than your anger.

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