Agnostic Humanist In The South, Parenting

Pushing Aside The Anger

Do you have any Facebook friends who rant openly? Or maybe even ones who rant passive aggressively? Do you sometimes wish you could be like them? I do.

This is one of those days when I resent my general internet persona, and the way I use my blog and social media platforms. I have these spaces on the web where I unload about all sorts of personal issues: Pregnancy loss, Grief, Anxieties, Body Image, etc…but I won’t use this space or my space on Facebook or Twitter to mindlessly rant about something I am angry about. I see people who post passive aggressive rants, or even direct rants on Facebook, and I get really jealous some days that I can’t do the same.

Sometimes I want to use this blog to my own personal advantage as a form of cathartic therapy, unload the shit that I’m raging about inside my head and my heart, but I can’t. I won’t. I wont rant on Facebook either. I still rant on Twitter, but I feel it’s safe because containing the rants to 140 characters tends to limit the spread of any damage from the rants. But I don’t just spew anger on my blog or on Facebook, not in any real way. All of my “rants” are vanilla and tend to be more self-deprecating than anything.

I keep this trend for a few reasons.

The most important is that ranting mindlessly goes against my principle of doing anything online. Which is: There is plenty of negative crap all over the interwebs, try your best to leave enough positive to counterbalance the negative.

I don’t want to spew off a rage-filled attack on people and have that be my internet footprint. Even though I’m hurt and angry about an entire population of people in my community and I want them ALL TO KNOW HOW ANGRY THEY MAKE ME.

I want to splatter it all over Facebook. I want to write blog entries and tweets. I want to take instagram photos of me shoot my middle finger up and write across it: F*ck you!

But I don’t, because I don’t want that footprint behind me.

The second reason is that anger spewed off just for anger’s sake rarely makes any positive changes occur. And as cathartic as it might be to just say: DAMMIT! PLEASE ASK YOUR KIDS TO STOP TELLING MINE THEY’RE GOING TO HELL. I’M SICK OF MY DAUGHTER COMING HOME UPSET EVERY DAY, it’s not going to actual mandate change.

If my goal is to actually stop my daughter from being bullied (Because, let’s face it, that’s where we’re at now. Someone used the term “bullying” on instagram yesterday and I had to agree. It’s happened too often now from the same kids. My daughter has asked them to stop. She’s obviously upset. They keep doing it and it’s becoming a joke. IT IS BULLYING NOW.) then the better way is not to blast off a rant on Facebook where some of the parents of some of the kids in her class will see it. No, I need to send a calm and reasonable email to her teachers and counselors.

I did that.

I need to have long talks with her about what I believe. I need to prepare her better for battle with better responses to the things she’s being told. I need to remind her about the GOOD Christians in our life that would more likely invite her t church than condemn her to Hell. I need to hug her and tell her my own stories of religious bullying when the non-Catholic kids at my daycare used to think I was a freak for going to a school where, “They worship Mary.”

I did all of that.


But I don’t, because the optimist in me is hoping that this is just examples of kids grabbing the wrong messages. They’re excited about the scandal of Hell and excited to get to talk about it and they’re forgetting the more important lessons about Jesus and how he ministered to the non-believers. I’m choosing to believe that the parents would be upset their kids were doing this, not proud. I’m pushing the anger aside and convincing myself that, even though we are surrounded by fundamentalist Christians in our community, that none of them would actually encourage or praise this behavior.

But there’s an angry part of me that says, “You are a stupid, naive woman. There are plenty of people who would praise this behavior and they need to be yelled at.”

I guess I’m trying to calm myself this way: There are two types of parents in this situation.

1) The parents who would be upset that their kids are telling mine she’s going to Hell.
2) The parents that would be proud.

Ranting mindlessly on Facebook or on my blog is going to push the parents in category 1 away and make them very defensive. They’ll either see it first hand or it will travel the gossip chain and they’ll get really upset about the passive aggressive attacks on their children. Their hurt will be my fault and it will inspire no real conversations with their children.

And my mindless rage would just motivate the parents in category 2 to push the same message over and over. Nothing will change.

But, if I’m calm and rational and email the teachers then the parents in category 1 will get the message through the right chain (as opposed to through my angry rant on Facebook) and they can use the opportunity to talk to their child about ministry and loving and casting stones etc. Hopefully this would change the relationship with the children and they can all move past it. I’m hoping all parents in my community fall into category 1. I’m hoping they’ll teach their children the proper way to deal with non-believers so that they don’t push away potential future disciples.

And my calm and rational behavior will not inspire any change or anything in the parents in category 2. But at least I’ve not fueled any sort of twisted lesson with my angry rant.

So…I stick to controlling the anger for a more productive response. While the anger gives me temporary relief and joy, it pushes no lasting change. And it could actually damage relationships that could have been salvaged.

But it’s hard, you know? I know that if I rant on Facebook or here then so many of my friends would jump up and support me and say, “YOU SHOULD BE ANGRY! LET’S ALL BE ANGRY TOO!” and man…that would help me so much. I want my anger validated and I want an army of friends standing at my side being angry too.


Anger for anger’s sake just doesn’t serve a purpose in this situation. And my anger is fueled by the pain at seeing my daughter hurting. And that’s not rational anger. That’s Momma Bear anger. And while it’s very valid to feel it, reacting because of it, and using it as fuel, will only make me feel better in the short term. In the long term? My calm and rational emails to teachers and counselors serve me better.

Parenting is hard, yo.

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