A Dragon in the Cellar

Remember my  Haunted Mind? Some of the rooms hold anger from the past.   Anger is a very difficult emotion for me to allow myself to feel, and when I do feel it it is hard to figure out what to do with it.  It is like having a Dragon in the Cellar.  What to do with that thing?  It’s too big to come up the stairs.  It breathes fire, so you can’t go down there.  You fear his fire breathing may burn down the house so you throw meat down the stairs in a effort to appease him…but still there is a dragon in the cellar.

Photo by Bernard Goldbach  aka Topgold on Flickr

My anger dragon disrupts my life in different ways.  He is sleeping right now, but here is something I wrote one day when he was snarling and pacing…

Today I woke up in an angry room. I don’t know why. Yesterday was such a nice day. My husband and I went to the Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. I found it inspiring. I came home happy. I was happy to return to my cute little house, my darling children and my fuzzy puppy. Ah, life was good.

This morning I woke up and how can I explain? Everything is different. The children are getting on my last nerve. It does not help that one of them is sick and whiny. I want to give him the TLC that I would want if I were sick. I try, but the whining makes me want to send him to his room…ALONE! Of course, feeling guilty about this (even though I didn’t send him to domestic exile) makes me even grumpier. The house looks like a wreak. How did it get this way? Ahhh! I go into the kitchen, the dishes were not done last night. That is one of the kid’s jobs…said kid is gone for the day…more annoyance. Of course, that is my fault too, I let him go after all. I am slipping, whatever happened to “firm, fair and consistent”? How can I be firm, fair and consistent when I do not even know myself from one day to the next?

I tell myself, a “normal” mom would use this energy created by the anger to clean the house instead of just moping about it. So I step into the kitchen. I tell myself, I can do the dishes myself, and deal with the teen-dishwasher in some other way…there are always chores to be done. But being in the kitchen makes me so uncomfortable. It feels like 5 fire alarms are going off in my head screaming at me, “danger! get out! danger! danger!” I look around, nothing to be afraid of, but the anxiety builds exponentially until I obey and leave the kitchen. Two of my worst nightmares had “kitchen scenes”. I don’t know what my subconscious is trying to tell me about the kitchen, but whatever it is I’m not sure I want to know. I will clean some other room, and bribe another teenager to do the kitchen for me. I go into another room. Better, but still the anxiety is building. I just want to get out of the house completely. I snap at the children and then apologize.  I think I am going to implode.

Sometimes I really hate my life…no, not my life…me. I hate me. I hate what the smoke and ashes of the abuse have done to me and what was a good life. I wonder if I will ever heal. If I will ever be truly happy again. Then I remember that yesterday was such a lovely day. I can’t feel those feelings now, but I remember that some part of me felt them. The hope that I could feel that way again seems like a life preserver…it is a ways away from me…but I start swimming for it.

Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow I will feel better. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up in a happy room. Maybe someday I will heal. Until then, I will stay away from the kitchen.

…..Still there is a dragon in the cellar. . .
Photo attribution:  Thanks to Bernard Goldbach for this marvelous photo.  You can see more of his photos at Flickr  Topgold


  1. It's OK to be angry. In fact it can be a really good thing to find that anger. I also often feel trapped by my house, and need to get out and about. take care

  2. I don't know where I found the courage, but tonight I read all your blogs. I knew it would be painful and open wounds that have never healed. I felt joy in your discoveries and epiphanies. I also reluctantly traveled the road of pain you documented so brilliantly with inspired analogies, so that I would have the insight and thus the privilege to be a witness to your pain. Privilege, you ask? I want to gain empathy and understand the pain of child sexual abuse and the quest for healing. Then, perhaps, somehow, through your journey, I might understand why my daughter along the way chose the path of suicide? I'm beginning to better understand her pain, fear, anxiety, depression, and the courage of her journey toward healing and recovery (until the jagged-edged holes in her soul tore apart). I see evidence in your blogs that the "holes in the belly of your soul" are healing! I admire your faith; I envy the strength of your courage and the power of your pen to help others who are seeking peace and rest from trauma. Thank you for sharing the most difficult work of this life. It's an honorable journey.

  3. Ellen, thank you. I need to hear that it is ok to be angry…it is such a confusing emotion!Alice, you are wonderful. Thank you for your beautiful comment, you made me cry!

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