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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 25 - 2004 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Topic: Rage


Personal Reflection by Laura in California

I met my husband in November 1994 just a few months after he arrived from New York to join his uncle in starting a new business. I had recently come to California from Mexico and was heartbroken from a five-year marriage that ended when my first husband cheated on me with his assistant. At the beginning I was not physically attracted to him, but he had a sense of humor and a great heart. Right from the start, he showed so much interest in me. He wrote beautiful letters expressing his love and desire to protect me. He wanted a family and a stable life as I did. We were two people from opposite sides of the world with the same objectives, or so I thought.

In June 1995, we married. Truly it was one of the happiest days of my life. We looked forward to building our family and having children. My husband brought many things to my life, but the most important was his desire to share our faith and have his own relationship with God. He was a godly man. We prayed together and attended church on a regular basis. God blessed us immensely. Soon we bought our first home and worked hard repairing and remodeling it.

His income escalated quickly as did our quality of life. Every few years we moved to a better house. After five years of infertility, we were overjoyed to learn I was pregnant. In April 2000, we moved into a beautiful 4,300 sq. ft. home in a very exclusive neighborhood in San Juan Capistrano. I was four months pregnant at the time. We prayed fervently that God would help us make the right decision for this home because we were going to be stretching a lot financially, and we wanted to do only God's will. At the same time, my husband was struggling with the decision of becoming self-employed, but it turned out to be just too much to handle.

We moved into our new home under a great deal of financial pressure. My husband, who was a recovering alcoholic, now started drinking again. Our lives were going in different directions. I knew from a variety of clues that something was wrong. He didn't return my calls, showed no interest in me, and there was no intimacy. I felt threatened and even thought about divorce.

Our second child arrived in November 2001, and I thought this baby would help unite us more—but I was wrong. Six weeks after giving birth to my son and while still nursing him, I discovered an awful truth. While using my husband's computer one day, I found the most beautiful love letter I had ever read. At first I thought it was for me; but the further I read I realized that it was not for me, but for his female assistant.

Having been in the same situation previously, I was already suspicious that there was another woman, at least in his thoughts. The other indications I had now brought me to one excruciatingly painful conclusion: He was having an affair with his assistant. The letter showed no remorse whatsoever for his choices and certainly no concern at all for me. Although he expressed great worry about our boys, the letter was primarily all about him and his feelings. He wrote to her that she was "the most beautiful and pure thing" in his world.

If this woman, who was cheating on her husband with my husband, was the most "pure and beautiful" thing in my husband's world, what was I? What were the children? I felt betrayed then enraged. He was my husband, the love of my life, and now it was over! It felt as though he was tearing the flesh from my body. Now our dreams and our families were utterly destroyed. My entire world crashed.

On the phone, I confronted him, but he denied it. I demanded that he come home. I told him that I felt insulted and degraded by him and the woman to whom I had opened my home and given recipes, gifts, and cards at Christmas. This was a friend whom I had trusted, and now she had betrayed me. When he finally came through the door, I insulted him, spat on him, and used profanity. I broke glass, called the police, and then had him escorted out of the house that night.

That night I called his assistant's voice mail swearing and telling her to call me the next day, otherwise I would go to see her. She never called. So as soon as my nanny arrived the next morning, I went to their office. Parking two blocks away and running to get my adrenalin going, I prepared myself. The door was locked, but I kept hitting the door until an employee opened it. Heading straight to her office, I first asked her questions about what was happening. When she kept blaming my husband for pursuing her, it made me even angrier. I pulled her from her chair, attacked her, spit on her, and pushed her against a bookcase. My fist met her jaw a couple of times, and I swept everything from her desk including a glass vase that fell to the floor. Then I turned to attack her again but my husband kept trying to separate us. In my anger I was stronger than he was. I cursed him and pushed him out of the office.

When he told me the police were coming, I grabbed the woman's hair for last time and dragged her to the door. Finally, I let her go, ran to my truck, and drove immediately to his uncle's office. My hands hurt, and there were bruises all over my hands and arms. Even some of my fingers would not move and were swelling rapidly. My heart was pounding, and I was disoriented and in shock.

I learned the police were looking for me so I called my dearest friend, my boss. After I explained to him what I had done, he arranged for an attorney within 15 minutes. Since I had never had an encounter with the police—not even a parking ticket—the attorney explained to me what would happen. That afternoon the police handcuffed me right in front of our uncle's office. The officer driving the police car pulled to the side of the road and told me, "I am not supposed to do this but you seem like a nice person, and I have to tell you what this is about. When you walk in, don't talk to anybody except your attorney. Keep it to yourself. Don't stare at anybody. Act humble. No attitudes." When we arrived, they charged me with two felonies: threatening to kill the other woman and attacking her with a deadly weapon. She told the police I said I was going to kill her when I put the broken vase to her face. I never said that to her, but I understood her lies and forgave her.

At the police station, I did really well until they had me sit down next to prostitutes and drug addicts coming down from their chemical highs with disturbing reactions, convulsions, and other things I had never seen before. Suddenly my milk let down; it was time to feed my baby, and I burst into tears. The man I loved and trusted with my life had betrayed me, broken my heart, and had destroyed our entire lives. Everyone in the cell to which I was taken had a different story from homelessness to prostitution, addictions, and DUI's. I was the only one there for assault. After x-raying and fingerprinting me, they gave me medication for the pain in my engorged breasts.

Later, I was taken along with nine other women to a big, cold room with glass on the front and a lesbian officer standing behind it. I asked one of the inmates what was happening. She told me to be quiet and keep my head down. Ten of us stood in line in front of the officer while another officer gave us each a bag. The officer behind the glass then motioned us to take our clothes off one by one with shoes first, then socks, then tops, etc. We all stood there naked in front of her and once again, my milk let down again soaking my entire body. She told us to step back into the shower and wash our hair and bodies.

It was the most humiliating thing I ever experienced in my entire life. I was cold and in pain, both physical and emotional. Time moved so slowly as I glanced at the wall clock. No one had contacted me yet, and I had no idea were my children were. My biggest concern was my new baby. He was born with re-flux condition, needed medication, and feeding in a special position. I tried to call our uncle's home but there was no answer.

The officers spoke to us abusively, with disrespect, profanity and sarcasm. The floor was ice cold bare cement. There were no blankets. We had no towels to dry our hair or bodies. I fell asleep for few minutes on the floor using the shoes they provided as a pillow. Tucking my arms inside the overall uniform, I tried to warm myself. They gave us a paper bag with half a sandwich and a cookie. I hadn't eaten all day but discovered that the meat was rotten and the cookie was too hard to chew. They rotated inmates from cell to cell, all except for me. Everyone was transferred upstairs to the dorms with warm beds with covers, except for me. Never in my life have I cried as I did that day, and I was exhausted.

My bail was $5,000 and I wondered who would pay for that? How long would I stay there? Where were my children? How was I going to explain this to my family in Mexico who had no idea of what had just happened? I had so many questions in my mind, and they were driving me crazy. At 5:00 a.m. I was transferred out of the cell and told that somebody had paid my bail. After the processing and paperwork, I was released from jail at 7:00 a.m. when our uncle picked me up. My boss had paid $5,000 for my criminal attorney and had forced my husband to bail me out. My girlfriend had taken my children to her home in San Diego, and they were fine.

Although it's been difficult, I worked hard to recover. At the trial I testified, speaking only the truth. The charges were amended to misdemeanors, and I did community service in a thrift store. The owner was Christian, and we prayed before starting the day. All of the staff gained a special place in my heart. I went to an anger management class which helped me view things in a different way, and I discovered some of my faults. Finally, I took responsibility for my actions.

God's presence was evident in my life by putting all these people and opportunities around me. He was whispering in my ear saying, "I am the way." Good friends and family members encouraged me to keep going; and others, whom I never thought would, supported me. I was the first to graduate from the anger management class and had the best score. Upon completion, you are required to give a speech about what has been learned. When I spoke, everyone had tears in their eyes; some openly wept. One lady looked at me and said, "You are going to do really good." I still remember those green eyes believing in me, when I had nothing, when I was wounded and destroyed.

I accepted the fact that no matter how cruel people are, we don't have the right to take justice into our own hands. We are not God. He's is the one who will judge and assure justice. I am special to Him. I wondered, how could I do that to Him? What I was thinking? Was it really worth it? I had disappointed my Heavenly Father the same way my husband and his assistant had disappointed me. As I asked my Lord for forgiveness, I recognized that it was only God who really mattered in my life.

I paid a heavy price, but God forgave me. He still whispers in my ear. My biggest blessings are my boys, my friends, and my family in Mexico. I don't ever want to fail them again. Along the way to today, I was touched by Desiree in Oregon's story in the DivorceWise Newsletter (Issues 21-22). We became friends. God blesses me through her. Desiree reminds me who I am, prays with me and for me, and encourages me. She helped me edit this story. God didn't give up on me, but made me pleased with who I am. I am thankful for my honesty, strength, and faith. I am an honorable and godly woman and that is the difference between my former husband, his assistant, and me. I am thankful because God has worked in my heart. Now I give God all of my suffering and pain. I offer him my sleepless nights, my financial concerns, my loneliness, my humiliation and rejection. All of those things I lift up in my hands to Him as a gift and sacrifice, just as Jesus sacrificed His life for us, for our forgiveness. My heart's desire is to live the rest of my life honoring and thanking Him for His sacrifice. Now I pray to our Lord for healing and I'm looking forward to the future. I hope others reading my story learn from what I experienced.


Help for today by Kari

Our capacity for anger is biological, as natural as breathing. The Hebrew words for anger mean "to snort" or "to be hot." In the Old Testament, God expressed anger several hundred times. After coming down the mountain, Moses "waxed hot" and broke the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments when he discovered the Israelites worshiping a gold calf. Jesus got angry. In fact, the Bible never says we won't be angry. Anger is a natural response to what is unjust and untrue. Anger can also fuel our will to live. While Ephesians 4:26 tells us "Be angry, but do not sin," the wisdom books of the Bible—Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes—warn us that anger can lead to resentment, then aggression. We become enraged, not because we are evil, but because we seek vindication for the pain we didn't deserve, a divorce we never wanted, and life circumstances we would not choose. Like Laura discovered, we can become so enraged that we are driven to deeds we ordinarily wouldn't do. Rage also hurts us. When our body becomes the voice of our rage, it chews our insides—physically, mentally, emotionally.

The Anger TrapWherever you are in anger's cycle, whatever or whoever you're angry about, you can choose not to stay stuck there. Find someone to dialogue with. Browse the wisdom books of the Bible. Investigate Dr. Les Carter's new book, "The Anger Trap" at http://www.gardenglories.com/books.html under "Kari's Picks." (He's the Minirth Clinic counselor who endorsed "When He Leaves" and "Dare to Trust.")

Remember that you'll never be able to vindicate life's unfairness or validate how hard you tried to make your marriage work, but you can hold tightly to the truth of what you've been through. God is the only witness you need. In His time, not your time, He'll avenge the wrong. Someone once said that the best revenge of all is going on with your life. Start by following Jesus' example—forgive those who don't know what they did. Because, as Laura reminds us, rage exacts too high a price.

 A promise you can trust

Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes—it only makes things worse. Before long the crooks will be bankrupt; God-investors will soon own the store. The Message – Psalm 37:8

In the meantime

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