Sunday, 17 February 2008

Anger Management

You will experience a wide range of emotion over the months; depression, frustration, disgust, isolation, paranoia, fear, anxiety and anger. I will tell you now that without the strength of my loving partner, I would never have survived. He has kept me on track and focused - not once has his commitment faltered. My situation has strained our relationship but together, we have shared laughter and heartache.

Coping with a false allegation of assault on your own - you can not ... you need a friend or family member to support and listen, just someone to be there.

You must fight, stay healthy and never ever give in ! Angry ? Anger is my overriding emotion - I want to hit back and hard at the injustice of what is happening - serving a 5 month sentence like this is inhuman !

I have never hated before - it takes effort to hate but I loathe and condemn those who are involved with my nightmare. All the time, I picture scenarios in my mind - meeting my head teacher in Tescos, seeing his car parked in the town ... could I really attack him or damage his car ? No ! These things only bring you down - you must behave correctly in all that you do - believe in yourself and your actions.

My partner uses his anger as a source of power - plan positive support options and follow them through ... write to MPs, LEA, DfES, Ofsted and any other agencies. I found that most letters were answered and most simply reinforced the view that I was trapped by procedures and policies - they could do nothing but I could sense in the tone of some letters their own personal disgust ... but remember, they too are trapped by their own ‘Procedural Prison’ ! Keep writing though, you never know without trying and somewhere out there you might just hit a ‘sensitive nerve’.

Anger might drive you into the arms of the press. I have consulted some of the national papers - my story is newsworthy but you must be very careful. Your motives to disclose information to the press must not be malicious - there will come a strategically advantageous time to consider publishing - but, for me, the time is not yet.

Positive ideas that worked for me :

  • There is a limit to what your partner or friends can take - journaling helps dump much of my emotion and keeps life a little more in perspective. When I felt really low, I expressed all my feelings in e-mails that I then posted off to the LEA’s HR Department - sort of a mindless distraction ... they are duty bound to respond and it provides a little satisfaction to know that someone in the ‘system’ is forced to share your suffering.

  • The LEA should have provided me with access to their counselling service - like every form of support that I was supposed to receive it never materialized but it is worth asking your LEA.

  • Blogging ... this was a relatively recent idea and it is helping me. No one should have to suffer in this way. If I can help just one person through this process then it is more than worthwhile. Considering that there are hundreds of teachers who have been falsely accused of assault, I question where are they ? ... there is so little information on the Internet. It is not easy to write, all the time I have to suppress my anger to create objective and constructive advice and comment.

The Starfish Thrower
This short story now exists in hundreds of variations such as that below, based on one originally written by Loren Eisely and first published by Readers Digest in 1991. It illustrates the same principle in 1 Cor. 4-6: you are unique, and even apparently small things you do are of eternal significance.

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean’s edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, faraway movement. I saw a boy, bending and reaching and waving his arms – dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.

As I approached, I sadly realized that he was not dancing, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night’s tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the boy the purpose of the effort. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves.” he replied. “When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea.”

I looked at the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the boy’s plan became clear to me and I pointed out, “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference.”

He paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, “I made a difference to that one.”