Boundaries are being crossed.

Eilis Dunne
4 min readFeb 6


I’m angry. Really angry. It’s been the story of my life for the last 18 months.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

“Women aren’t supposed to be angry.” I can’t recall anyone ever telling me that, but my mom sure models it. I’ve never seen her angry. Not once, yet plenty of things have happened in her life that she could be angry about.

I remember going on a walk with her as a kid, I was maybe 9 years old. I was so angry and it made me even angrier that she wasn’t angry. I don’t remember what happened to provoke these feelings of anger but the empathy she gave me felt distant. I walked away with the impression that anger isn’t productive and that’s why she doesn’t get angry.

I learned from her: 1) anger isn’t a helpful emotion and 2) if you are angry, you sure as hell shouldn’t express it, in fact, you should stay calm.

That’s bullshit. Anger can be very productive, but it’s only been in the last one and a half years in which I’ve learned that lesson. I’m still learning it, actually.

After hearing more about my mom’s childhood, it began to make more sense to me. She was brought up in a highly restrictive and controlling environment. She and her sister weren’t allowed to do anything except fall in line with their parents’ rules.

My mom can recall never being allowed to cook in the kitchen with her mother because she never did it correctly.

Now in her life, my mom is in a relationship that would make most people angry. Instead she feels disappointment and sadness. The difficulties she experiences in her relationship make her feel the need to try harder, communicate better, and try to talk more calmly about things.

I wish she would show some anger.

But alas, that is me focusing on someone else and not myself. I can’t change her, I can only change me… even if it bugs the crap out of me.

How do I share all of the things I’m angry about? It’s been a roller coaster of a ride. How about all the times the love of my life was fishing for sex and supply on the side?

Or how about when our HR lady’s husband hit on me at a company party? Or when the CTO started asking me to hang out, despite him having a wife, three kids, and another on the way? Or when I realized my boss had touched me inappropriately on purpose. All different men. All at the same company. All in the last year. All white.

I’m also ragingly angry about the time I’ve spent in culty groups. They all promised THE WAY forward. THE WAY out of suffering. THE BEST WAY to live your life. After trying out their methods, and figuring out that the methods worked, I was like “Okay cool, give me more, I’m on board.” It’s like I have an initial barrier to entry and once I let someone or something in past the barrier, I trust them/it completely.

Well now I know that’s effed up and totally not how the world works, but for a long time I didn’t know that. I lived like it was possible to eradicate my anxiety and save the world.

A lot of people want to believe there is another way to live life, a better way. Also, a lot of people go through transitions and are vulnerable and susceptible to groups that are a little bit culty and relationships that become abusive. Just a few things I’m learning that have surprised me.

Anyway, back to anger and rage. About a year ago, there were several months that I used to scream while I drove on the highway. No one could hear me or call the cops because they were concerned. It was a safe-ish place to expel the craziness and rage inside me. It also felt like I had no choice, I had to scream, it had to come out.

I would drive and scream, drive and scream, then cry and scream some more. It felt like there was something inside me, that wasn’t me, that was trying to claw its way out. It didn’t feel like me. I didn’t feel like me.

I started to learn in a very hands on way that anger is often the way my body tells me that a boundary is being crossed. Nobody told me that when I was growing up. I don’t think many kids are told that.

The more my boundaries were mutilated, the more intense the anger became, until it was a full on rage. I think in a sadistic way my boyfriend liked when I went full on rage mode screaming about how it was fucked up that he was fucking my friend.

I didn’t recognize myself.

I had spent my twenties figuring out how to be a better version of myself. I meditated everyday, I loved yoga so much I became an instructor, I exuded peace and love and made it my mission to give people happiness throughout the day.

Then I fell for someone who was perfect for me at the start. Once I let him past my barrier, I trusted him completely. The real him started to show a little more every day until I didn’t recognize him or me. My therapist once said “there are some people who are more comfortable being slightly unhinged and because of that, they make others unhinged as well.” She also said “there are some people who enjoy knocking strong women down.”

I’m writing to try to make sense of it all and that’s how I’ll end this for now.



Eilis Dunne

An anxious girl’s mindful way through love, sex, and life.