Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Genesis of “Anger for You/Anger for Me: A Story of Codependency” – Essay and Poem

The Stress Doc traces the frustrating-thrustrating path culminating in a startling, "powerfully emotive," poem on relationship dependency-evolving towards recovery journey.

The Genesis of “Anger for You/Anger for Me:  A Story of Codependency” – Essay and Poem

It started out as a frustrating week.  Let me elaborate.  As I explained in the accompanying essay, “When One Becomes the Powers of Two:  The Art of Becoming Your Own Creative Partner,” my last poem, “The Gift of Writing,” emerged through dialogue with a previous work.  It was as if there was a confrontation between my past and present word artist selves.  Discontent motivated extracting the gems in a two-year-old “Resiliency Rap.”  Tension, extractions, and new poetic play morphed a very different and, IMHO, a more compelling poetic structure.  Here’s the link:

In the past month or so, on three different occasions I had successfully achieved poetic confrontation-transformation …Why not one more?  Alas, I wasn’t coming up with a meaningfully different format; the change seemed superficial.  I had gone to the well one time too many.

Actually, as it turned out, it was a “thrustrating” week.  Thrustration, a term coined by psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Rabkin, occurs when you are feeling stuck between thrusting ahead with direct action and frustration; you cannot quite put the creative/problem-solving puzzle pieces together.  However, if you can stay with this creative angst, the tension just might become a magnet, attracting other emotionally charged ideas or issues.

Feeling stuck, no poetic inspiration on the horizon, I diverted myself by taking notes on an amazing book, Van Gogh:  The Complete Paintings.  When I feel creatively fallow, not unlike the aforementioned artistic icon, my mood can turn a darker shade of blue.  The voice in my head:  “You are only as good as your next artistic outpouring.”  And the horizon seemed ominous.

Another voice also emerged in this dark blue haze.  This one was beginning to be fueled by some lingering anger towards my ex.  I can still gnaw on feelings regarding how our breakup went down.  Between voices, there’s not necessarily a logical connection…more psycho-logical!  Fortunately, the last two years of support group “Step” work came to the rescue.  Instead of itemizing what she did – directly or indirectly – to me…I focused more on what I had done to myself – whether by defects of commission or omission.  And with this revamped mindset, two compelling lines, posed as an interdependent (codependent may be more apt) question, all of nine words, materialized:

Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?

And I quickly realized that these lines, this psycho-existential question, was the basis of a new poem.  It would prove to be an outpouring that would reexamine our relationship using a more honest and humble lens.  More specifically, an introspective 12-step lens that revealed a series of key questions as self-reflective, therapeutic tools. At some point, an insight emerged:  the whole poem would revolve around this rhythmic couplet.  Once seeing this organizing, pivotal structure, i.e., beginning and ending alternative sections with the anger dyad, the song’s narrative fell into place.  In addition, as anger lines began to morph into a rhythmic chorus, plaintively repeated in my head and heart, the next realization:  I was creating my “country codependency” number.  (Please forgive any “cc” redundancy. 😉)

Kidding aside, it really is a pretty poignant and powerful piece.  I even read it at a recent EA (Emotions Anonymous) group meeting.  A number of people requested copies.  Would love to hear your take.  Keep on steppin.  MG

P.S.  Shortly after posting on, I received this encouraging note:

Wow! Great piece here!

This grabs the reader with both hands and pleads its case. Powerfully emotive and I love the repeated phrases, the poet questioning himself almost fearing the answers ... but the truth need not lie.

Great writing! You need enter this or another in the new poet's contest.

Looking forward to reading more from you...

site greeter

Inspired me.

Anger for You/Anger for Me:
A Story of Codependency

Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?
Can a me without you
Still have identity?
Was a drifting soul trapped
In the soft lap of dependency?
Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?

So tight the embrace…
False security.
Closing my eyes
To the wounds still in me.
Was I so lonely
Unable to see?
Small talk, surface life
Numbs recovery.

Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?
Why did I choke on
My integrity?
Was I so desperate
For heart surgery?
Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?

That hungry craving
For intimacy:
The next holy grail
Or more sex fantasy?
When will I learn
What it means just to be
Safe in my own skin
Not giving in to idolatry?

Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?
Why did you run
From honesty?
Too dark night soul blue?
A man lost at sea?
Is my anger for you
Really anger for me?

Should a Wandering Jew
Forsake his artistry?
No longer asking:
“Where’s my place to be?”
Why do I still doubt
That I’m love worthy?
Can it be enough
Just being old me?

No more anger for you
No more anger for me
In new deep growth forest
Kindred spirits round me
Hold up a mirror…
Even I can agree:
In the big picture
You are a small tree.

No more anger for you
No more anger for me
It really is simple
Plain as can be
One day I’ll look back
And laugh till I’m free
No more anger for you
No more anger for me!

© Mark Gorkin  2017
Shrink Rap ™ Productions

Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker -- on stress & burnout, performance-leadership & captivating communication -- as well as recognized authour, and "Psychohumorist" ™.  Mark is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative and is a current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters. A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army. Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services. The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High-Tech World. Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). For more info, email:

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