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Shortly after the birth of her first child, a letter-writer who calls herself “Tantrum Daughter” lost her mother to suicide. Now, with a second child on the way, Tantrum Daughter is overcome with pain and anger. Her uncontrollable rage is most often directed at her husband: “I threaten divorce, which I do not want. I threaten suicide, which I have not thought seriously about. I say the most hurtful, shocking things, almost as if to show the world how much pain I’m in.” She worries that her anger will drive her husband away and irrevocably harm her children.
After reading Morgan Jerkins’s essay “How I Overcame My Anger as a Black Writer Online,” the Sugars enlist her help to answer Tantrum Daughter’s letter. Ms. Jerkins frequently taps her own anger in her essays on police brutality. She explains that writing on this subject took an immense toll on her, saying, “When you watch video after video of a black person getting shot by the police it does something to you, even on a spiritual level, because you start to get really angry.” The Sugars and Ms. Jerkins discuss the connection between trauma and rage, and offer Tantrum Daughter practical ways to address both.
Ms. Jerkins is a contributing editor at Catapult and is the New York Times best-selling author of the essay collection “This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female and Feminist in (White) America.” Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Atlantic, among many others.
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“The Woman Upstairs” by Claire Messud
New episodes of Dear Sugars are released weekly. Do you have a question for the Sugars? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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