Anger, for victims of abuse, is especially frightening if we have been surrounded by conflict, anger and violence as children, either directed at us personally or directed at another family member.
I have said many times that I was not only angry but underneath was a pool of rage that was building up for years….it simmered just below the surface.
Over the years the unexpressed rage slowly began to be ignited by present day anger that would surface from time to time. And I found this extremely frightening as did those who were around me.
I found that anger is especially frightening in ourselves because if we tap into pools of unresolved anger – rage – we feel out of control and unsafe.
And for me that sense of powerlessness often sent me reeling causing me to shut down emotionally, or physically my body reacted by wanting to vomit which resulted in an eating disorder for years.
It took me time to trace the roots of my outbursts of anger and rooting them in a past event empowered me to have insight and control over my anger.
Many victims of abuse may not feel or even look angry but in truth their anger is held inwards and surfaces in different ways:
Through depression, fatigue or physical ailments.
Often in fantasies and daydreams we express anger that we are too afraid to express in real life.
Sometimes we will react angrily or feel irate towards certain people even though they may have done little to harm us. This happens because someone in our present life reminds us of someone in our past with the same resulting emotions in us.
In our society it is probably accurate to say we aren’t adept at expressing anger appropriately – so angry feelings in ourselves and others can feel very unsafe.
For abuse victims especially we need to be able process our anger and rage – and there is a lot to be angry about!
This is not easy to do and it is often a lengthy process– sometimes we need another person like a counselor to help us walk through it.
Someone to help us trace the roots of our rage and process it – and to help us and give us permission to release it –freeing us to express anger which is relevant to the situation we are facing today.
The times when I experienced an angry outburst that I didn’t feel in control of, I would take some time to go off by myself and seek the Lord….as I prayed I would ask the Holy Spirit to show me what was going on….I would write down what I felt asking the Holy Spirit to show me the root of the anger in more primary painful feelings; e.g. powerlessness, rejection? Did it remind me of an earlier experience in my life? Thinking and praying these things through and then writing those down helped me to feel more in control of my feelings. It helped me learn to deal with life’s frustrations and irritations. I was able to assert myself without being aggressive. And I was able to be more loving and authentic as a person.
Things to think about:
|•||Do you think you have fully expressed the anger of your abuse?|
|•||Do you think you tap into rage from the past at times when you are angry?|
|•||Do you feel you have held your anger inward?|
|•||What do you feel when you get angry – where is it in your body?|
|•||Notice when you get extremely angry and try to trace the trigger.|
|•||What do you think is behind that trigger?|