Posts Tagged ‘anger’

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Anger Is My Ally and Having a Voice

July 15, 2010

I always used to be afraid of anger. Anger could get you in trouble. You weren’t supposed to be angry. So, if you were you darned well better hide it! Ack! So, what to do with anger?

I remember meeting with a therapist right after my separation from my then husband. I had started to see her for other things, but she switched us over to dealing with my marriage (or lack thereof) when I separated. My assignment was to write down all the things I wished I could tell him. Boy was that a tall order…but I did it.

When I brought it in to her she looked at it and then wanted me to read it. I just looked at the list and at her and could not do it. She insisted. I refused. I could not give voice to what I desperately needed to say. She would not let it go…so I got angry and threw it down on the floor. I find that choice interesting. I could have destroyed it or hidden it, but instead I threw it on the floor where I knew she could pick it up…which she did. She then started to read it again…only out loud this time. She gave her voice to what I could not give my voice to.

Listening to her read that list was incredibly hard. I don’t remember much more about that appointment, but I do know two things happened. Her saying out loud what I could not…even though he could not even hear it…was validating. I don’t know that I consciously thought of it that way at that time…but it was. To hear someone else saying what I wished I could say…was hugely validating. She did not think anything was stupid…or exaggerated…or insignificant…or anything else that some people might have tried to do with it. This woman was my voice when I did not have one and she began the process of setting my voice free. There were things on that list that I felt uncertainty or even embarrassment over. Her treating that list as she did took that away.

It was just like during another appointment (or perhaps it was later in the same appointment) when I described something he had done and she said, “So, he raped you.” I just burst into tears when she voiced those four simple words. I had always “felt” the word “rape” regarding those times (it was more than once), but I could never actually attach it. I could never out loud or consciously call it that…for a whole variety of reasons better left for another post…if I remember to do one. (OK…I just went and titled an empty draft to remind me.)

To hear someone describe what happened to me as “rape” was SO validating. I just sat there and wept. She confirmed my reality and she gave me my voice…both in the reading of that list and in calling what he did to me “rape”.

The other thing that happened was that I got in touch with a whole lot of pain and emotions that I had been stuffing through all those years of marriage. I was flooded with a world of hurt as she read everything on that list. Hearing it from her made it even more real. These were not things in my imagination or in my own head. These were real things. Real events. Real feelings.

Anger also started to rise. It had always been there in one form or another, but I always tried hard to not express it. There was one point toward the end when I actually threw some things at my ex. I felt really bad about doing it, but I was desperate to try to do something to hopefully get him to see what he was doing. I was hoping that my taking an action that was so out of character for me would shock him into actually listening to me for a change. It didn’t phase him one bit. I think I just gave him some fuel for the lies he was already telling me about me. Or…maybe it wasn’t all lies? Could it be that I was switching and did not know it? I don’t recall losing time. Any more, though, there are a lot of things I am no longer certain of. I do know that I was reacting to things he was doing…and he did not like it…nor would he acknowledge any responsibility for it. He was manipulative…very manipulative. If I tried to point out that I needed something from him in order to give him what he wanted from me I was accused of trying to blackmail him. He refused to accept the way things work between people. Sadly…everything that he was…he accused me of being.

As I look back on my life with my ex (something I try not to do any more than necessary) I think that my anger did come out in some ways. I would say that I was probably passive aggressive to some degree. I don’t remember it being a conscious thing. It wasn’t like I said to myself, “Self…if he won’t this then I will that.” Oh, no…that would have been SO wrong in my worldview at that time…and it still is. I was a good cult girl and would never consciously stoop to such manipulations. But I think it was slipping out from inside anyway. In fact, it is entirely possible that I was switching without even realizing it…that someone inside was trying to somehow protect me and make things better. But nothing ever got better. It only kept getting worse and worse. There comes a point where you can only stuff for so long before it starts coming out one way or another. One sad thing is that I know my children took some of the brunt…not that I was consciously abusive…but I was harsh at times in my perceived helplessness and frustration.

Anger can be such a powerful emotion. It can give us the energy to make changes that we really need to make. It can help to strengthen our resolve when there are tough things that need doing. It can also be scary. I was always terrified of anger…both the anger of others and of my own. I was always afraid of losing control and I was raised to always be in control. So, I continued to stuff a lot of my anger, although I think I did start expressing it more.

I wasn’t in therapy very long. When I finally got back in many years later, I was still afraid of anger. I was afraid that, if I started to let myself feel it, I would be like a volcano that kept spewing and spewing. I was afraid that I would explode and not be able to regain my illusion of having control over it.

Anger…helpful…scary…necessary…protecting…hurting…punishing. So many things can be involved with anger. I think the biggest thing I learned about anger, though, is that it is typically a cover-up emotion. Anger is not the real issue…it is whatever anger is covering up. The anger indicates some other emotion. It could be fear, for example. I am afraid, but I don’t want to admit I am afraid…do I feel anger. Fear requires acknowledgment of something and possibly having to take action. Anger can be a blind feeling of agitation that does not really require an action…other than to perhaps rage. I feel afraid of abandonment…but instead of acknowledging that and dealing with that…I cover it with anger over something completely unrelated.

Once I read about anger being a cover…I started to look deeper…to look underneath the anger to see if I could figure out what was there.  As I did that, I was able to start taking more control over my life…bit by bit…which made me feel more empowered…and less angry. Anger started to become determination…resolve…energy for the actions I would eventually need to take. Learning that about anger helped me a lot. I learned that anger is my ally. It is my indicator that something is not right…either with me…or with something happening to me or another.

I hope this made sense. I have a lot to do and wanted to get some thoughts out here. So, I have not taken much time to “polish” it up.

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What Do You Do With Anger?

April 19, 2010

I feel like saying something. I feel like wagging a finger in someone’s face. I feel like getting a bit loud. I feel like yelling. I feel like…what??? I don’t know. I don’t do anger very well. I try to be very understanding, very forgiving. I try to let go of my wants for the sake of others. We give…for their sakes…but they don’t even have a clue how much we give. And for one of them…that is OK. But the other. I need some acknowledgment. When you work so hard to present as “normal”…whatever the heck that is…it is so easy for the other one to forget who you really are…what you really are…who ALL you really are. It has been building up for some time.

So…what, exactly, DO you do with anger? With frustration? With an inability to get to what you feel you need? An inability to do what you feel you need to do? To process all the stuff you have had to put on hold for the last few years. Talk about healing interrupted! I know it is not totally interrupted, but in so many ways it HAS been.

I have grown in the sense that I have actually been holding it together through all of this. Well…I believe it is my Abba who has really been holding me together. Many times I have reached the end of my proverbial rope and it is my Abba who has kept me going…who is holding me together.

I am human. I have feelings…sometimes very conflicting feelings…depending upon the who and the what. Again…something that tends to be forgotten by the very one I most need to remember that. I am OK…but that does not mean that I do not have those feelings to battle at times. He does, too, and even from some of the same things. We each have our stuff. And then…I have stuff for more than one.

I think it is time to remind someone. I am praying about the how and the when. Do I write it?  Do I speak it? And then there is who should write it or speak it? What “voice” do I use? What will be best heard? Best received? I am not talking about manipulation here…I am talking about practicality. Know your audience. Speak accordingly.

Is it hopeless? Sometimes it feels like it is. Some times…it feels as if things will never change.  It feels as if I will always have to hide a lot of myself. I have to accept that life might just be that way. Can I do that? Can I trust enough for that?

Our living situation is going to change…most likely during this summer/fall…maybe sooner. That will bring a lot of challenges of its own…while also opening up some things for me. How will I handle that? I don’t know yet. I am trying to get prepared for both change…and for no change. I really hope that I do not have to face no change.

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Searching for Angela Shelton

August 2, 2009

I watched this amazing movie last night. It is something I have been wanting to do, but have only now been able to. My DIL sent me the link to watch it online. You can either watch it there: Snag Films Searching for Angela Shelton, or you can watch it here (if the player is working).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What can I say about this film? It intrigued me from the moment I heard of it, especially the part about how the majority of Angela Shelton’s in this country have been raped, molested or beaten. It makes me curious about all the women with my name. I wonder what I would find if I were able to do something similar.

Although it was sad to hear what some of these women have been through, it was awesome to see and hear how many of them rose above it all. What strength. What character. These women are survivors and I am honored to have gotten to see a bit of who they are.

I think that the one scene that was probably the most powerful for me was about an hour into the movie…when Angela confronts her father face to face…on Father’s Day. Sitting there and hearing his denials reminded me of my own father. Even the little bits of admissions she did get from him were more than I got from my father.

I, too, had written my father, but I was not strong enough to give him much…in writing or face to face. I don’t really know how much detail she confronted him with, but even just the bit I see in the movie is more than I was able to tell my father.

I so relate to her feelings afterward. She shared how, listening to his denials, made her want to think that it was all not true. Oh, gosh…been there, done that. For me, I think it was even harder because I had dissociated away all the memories. What was coming to the surface was buried so deeply that it made it even harder to believe when it did come back up to the surface. That made me want to question it all the more. But I knew. I knew it was true. The underlying feeling had been there since as far back as high school. The symptoms went back even farther. Oh, I knew. But telling him was a different thing.

Another factor for me was the fact that I was cult abused. There were things done to purposely bury it all. My mind was fractured incidentally and intentionally. I am still partially amnesic. I still feel the effects of the abuse…although I am so much stronger than I used to be. I am free, so far as I can tell, from my father’s control. Yet, it is difficult to imagine myself ever doing with my father what she did with hers. So…am I really free?

After she confronts him, she has an emotionally violent reaction. I so get that. I find myself fighting my own tears as she is weeping. She expresses such anger…and heart break. And everything inside me is resonating with her. She even seems to express disbelief (?) at the fact that she sat there with him. I know that, when I saw the picture of them standing together with his arm around her shoulder, I wanted to shake inside. That was so symbolic to me…and it was not a good symbolism…at least not for me.

It is a powerful movie…very cathartic…very worth watching. It is a hard watch…maybe even harder if you are a survivor. Yet, in midst of the difficulties of watching it…I saw such stories of hope and strength. I saw how Angela really seemed to make a difference in the lives of the other Angela Sheltons.

I know that I am not done with this movie. I think I will be watching again. There is so much in her reactions to the visit with her father…so much that I connect with. No…I am not done with this movie…not yet.

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What’s It All About?

October 3, 2008

I guess it’s the time of year that keeps making me struggle with sadness. I know what is going on…and what is coming up. Anyone who has been through SRA knows exactly what I am talking about.

However, I have a purpose and a calling…to love, honor and glorify my Creator. It is important that I not allow anything to interfere with that. All of my life contributes to that on some level…even my history. Without Him, I would have never survived.

I was blessed with a very real heart connection with Yeshua/Jesus at a very young age, so I had the comfort of that connection with Him through it all. I truly do not believe I would have survived it any other way. Without His help…without His presence and strength and protection…I would not be here.

Then again, I would be with Him in a far better place…which goes back to my calling and purpose. I was allowed to survive and live for a reason. Even if it is only as a testimony to the fact that He is real and got me through it…that is enough. However, I think there is more to it than that. I believe He wants me to reach out to others who have been through it…to encourage them in any way that I can.

I know there are some who would read this and get very angry, especially when I talk of protection. I understand…and I do want to address that issue…very soon. Should I forget, anyone reading this is welcome to comment on it or email me at the above address on my page to remind me.

Right now, though, I recognize that my purpose is not about me. It is about my Creator. He brought all this into existence for a reason. I am part of that reason. He wanted a people who would love Him…not by force as puppets who had no choice…but out of choice simply because of who He is.

He is the Creator. If for no other reason, He deserves to be loved and worshiped and glorified for that one. I know…again…there are some who will be angry at that, too, because they ascribe the evil and wickedness in this world to either an impotent God or an angry, unloving God. In reality, it all comes from the rebellion of humankind to live according to His ways. It was people who destroyed the perfect world He created with their rebellion.

Yet, knowing they would do that, He created us all anyway. Why? Love. The truth is, we have all messed up so badly…each of us in our own way…none of us is perfect…that we all deserve to be obliterated. He does not do that, though. Why? Love. He is giving us chance after chance to do things His way…to recognize how very broken and fallen we really are and turn to Him for help. Not help for our own purposes and heart desires, but real help…help to live according to the good ways He has laid out for us.

I am trying to find my way in all of that. How can I love Him more? How can I live my life in such a way as to glorify Him more? How can I live my life to help and love others more? See…I don’t see life as being about me…but about Him. He is the Creator…I am merely the created. Yet, being merely the created…I am also the apple of His eye and the object of His love. All who are truly His children are.

Before I became His child, I was the object of His wrath. Clearly, though, He did not want it to be so. That is why He gave us His Son Yeshua/Jesus, so that, through what He did, we could move from being objects of wrath to being objects of love…as it was in the beginning.

People don’t like the idea of an angry God. Well, I don’t know about you, but I get angry when I see evil. If I had created a good creature, placed it in a beautiful perfect place, enjoyed sweet fellowship it, laid only one rule for it, and then had it turn and rebel against me, I think I would be very sad…and very angry at the evil behind that rebellion.

I don’t see His wrath as being against me…but actually for me. He wants what is best for me…not what is evil. By rebelling, I am choosing evil. When Adam and Eve rebelled, they chose evil. Anything that goes against the loving, perfect Creator is evil. Anything that goes against one of His…goes against Him.

Yes…I see even His anger as a sign of His ultimate love.

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Losses and Grieving

August 25, 2008

The last few weeks I have been doing some grieving. I am not sure that I even recognized it consciously as that. The last week and a half, however, it has reached such a level that I can no longer deny that it is grief.

It has been slowly building and it now feels as if it is coming to a head. Or perhaps I should write that it IS at a head. My heart feels strained and the last few days have been ones of wanting to cry…a lot.

I am grieving for friends who are going through health struggles, grieving for losses in friendships, grieving for losses in things I was hoping I could do, grieving for those I love who have been hurt and betrayed by those they (and I) love, grieving over incidents past and present, etc. The list just goes on.

Sometimes, it is really hard to know what to do with all the grief. It seems like it is just one more thing on top of another. I cannot handle it all. I have to give it to the One who can…my heavenly Abba. He is helping me to get my priorities straight…and to know what to hang onto and what to let go of. He is helping me to learn how to grieve…in a healthy way.

I always struggle with letting some things out…especially anger. I am angry over some of the things that are causing me grief. This is especially the case when the things that have happened are senseless…when there is no reason they should have happened other than someone was being heartless or insensitive. Then again, how many times have I been insensitive? If I want others to be forgiving of me, I must be forgiving of them.

Sometimes, though, things happen simply out of meanness or selfishness. Those are harder for me to deal with…and, ironically, harder to express anger over. I feel so helpless sometimes when I see what happens to others…and to me…and I feel helpless to do a darn thing about it. I think helplessness, perhaps, makes me feel the angriest.

I feel so powerless to do anything to change anything. People are hurt. They even die…and I can do nothing to make it any better. That is what it feels like anyway.

I think I am rambling here, so I am going to bring this post to a close.

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More on Anger

August 13, 2008

Well…it is t day today. I spoke to him on the phone this morning. I told him that I need him to push me. I have emotions under the surface. Like a wound that is infected that we need a doctor to lance, or cut into, to release all the gunk, I need him to lance through the protective layers I have covering my anger and emotions. I really need him to push on me.

I can get in touch with some of my anger, but not when I can really let it out and process it. I think to myself…OK, I’ll do it in t. I even kind of run it through my head…how I’ll do it. Then I get to t and the anger is miles away from me. I don’t want another t appointment talking about superficial stuff. That is not to say that t has not been helpful… or that it has all been superficial. Au contraire…it HAS been helpful…but I really need to get to this stuff.

I know that he is concerned about triggering me…but then…what better place to be in if I am triggered? It is a safe place to work through that…to let myself experience it…walk through it. This is especially true during double sessions when there is more time to recupe.

I think he is, perhaps, a bit nervous about treading into territory that is unfamiliar to him. He does not typically work with survivors like myself. I got triggered once before in his office. It was the first time I was ever able to just allow it to happen in front of someone. Typically, I would do everything in my power to try and hide it.

I need that freedom. I need him to not be concerned about it happening. I don’t need him to fix it. I just need him to learn about how to help me be grounded and walk through it. I don’t think it is all that complicated. Just be there. Don’t give pat answers. Talk to me…be with me. I don’t know. I just know that I believe we can do this. I really NEED for him to do this with me. I am determined to push through and not be held back. I will keep working on freedom.

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Disappointments & Perspective

August 9, 2008

Sometimes it just feels like life dumps on you. Disappointments pile up. Lost dreams. Betrayals. Hurts. Sickness. Lost jobs. Lost friends. Feelings of abandonment. It can be really hard to keep a right perspective about things.

I guess one of those right perspectives is that everyone goes through stuff. There is nothing that I can experience that someone else…in fact many someone elses…have not also gone through. Sometimes it seems like there is an inequality about how much stuff gets dumped on us. It seems like some people get a whole lot more than others. But is that really true? I don’t know.

I do know that there can be many things that we don’t see on the outside. There can be many pains and hurts and burdens that only the person going through it really knows about.

I seriously doubt that there is anyone who has not felt the sting of being hurt by a friend…or who has not been disappointed by a family member. Who has never lost a job? Or never gotten sick? There are some who have never felt the sting of the death of a loved one…but I daresay that most of us have, especially if we are “older”. Some, sadly, have experienced that at a very young age.

I need to keep my trials in perspective. I am not being beaten…currently. I am fairly healthy…as in I have no life threatening or serious persistent health problems. I am not starving…I have food to eat. I have shelter…I am not living in a cardboard box or under an overpass…or in a refugee camp. I am not being tortured or raped for my spiritual beliefs. Hmmm…maybe I don’t have it so bad after all?

There are hurts in life. Everyone has them. I must learn to work through them and move on. I don’t know if that is more of a challenge than it is for most folks because of what I have gone through as a survivor…or not. I guess we can all struggle with letting go of things.

I know that, for me, I am challenged right now to work through something. It is one of those situations where I don’t know if I can fully delve into the deep emotions connected with this until I move away from the whole place where it happened. Right now, I have to stay connected to that place and I think it is making it harder for me to work through it.

However, I won’t give up trying. I need to work through the anger. Those deep emotions keep getting triggered inside…bringing tears to the surface. I need to work through this so that a root of bitterness does not grow. I don’t want to hate…yet I feel the anger pushing to the surface and I find myself tempted to say “I hate”. I really don’t want to go there. I want my heart to be free…not locked in a prison of hatred and bitterness.

Nope…I don’t want to go there. I must find a way to work through…and truly forgive.

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