For First Time Visitors
If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.
Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!
Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!
Understanding the Incomprehensible
Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.
Oct 2, 2008
Handling the anger, rage, and depression
An important lesson I learned in my pre-memory therapy was depression can be anger inside out. I was depressed but didn't feel angry. I didn't realize I didn't know anger except as a really scary explosion. So I tended not to allow it out (which really just made it worse). For me, an explosion was screaming and crying and possibly tossing some object I later regretted. Likely most, if not all, female survivors, fear their anger. We learn it's not okay to fight or be angry. We're supposed to be submissive and obey. Male survivors may be taught to be aggressive but may just as easily be taught to be submissive and compliant. There are so many dynamics of abuse and gender of abuser(s). What happens in the person's conscious life could go either way. The "real" person may be a very gentle and caring soul. Remembering does not change that basic nature.
Safe anger is expressing verbally with "I" statements instead of blaming words. I feel angry because... No destruction of property unless planned as part of the safe anger release. No hurting anyone. Punching pillows is always a good suggestion. I personally needed more than that. Getting a punching bag is great for feeling a good sense of resistance and it wears you out faster. Whatever you choose to do will be right for you. Just make it safe. If you've never done this before and are in therapy, it's a good place to plan what you would like to do. Some anger work can be done in the therapist's office.
It's not uncommon for survivors to be so fearful of working with any alter holding rage. The fear is that rage will take over and somehow the survivor will be lost and/or harm will be done to others. While it may not be true for all, I worked with several survivors who were extremely fearful of their rage/anger parts. When "anger" or "rage" comes out to speak to the therapist, that's an excellent sign of wanting to heal. Typically the anger parts don't like their jobs. At the very least, when anger establishes a dialog with the therapist, the part is usually surprised by the welcome and an invitation to return. I've witnessed some amazing healing scenarios of anger within another's system. Those horrid fears of the host did not come to fruition.
Often anger is lonely and sad because the others fear him or her. Acceptance and being heard go a long way. This can also be facilitated by the therapist. Anger/rage is a response to having been hurt. Anger is a protector. Huge energy goes with that part. If that can be viewed as a ball of healing energy temporarily trapped, maybe anger won't seem so powerful. Anger does need a positive safe outlet though.
It's not unusual for expressing anger to peak and turn into a really good cry. Often there is a fear that if a survivor cries, it won't stop. It may feel like a long time, but that is a huge release of tension and anger and hurt that your body needs. Thank anger after the exercise. You may find littles connected to the big scary anger which helps to embrace that part as well. Possibly this won't happen until each survivor, in healing, makes that depression/anger connection.
For people reading who are not survivors, years of abuse at the hands of one or more abusers cannot help but create overwhelming emotions and a painful healing journey.