Sep
10

Anger Problems on the Emotional Healing Journey

By

anger issuesI had a tough time with anger. I had problems with feeling anger. I didn’t think I felt it. I denied to myself that I ever had it. I didn’t want to feel it.  I was proud that I wasn’t an angry person. 

And the truth is that I totally misunderstood anger in the first place. I had a different kind of anger problem.

I related anger to self pity. I thought that if I was angry with someone who treated me badly that I was just feeling sorry for myself. I detested self pity; I had been taught that self pity was the “worst” emotion, so I certainly was not going to engage in it. I believed that anger WAS a form of self pity; therefore I didn’t allow myself to feel anger.

Because of the way that I had been raised, my belief system was all wrong. I had love mixed up with obligation. I had respect mixed up with ownership and compliance and the list goes on from there. In the same way that I had the definitions of love and respect mixed up, I also misunderstood my own emotions, labelled them as “other emotions” and dismissed the real emotion.  That was part of how I survived. 

Labelling certain emotions as other emotions was how I dealt with many emotions, not just the emotion of anger. Like my definitions of words like “love”, “respect” and “relationship” I misunderstood emotions like anger and self pity and traded them for other emotions so that I could shut them down.   

Anger would not have been safe for me to feel or express and in my mind self pity was pathetic, so I could deny anger, quickly identify self pity, jump straight to “oh Darlene you are pathetic, get off the pity pot” and that was how I effectively avoided the whole anger problem thing. 

I could get angry for other people. That was okay. I sometimes briefly wondered WHY I could feel anger in relation to someone else’s life, and why that was different, but I didn’t think very hard about it. If someone told me they had been sexually abused, or beaten or sold for adult amusement, I could feel all the appropriate anger; I could feel hatred for the people who had abused them and disgust towards the people who had let them down; I could defend them and tell them that what happened to THEM was wrong. I knew it was wrong and I could passionately express my feelings to them as long as it was about them. But when I looked at my own life, I disconnected because anger (like so many other emotions) was not safe for me to feel in relation to myself. Today I realize that getting angry for others didn’t put me in danger, but when it came to my own life I had to stay in “survivor mode”.  Anger was too dangerous.  

Think about it. What would have happened to me as a child if I had screamed or expressed in any way that I was ANGRY because someone was sexually abusing me? How would it have gone over if I expressed my anger that my mother hit me? She was already in a bad mood. I was already getting hit. What would have happened to me if I had screamed my anger at the teacher who was emotionally abusing me when I was ten years old? I don’t think it would have gone well for me. I had been taught to submit. I had been taught by the events in my life that I had no rights. So I suppressed it. I stuffed it down and I never felt it, never faced it. Anger was not something that I was allowed.  And I learned to deny anger the same way that I learned to deny all the rest of the emotions and feelings and human rights that I had.  

Since I had been taught that self pity was pathetic, and I believed that lie with all my heart, it is easy to understand that if I could convince myself that anger was self pity, I could move off it so much quicker.

I didn’t think I had a RIGHT to be ANGRY.  When I was a child I didn’t have a right to much! I was constantly told how to act, how to feel, how to dress, to smile, to say hello, told that I was NOT sad, that if I cried that I would be given something to cry about, accused of being an exaggerator and overly dramatic. I had no reason to think of myself as an individual with valid thoughts OR emotions. Why would that change just because I got older? The beliefs that cement themselves within our own minds do not necessarily change because we grow up.

When I finally realized that what happened to me as a child actually happened to me, I also began to realize that it was really wrong. As I began to understand the lifelong effect that it had on me, I began to feel ripped off. I began to realize how much of my life that I had lost. I began to realize that I was not loved or protected and that I had been objectified as a person. I realized that I had been mistreated and devalued by people who never thought about me long enough to realize that I not only a person, but a CHILD! And then I began to get angry.  I began to feel anger.  And at first it scared me. I had to give myself permission to feel it. I didn’t like it. I felt like something BAD was going to happen if I allowed it. I felt wrong and I felt dirty. But I knew that it was time for me to face anger. It was part of the self validation that I always talk about.

I have a right to be angry. Anger is not evil. My anger is justifiable. And in my mind even just writing that I want to duck! I was taught as an adult that Anger is NEVER justifiable. I had that all mixed up with the “lack of self control” For me, skipping the anger was the same as how I tried to skip straight to positive affirmations before I did the work involved in order to facilitate my emotional healing. I owe my emotional healing and personal recovery to the efforts that I made not to “skip those steps” anymore.

Anger is healing. Until I acknowledged my anger and until I felt it and affirmed my right to it, I could not let go of the past. 

Please share your thoughts about Anger.

Lighting the Path on the Journey to Freedom;

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Freedom & Wholeness

111 Comments

1

I can identify with this so very much. When I became a teenager and was removed from my abuser, that was only the beginning of many years spent in anger. I denied it, I pretended it didn’t exist, but it lived so closely beneath my skin. I lashed out a number of times, not at those that hurt me but at myself. My anger nearly destroyed me in the six attempts I made in taking my life. I am thankful that I never succeeded. In these later years I have spent time being angry at those who have hurt me. I have feared that anger, worried I would kill the offender. The last year was spent in anger for the wrongs that were done to me by my last employer and my current husband. However, for the first time that anger ran its course. My level of functioning was rather low at the time and I was in the hospital twice. It passed though. I did face it and for once was mad at the people who hurt me and not at myself. I have decided that in my career it was time for a change and with my husband, apologies and forgiveness helped us mend.
I cant’ say that anger is not scary for me now. I am thankful that as for now, there is nothing to be angry about. This has also helped my physical health tremendously.
Thank-you for bringing up a difficult subject and for sharing your struggles. I always like reading your posts for your shear honesty and direct approach have a very keen way of helping us see those things in ourselves and others.
I think it also brings up an important point that when a person is angry with us for things we have done to them, we should not invalidate that person for their feelings. Nor, should we allow another to invalidate us when we express our anger towards them, but if they do then we can still have a ‘reality check’ in that anger is a normal response to wrongs done towards us. It is a part of signaling a problem and the first step in healing.

2

HI Darlene.. I don’t know how to describe my feelings about anger..since in the faith I was brought up in it was seen as one of the 7 deadly sins.. SO my reason for not allowing myself to feel anger or to show it or express it was because anger had to be confessed..

The seven deadly sins: Pride, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth

as long as I can remember where ever i was .. anger was preached as a deadly sin. .some people call it wrath. .but anger is seen as evil not pleasing to God etc..

So again ..I was taught something that really should not have been taught.. and I taught it too..it’s what we were taught!..and what we passed on . .so you have a lot of Catholics suppressing anger and confessing any failure to suppress .. control the anger.

Now i fight with all the emotions that are rising up at the realization how much i have been wronged in so many ways and feel that some emotions are anger.. ..hurt.. upset.. I simply cry. .many times when I am angry i cry. as we were never allowed to say or express anger.. I turned all my hurt inside.. or if someone was not around .. I would talk it out loud that I was angry.

I remember going to confession.. telling the priest.. when i was 8 or 9 that I took my ink pen and popped a boys ball . because he upset me. I told the priest I was angry. and the priest told me. “no you werent you didnt mean to do that” and I said .. I most certainly did. .. He had pushed me down and called me all kinds of bad names. I meant it .. I didnt want to hurt him so i hurt his ball. . The priest took the confessional screen down..looked at me and put the screen back up.. I guess he didnt expect anyone to admit they really were bad.. or they really meant to do bad. .but that was a time I remember getting mad and confessing it. because I hurt the boy’s ball and I was sad afterwards.. I got a good penance and got a beating at home..

You were not allowed to be angry ..and definitely popping a ball was anger that was not handleed in the right way but I had bloody knees and hurt feelings. .and i knew it was wrong to hurt people but thought it wasn’t wrong to hurt the ball..what a child !! .

I know i had the emotion .but was never ever allow to show or express them.. so today is someone asks me if I am angry .. I immediately say “I don’t know’ . Deep down i mean to say. “i dont know if i should tell you. .am afraid to say how i feel. I don’t want to be sinning”

I don’t know what other religions teach about anger. but i can see where anger that gets out of hand can be dangerous and deadly. People who are angry do bad things.. People who are angry beat children. .they ruin people’s reputation. .they create stories ..

So I fight with my emotions. I don’t want to have an emotion that will cause any harm to others. .I said it before. I rather harm myself keeping in my anger than hurt someone else by letting my anger out.

I know I am totally mixed up and in need of much guidance when it comes to handling my emotions..

Joy

reference:

catholic online. (n.d.) The Seven Deadly Sins. Taken from. http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/sin.php

williams. C. (2006 July 7) The Seven Deadly Sins. Taken from. http://tiunet.tiu.edu/faculty/cwilliam/seven.htm

3

I, too, have never had any difficultly sticking up for someone else and defending THEM, but was a coward when it came to sticking up and defending myself. I was taught I didn’t have a right to feel angry, but yet my rageaholic mother had every right!I And she exercised that right every day by beating me whenever she felt like it. I had to suppress my own anger to survive. But I feel anger is a God-given emotion, just like love, sadness, fear… Righteous anger. Through my faith I have been taught anger is healthy as long as I don’t sin when I express it, like being revengeful or punching her in the face. Jesus showed righteous anger by turning over the tables in the temple when people were using the house of God to do evil. Now that I am facing my anger for the first time regarding how I was treated growing up, I can’t believe I put up with so much and tolerated being around these same people the last 20 years since I’ve LEFT home!! If another woman was telling me my story as if it were hers, I’d be outraged and tell her NEVER let those people back in her life! Yet I couldn’t see it myself. It took time. I was brainwashed for 19 years, so it was a process to undue the damage and replace the lies with truth. But sometimes I still catch myself feeling sorry for my offenders, yet they never felt ANY compassion for me!! Doesn’t make sense! But I have to remind myself the TRUTH, so I don’t feel guilt or shame about my decision to cut them out of my life. I see and know my value now and won’t tolerate any more abuse from ANYONE. It’s so liberating. I will raise my child to know his value, as well, and always know he has a voice and even if he’s angry, I will still love him. Always. Unconditionally. Forever.

4

This is something I just read from Darlene’s post from August of last year on “Will I like me?”

‘As I got to know myself, my happiness increased. I felt free, alive, brilliant, strong, dynamic and reborn. I began to feel comfortable; like I was really alright, and in fact I was “right with myself”. I felt like I finally knew what it means to feel like I was who I was meant to be. I was able to impact others in ways that I never did before. I started to feel purposeful and fulfilled. Today I continue to become more and more comfortable in my own skin, more alive, more able to live life fully and to flourish and thrive. I become more “ME” with each passing day and I love who I am!’

This is what I am beginning to experience as I’m getting to know the REAL me. I always had a vision of the person I wanted to be, but didn’t know how to get there. I didn’t realize she was there all along I just had to dig out of all the debris and garbage I was buried under for years. I was SO SHY and INSECURE. Now I speak in front of others and share my story. It’s amazing. I NEVER thought I could do some of the things I do now. I still get the negative messages in my head, but now I tell them to shut up! I replace each negative with something positive now. Everyone is afraid to step into the unknown, out of their comfort zone, but that’s the only way we really grow and live, so it’s learning to turn those negative voices off and listen to the good ones.

I want to keep growing and sprouting wings. I want to soar into unknown territory and be free. Because I know the view will be so much better from above. It’s time to leave my cocoon behind.

5

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6

OH! It’s where I have been and still am to some degree.
I am still feeling some reluctance to admit my anger; it scares me because the kind i feel is on the level of fury, even dangerous..in rare moments.
More and more, when I am angry I now sing or talk to Angry Girl, myself as a young teen or preteen,Meme, ( little me) Watchful Girl, the one who tiptoes or slips silently past the “big” ones and always finds the exits and the escapes, who puts on a smiley face for them so that they don’t harm me. Angry and Watchful have just recently shown themselves to me and I now get it when they appear.
I hurt for Me; my anger is still explosive with trigger points..but I can see more clearly now.
I APPRECIATE this article.
I am deeply grateful for your validation. Thank you

7

This is key, Darlene. You know, me being where I am right now has me revisiting a lot of old stuff, triggers – and now I AM angry. Very, very angry. Yesterday was such an eye opener, and there was your post and now this one. I’m understanding how important it is for me to get out of situations like this, and to find the strength to do so. I’m clueless as to how, but I can see how the denial of my emotions affects my ability to make healthy and life-building decisions for myself. Until I start to let my emotions mean something to me, and learn to listen to them, I think it’s impossible to build a good life for yourself. I hope you have an idea just how important and benefitial your posts are to some of us survivors. Thank you, Darlene. From my heart. (((?)))

8

It has been somewhat different for me. I have been angry for so long, and I did not feel guilty about being angry. But lately I have been doing a lot of dream analysis and I have had an interesting insight. During the day I tend to feel a lot of anger, irritation, and impatience. But at night when I dream I usually have dreams in which I feel lost, confused, isolated, vulnerable, sad, and anxious. When I wake up this sad vulnerable feeling usually stays with me for a while. Then, as I go through the day I think I construct the anger and irritability as an armor to keep myself from feeling the more frightening feelings of vulnerability and anxiety. It’s an unconscious kind of anger. It’s the kind of anger that abusers feel, I think. So when I really saw this, I had to stop myself and open myself to the task of feeling my vulnerability. And I still have to find the outlet for my anger which IS truly appropriate, my anger at the old abuse.

9

I was angry, but with MYSELF. Whenever someone abuses me, I blamed myself for it. I trash myself for it. I said I brought it upon myself. If someone abandons me, I must have done something wrong to deserve it. In fact, when my therapist initiated termination, I turned the knife on myself (literally). Therapist had to actually ask me to vent my anger on her (the “appropriate” source), but I just couldn’t do it.

Two days ago, my (new) boss apologized for being overly harsh with me. My initial reaction was shock, and I wanted to tell her that I was the one at fault, not her. The whole week I had trashed myself up into a pulp. I thought that I was the only one at fault. I wanted to tell her that, but then I stopped myself. Yes, I made mistakes at work. But I was new, and she shouldn’t have treated me so harshly. That was the fact.

10

Darlene, I had lots of anger but it seldom hit the rightful target. I bottled it and it turned inward and sometimes the bottle blew up in the face of someone who didn’t deserve all that anger. I nearly destroyed myself with anger and it tortured me until I learned how to use it, how to release it, and where to aim it. Now, I’m not filled with constant anger anymore.

11

Hi Joy
I can relate to what you are saying. I had to re learn everything from scratch. I had to go back and start over… and that is how it has felt too. I think that ALL religions teach anger as wrong and as a sin, and even non religious families there is cross over with this misunderstanding of anger. I think realizing “I didn’t know” how I felt about things was an improvement for me! It was a place to begin with some things.
Thanks for sharing Joy,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elizabeth,
I agree with you that anger is another one of those stepping stones to healing. And yes, good point about remembering not to invalidate others anger! (that got so much easier for me AFTER I was well into the process of my own healing)
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Yes, that sounds familiar. Everyone else had a right to be angry and direct it at ME. But i had no right. I love your comments! And thank you for highlighting that stuff I wrote last August! I can relate to your comments regarding that quote too!!
Thank you so much for adding your voice.
Hugs, Darlene

12

I wrote this as a teenager: “Hate and anger burning inside, wanting to burn the world outside.” Wow. I read that now and think Troubled with a capital T. But it’s what helped me cope. Thankfully, I didn’t set any fires or my mom would have gone up in flames!

13

Hi Vivian,
Thank you, I am grateful for your validation too! The comments (and contributors here) are like beautiful flowers to me. This anger thing (as are all the emotions for us) is a huge thing. I am grateful to be having this discussion!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Sophia
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~
These comments are really great! Everyone processes things differently and you have highlighted another way. Lots of people have anger in the way like this too. (just not me) I can see anger used as an armour or wall. I love how you have processed your dreams.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Anja,
Thank you so much for your encouragement and affirmation of what I do (and try to do) here at EFB. I didn’t know how either, I learned along the way. I learned by looking at my belief system, at what I was taught and if it was right, I learned by looking at how I felt, and facing things I had never faced. That is why it is so hard to write about it. Because the step by step stuff is different for everyone ~ there is no set formula… we are at different stages and so i just try to paint these emotional pictures… I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

14

Hi Jasmine,
I was angry with myself too! That is a whole other post! I had no problem with self anger, self disgust. Realizing that was a HUGE part of my recovery.
Thanks for being here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I can relate to what you are saying, although for me it wasn’t my anger that was misdirected. (except for self anger) I have found that with each process I get through, I change. I used to “spin” about things that bugged me… and it wasn’t that I was angry, it was that I was discounted and I would spin about trying to convince others that I deserved to be heard… except that my spinning/talking never actually communicated that!
Hugs, Darlene

15

Thank you, Darlene. I also value my legitimate anger that I feel toward those that did hurt me. I just want to separate it from this other kind of anger that has been my defense. It’s pre-emptive: I’ve been abused so I fear people I don’t even know, so I lash out with defensive anger. I so appreciate your blog. I think your radical honesty is empowering to others of us who seek to speak truth. And your story of being able to recover from abuse and mental illness with self-therapy validates this process. I know I’ve made a lot of progress with self-therapy, too. I think it’s important for people to realize that they don’t necessarily need an expert to fix them. Each of us is our own best expert on our own lives. When we share these successes with others, they can come to believe in the rightness of their emotions and be able to help themselves, too.

16

Hi Darlene..thank you for sharing your words of encouragement ..letting me know that you understand where I come from. I am at that stage that I don’t know how I am suppose to feel .. what is ok to feel. what is not ok to feel.. I know, though, from what I am reading and from what my “T” is teaching to me that feelings are ok and there is a time for anger..

SInce I have not had any foundations layed.. I fear trying to experiment with my emotions or feelings.. lest they come our wrong..which some time they do.. I have had much pruning though and the nuns didnt waste time in my past rooting out or belittling me if ever I showed any temper.. Rulers are painful when applied to the hand and it’s humiliating to hold a stick in one’s mouth for misspeaking or saying something made you angry..

I know there is just anger.. How can one not be when seeing injustice or witnessing children being hurt and no one doing anything..

THe system has failed me and all of us . I feel emotions but fear letting them out. and perhaps that is not good for me in so many ways.. mentally, physically or emotionally.

So much work to do 🙁 sigh.

(gentle hugs) if ok

Joy

17

Darlene,
I can identify with relating anger with self-pity. I couldn’t afford either one, either. To express either was to say I deserved to be treated well. I was ashamed to even think that way. Unlike you, I was very aware of feeling anger for most of my life. Whenever I was angry about someone mistreating me, I felt compelled to punish myself before I was punished by someone else. I’d beat my head on the wall or punch myself in shame.

Now that I know my value, I can feel compassion for myself and anger about how I was treated without feeling shame. Yay for recovery! And justified anger! Great post!
Hugs, Christina

18

I remember a time when my mom slapped me across the cheek for being dropped off at a theater with a boy. I didn’t KNOW the mother was going to leave us alone! It wasn’t MY FAULT. It was innocent and we were just kids. Although my mom allowed me to go, she became livid when she found out later we were alone, thus she slapped my cheek hard. I recall scratching that cheek really hard afterward. I guess this was because of the shame I felt and self disgust? I also remember a time when I banged my ankle against the corner of my bed frame over and over again to make it bruise. It hurt so bad to do it, but I wanted to hurt myself for some reason. Strange the things I remember… Did anyone else try to hurt themselves? Is this because of the shame or self hatred we feel?

19

Karen,
Yes, I too hurt myself in the past, i don’t quite understand why i did this either.. I think this is all i will write at the moment, i just wanted to let Karen know, that she is not alone in the hurting oneself. I am having a really difficult time with this post. Anger.. its a difficult subject…As i still struggle with being able to accept i feel it, let alone express it.. i really struggle with it.. I have read the post about 4 times, but think ineed to read it again.

20

I also have tired to hurt myself. When I was a teenager and felt both abused and abandoned by my family, I began cutting myself. After some time I stopped doing that but I became a chain smoker. I also smoked pot obsessively as an adult for many years. I got no pleasure from it. In fact, the image that came into my mind when I thought about my smoking was of picking up a large mallet and hitting my head repeatedly. I felt like I deserved to be battered, but I did it by smoking myself into almost non-existence. I started remembering the self-cutting episodes last night, and the pain from all those years ago came flooding back. I let myself scream and cry, and felt great compassion for that lost teenager and all the years of confusion that lay ahead. I’m on the other side now, but I know that it’s important to grieve for what was lost and damaged.

21

Self-harm is an expression of anger turned inward, and we usually do it out of self-hatred and/or when there is no outlet for intense emotions. I started cutting when I was 11. I remember the “joy” of sitting under the table with no one else watching, and then sliding the penknife across my fingers. I was not even in my teens yet, and I definitely didn’t know what I was doing. No one taught me to hurt myself, and I didn’t know why either. I just knew that pain and blood felt good.

I stopped cutting after a while, but then started in again university – when I was in therapy. By that time I am more aware of what I was doing, but just couldn’t help myself. When the emotions were so intense, I would even hurt myself in front of my therapist. I remember feeling so much shame when I dug my nails into my arms, that I didn’t even dared to look at my therapist. I would do it until I bruised myself, and when I looked up, there was shock and horror on her face. There was even a time when I carried a penknife with me wherever I went (which was confiscated when the therapist found out).

Though I’ve considered myself “recovered”, those thoughts of self-harm still comes back sometimes…especially when I feel extremely emotional or when there is self-hatred. I’m still learning to distract myself and/or call someone when the temptation arises.

22

Hi Christina,
Thank you for adding your voice to this blog post and highlighting this point! There is so much to this and so many ways to discount anger and turn it on to self. Knowing my value assisted me greatly in this area too. When I had no value, I didn’t allow myself to feel anything. I looked to others for everything (in all areas) because that was all I knew.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen,
My mom liked to slap me across the face. I did all kinds of self harm things. I scratched my wrists with a nail file or a knife until little beads of blood showed. This is a huge area for many. For some it is about self punishment; I believed that the way i was regarded (disregarded) was my fault. I had so much self hate because I could not find the way to be “good enough to be loved” so I was very mad at myself.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
I struggled with this topic for a very long time. I still have to think about it, process it. The reason for this post was because I was upset about something and realized that I was angry, but as soon as I realized I was angry, I told myself to stop feeling sorry for myself. I realized that I still tend to deny anger.
Glad that you shared!
Hugs, Darlene

23

Sophia,
I appreciate your honesty here so much. It is amazing to me how much pain that I forgot and how much I blocked out. Having compassion and understanding for myself, the way that you describe in your comment is exactly how I began to heal too! I finally listened to me and validated myself after YEARS of waiting for someone else to do it and doing everything I could think of doing in order to make that happen. It was amazing to learn that I could love and therefore validate myself.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jasmine
I can relate to what you are talking about too. I used to think that hurting myself confirmed that I was alive, but today I think it was about punishment. I punished myself in many ways… including using food (and forcing myself to throw up) and using drugs and pinching myself. I can relate to being aware but still doing it. Sometimes (and in many areas) I felt like I was a ship with no rudder… that I was totally powerless in my own life. And that is exactly how it was for me as a child.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

24

Thank you all for your comments to what I wrote and for being so transparent and honest. I never thought to cut myself, but if I had known about it as a child, I’m sure I would have practiced it. I always had a nervous habit of some kind though. Twisting my hair, biting my nails, twisting my fingers on top of the other, pushing my lip up to my nose (odd!), smelling my fingers. Now I have trichotillomania where I pull my eyebrows and lashes out! It started about two years ago and now I’m taking some anti-anxiety medicine to help and going to therapy. It’s some kind of OCD thing. I can’t control it! It’s mind boggling. I’ll take a lash and tickle my upper lip with it. I did some Internet research and found others do this same peculiar thing also! It’s so amazing when you find out you aren’t alone in your oddities!! I now am so much more compassionate and sympathetic to others who have OCD, cut themselves, etc. To me that is a gift, not something to be shameful of. I accept myself, OCD and all and it’s a beautiful place to finally be.

25

Much love and hugs to you all. We are not alone in this and we are strong enough to be here now sharing and validating each other.

26

Everytime I get angry I usually end up crying – that’s if I actually manage to get words out related to what’s upset me! If I don’t I stuff it down and go on the whole what a bad person I am trip – self reflecting other’s abusiveness or injustice onto myself. I haven’t quite got it figured out yet. It seems there’s a lot of drama creators around and they’re willing to blame me for things other folks have done and then it dawns on me I’ve not actually done anything wrong! And I am usually upset about me or other folk being unjustly accused of things. But the only way I’ve found to deal with it is to leave, walk away and remove myself from their company, which can be a little awkward!

27

If I get angry at something that’s a whole different ball game, usually I say nothing for ages and then it’s over and ‘water under the bridge’ when inside me it’s still alive and kicking. I don’t quite understand how it relates to self pity yet, except for the self reflecting that I’m bad because a bad situation has come up.

28

Hi My Name is Clare
I have a lot of Anger in side of me and find it hard to let go but as you say then you cant move on but I am learning now to show my Emotions which is helping.

From Clare

29

Darlene,

I am actually in the “anger” spot right now…I am angry all of the time…I get pissed off about everything and wonder how am I ever going to get it all out…I haven’t had conversations with the real people I am angry at and I am having a very hard time figuring out what to do with my angry energy…it actually seems to be destructive to my “good” relationships because I am so pissed off at my mom and my daughter’s father….I feel so betrayed, hurt, belitttled, abandoned and devalued by these two….I have alot to say to them….I just feel that neither one will listen and that I will become so angry and out of control that it will be unproductive…I feel really stuck here and it sucks…I want to be done with angry town and I want to be in happy town….any suggestions??? help!!!!

30

I really appreciate the posts about the self abuse….my way of abusing myself is just to not take care of myself in general…I will forget to eat or drink for a long time…I won’t go to bed when I should…I will treat myself the way I envision them treating me…just badly…it sucks…I go through spurts of that behavior…I think it is alot less than it used to be…which is a good sign…thanks all for sharing!!!

31

When i think of anger, the next thing that enters my being, is fear,then pain. i learned very early that i am not permitted to feel angry, express anger. i grew up in a very small town, 250 people lived in our town. it was the kind of place where if you did something at the end of your street, by the time you got home, your mother already heard what you did. i think there were 2 occasions, where i reacted in anger to something as a child.. i was taught, very clearly, that i was not to do that ever again. No matter what… nor was i to tell when someone hurt me, even if my sister hit me in the head with a hammer,(which happened), you just learn to get up when you are able and carry on with your day, doing as you are told. As life went on and i just seemed to keep accumalating abusers. People looking in would say, aren’t you angry about this or that? I would say no, as i truly didn’t feel it, i was trained to not feel it. I did harm myself, i have cut myself and other things, i had an eating disorder, i also knew that doing that was wrong, when my mother found out, i was so upset, i had disappointed her again..etc.. i knew that i couldn’t keep doing these things to myself… i started finding other ways,as in being with people who i knew would hurt me sexually.. (don’t know if that is appropriate to say, i apologize).. i have never had a healthy sexual relationship..i don’t know what one looks like.. but in terms of self harm,i believe i used that to continue my self hatred going strong… i could feel anger at myself, disgusted with myself for all i had done, but as far as showing my anger outward, it was not something i was ever able to do in an appropriate way.. there were a couple instances when as an adult, i had what i call a temper tantrum, where i would just trash everything in my room, in private.. and then would collapse in tears, hating myself for doing that, then usually hurt myself with a piece of glass from a broken picture frame or something… ugh.. i don’t know, if i should even post this. i have been really stuggling these last few days.. so not sure if my thinking is right…

32

Just like we wish our parents would have seen the light that they were abusing us when we were little, we want them to see the light now because we do more clearly and are ANGRY. But just like they were blind then, they most likely will be blind now. I just try to focus my energy on where it counts and matters most: on ME now. They will never understand because they lack compassion and insight or they wouldn’t have abused me from the get go. I need to let them go and learn to re-parent myself. That means trying to figure out who I really am, apart from all the lies. I’m beginning to emerge from the dark pit and I’m finding I like the ME that was buried for so long under their garbage. She is still there and I’m so PROUD of her for surviving the best she could. I will treat her as best I can now by never allowing anyone to abuse me again. I will give myself the self love I should have received from my parent. I will treat myself well and respect myself and my needs and not view them as selfish. I will discover what brings me joy and do those things that fill my heart with happiness, like art, music, singing, boating…

The anger will come in waves, be patient with yourself everyone who is dealing with it now. Love yourself, one day at a time…

33

Jenny, I still have anger at my parents and they are deceased now anyway so I can’t have any kind of conversation about it. Some of what I do is: go to my room and yell and cry and beat on a pillow, write about it in a journal, talk about it with a trusted friend who will validate my feelings. I am also a big fan of writing down my dreams and interpreting the symbolism and also paying attention to the feelings that come up. See my post above for an example of that. If you are getting mad at everything, as I have been, you might find these useful. Hugs, Sophia

34

Hi Clare,
Welcome to EFB ~ This process takes time. The only shortcut that I have found is facing the past.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise,
You may have misunderstood me; anger is NOT related to self pity. I convinced myself that it was self pity so that I could reject the anger right away. It was my way of making sure that I didn’t have anger. I can relate to reflecting that I am bad when a bad situation comes up too. That all came from the way I was defined by the actions of others.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny
For me, I was stuck trying not to feel what I felt. (and not admitting to myself that is what I was doing. I was SO afraid to feel any of those things). My recovery had nothing to do with any conversations with others. They didn’t care in the first place. I had to validate myself. For example; you said you feel so betrayed, hurt, belittled, abandoned and devalued by them… I began to acknowledge that I HAD BEEN betrayed, hurt, belittled, abandoned and devalued; I realized that I was not “exaggerating those feelings” but that they were the truth. I was angry and I had a right to be. No one had to agree with me or give me permission anymore. I gave it to myself. Eventually I calmed down everything evened out with the ups and downs in my moods etc. I did many of the things that Sophia wrote about in her comments. Thanks for sharing here!
Hugs, Darlene

35

Hi Kelly
Yes, I had anger connected to pain too ~ in fact exactly as you say, fear then pain (fear of pain) and it was like this for me for most of my feelings. You may share anything you like here. We need to get this stuff out! I had to get it out. You are welcome to get those things out here. I totally relate to your comments. This was all part of the process for me.
Thank you for your courage. Hang in here and be gentle with yourself. I had times like that too. Your thinking sounds fine to me!
Hugs, Darlene

Karen,
Yes, I had to focus on me and that was where I finally found the freedom I was longing for. I found self acceptance and stopped searching for acceptance from all those other people. Figuring out who I am came as a result of doing this work. It was like a bonus. =)
Hugs, Darlene

36

Darlene,
Thank you so much… in reading your response to me,tears came to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, i felt the lump, that has been ever present in my throat these last few days, start to ease and let go. It is shocking to me at times, when i realize, all it takes sometimes to make life a little more bearable, is an understanding word, a moment of tenderness.. When one thinks how powerful words can be, they can lift you to the highest mountain or they can drop you to the depths of hell, why are there so many willing to use the words that devestate rather then ones that lift up the heart of another? i fear there will never be an answer to that question… As there will always people that need to control, that need to knock others down in order to survive their own hell, in order to keep from feeling their own pain, will choose to cause pain to another.. I am so very happy that you, Darlene are here to share your journey with us, so that we may find healing in our hearts.

37

Been there – done that! I went through this same belief process Darlene and it wasn’t until I went to therapy that I could allow myself to feel the anger, to be able to express it in a healthy way knowing it was okay for me to be angry for the abuses done to me. Only since going through the process of healing was I able to feel free to not only love myself in a healthy way, but I also was able to give myself permission to protect myself, to stick up for myself no matter what. So much freedom came with that … I no longer take what I thought were my own shortcomings and inner failures out on anyone else – especially myself. I could beat myself up like no one’s business!

Man … it feels GOOD to be free, to feel free! {sigh}

38

Hi Kelly
When I began to feel the pain lessen in my own life, I started to pay really close attention to what was working for me. One of the first keys; the thing that really got me started in this healing process, was that someone heard me and in doing that I began to be able to hear myself. Eventually I was able to validate myself where I had never been validated before. That was the biggest beginning for me and I strive to be that person for others now. I know how powerful it was for me to finally be heard, and even more powerful when I finally validated my self and my pain. That was the key that led me to overcome it.
Thank you for your comments Kelly!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rise
Yes there is nothing like living in freedom! Thanks for being here Rise!
Hugs, Darlene

39

are we talking about anger or feeling whatever feelings are there?
Anger would be related to placing the blame where it belongs.

My son returned home after five days as a runaway. He is back in school today. His stories of where he went and what he did do not add up, and we think it is a big in-your-face to his dad for all the years of stories that he tells that don’t add up?? Help? any ideas?

I am very relived, and he does answer his phone when I call now, so we do talk more, hope that continues.

40

Hi Kate,
Yes, anger is related to placing the blame where it belongs. I was talking about calling anger something else in order to avoid feeling it.
Glad that your son is home and back at school.
hugs, Darlene

41

Darlene, Sophia, Karen…

I really appreciate what you have written here…it helps to know so many others have walked the same path…I hope to continue making progress…hugs to all.

42

Jenny: thanks for your comment. I feel for you and the frustration you are experiencing. I, too, wish I could vent my anger to the ones who deserve it, but I know it is futile. They will never understand. What helps me is writing about my feelings and talking to a counselor. I used to take my anger out on my husband and son and that wasn’t fair to them, so I started counseling, which has really been beneficial. I discovered I’d be angry MOST after I talked to my MOM and she made some critical or disparaging comment. The downward cycle would begin as the self hatred bubbled up again. So now I don’t talk to her anymore. (Well, she’s actually giving me the silent treatment right now, but I’m enjoying the quiet!) I write about my feelings at my blog and it helps me sort things out. The key for me is not to suppress my anger, but find a way to release it without hurting another. I like filling up water balloons and slamming them on the ground outside! Or I used to bend beside my bed and start hitting the mattress really hard. These are some ways that helped me get it out… Also, realizing it’s not ME, but THEIR issue. That is harder, but self-talk helps in that regard. Therefore, I do a lot of talking to myself! 🙂

43

Karen…awesome…thank you…I think the water balloon thing sounds great and my daughter could benefit from that as well when she gets angry….cool..funny thing last night my daughter was mad about not being able to watch t.v. or something so she stomped her feet and I did it too…soon we were having a stomping contest and she was laughing..it was great…I think that is the biggest challenge is to create something positive out of something negative…but when it happens the results are so amazing…:)

44

Sophia, I love what you said about self-therapy. I have helped myself much more than the experts I’ve spent tons of money on. In fact, most of what they did to me was detrimental and also abusive. It is good to hear someone else say the same.

Pam

45

Kate, I’m really glad to hear that your son is home and back in school. Quitting school is such a bad mistake for so many kids. I’ve no idea about the story not adding up other than he is a 17 year old boy…from my experience, they tend to do lots of things at times that don’t add up even to them. You probably know his heart better than anyone.

46

Well I must say I am reverse. .. I started out trying to do things myself but I found being right in the middle of the mess blinded me to what others could see from outside my mess. I am so glad I have a therapist.. as she is helping me so much. Being that she has worked with so many in her many many years of being a therapist I suppose nothing is new .. except the person.

I was afraid at first to go to therapy because I am so timid but my T is very patient. .. she is helping me understand lots of things I didn’t understand before.

Moreover, there was so much negativity . opposition regarding therapy even where I am . .I was frightened by the feedback to trust a therapist..

THen I had my bad experiences..

I do believe everyone finds out for themselves what they can or cannot do for themselves.. The therapist only helps you heal yourself.. LIke a tour guide shows you around the forest so you don’t get lost or eaten up by lions so the therapist guides people .. around so they dont get lost or eaten up by the lions inside or out..;)
Good therapist..It’s sad that there are bad ones that put a shadow over all the good that therapy can do..

joy

47

Karen, I’ve also always had problems with my emotions when I’ve been around my parents. I’m better now too since they aren’t a part of my life. It makes me sad to say that but our relationship is very damaged and they aren’t willing to do any work to fix it. I can’t fix it myself and I can’t go on allowing them to make me an emotional basket case. For years, I was so out of touch with why I was so angry that my reaction to my parents was a mystery even to me. At least, finally, after all these years, the mystery is solved.

Pam

48

Darlene,
Every emotion that a human can feel is like a foreign language to me. I feel hurt, and rage. I felt happy and at peace with myself once. I get soooooooooooooooo frustrated when people write about the different emotions because I don’t know what each emotion should feel like.
My sister and I got into a couple of days ago. She has been coaxing me into saying things then runs to my daughter and tells a twisted version. My daughter was angry and hurt. I confronted my sister and I began with I feel betrayed and hurt by what you have done. She went ballistic and said I started the conversations and for me to be honest and step up to the plate. She screamed that I was delusionary and a hypercondriact. And what a F—ing B—h I was. I told her to leave my house. She lied. She went to my family and lied. I was shocked to my core! What is even more horifying is that she will tell the rest of the family the lies. I told her I was sorry for my part of the arguement and that she didn’t have to move out. She plans on moving next spring, and Im secretly hoping the time will fly by because I don’t want someone like her near me. I feel obligated to let her stay until she is ready to leave. I will keep to myself until then.
Renee

49

Joy,
I went to a lot of bad therapists who added to the damage. In fact only one therapist ever helped me. I am an advocate of GOOD therapy, and I am also in agreement with self therapy, which is one of my reasons for writing this blog. I can light the path along the way as well as or better than most therapists. Most of us do need some guidance, but that guidance doesn’t always come from therapists or just from one set place. I don’t think that anyone is saying that self therapy is the only way, just that it is a very valid way. I too believe that we do have the answers inside of us and I found many of my own after I was finished therapy, so I like both ways. I think that a therapist can be the guide, or someone/ something else can. I don’t state one way is better than another. Lots of readers here are very defensive about going to a therapist OR not going to one. Each of us can make our own choice and that is just as it should be. The path to freedom and wholeness is lit in different ways!
Hugs, Darlene

50

Hi Darlene

I agree both ways are good … but as i said everyone finds what works for them. I had absolutely no training whatsoever as a child. Everything that followed only put me deeper and deeper in to my mess . .as somehow everywhere I landed gave me little voice.. and made me more a person to obey then to know how to think for myself

I know no one here said self therapy was better .. i was just sharing I went reverse.. .. usually people start with therapy or migrate to self therapy . I was opposite .. i did the self therapy first..mostly because i was afraid .. and had was threatened..

I believe that your blog is helping so many people Darlene..including me. .and some find help in videos and tapes etc..

I am glad we are such a diverse group. .I love everyone here and am learning so much from you Darlene, and from everyone else.

Thanks for letting me post.

Hugs.

Joy

51

Renee: my mom sounds like your sister. She was very ‘seductive’ in getting me to reveal personal information to her, usually under the guise of ‘caring’ when all she really cared about was getting the information so she could twist it and use it against me later on! My mom is VERY manipulative and exploitive. If I ever confronted her with my hurt, she’d just rage at ME and then humiliate me later on for what I said and how dare I have those feelings! Good luck living with your sister until next Spring! It’s hard living with someone you cannot trust. It got to the point that I only had superficial conversations with my mom, like talking about the weather, etc. I couldn’t trust her with anything more than that or anything intimate. And even then she STILL would make up lies about me! I’m glad I sprouted wings and learned to fly away.

52

40-So you were putting the blame on yourself and ended up with self-pity, which was intolerable?

53

Joy, I never meant that I think it is wrong to go to a therapist. I also have a family therapist that I think highly of. I had a really bad experience with psychiatrists when I was finally able to afford some help. It was really frustrating and I’m afraid of psychiatrists to this day. I live in a rural area and the choices are few. I have come a long way on my own since I gave up on my psychiatrists and I was just reacting to the comment that validated my own experience. Everyone should do whatever works for them.

Pam

54

Kate,
So glad to hear your son is safe and at home.. even happier to hear that he is keeping the communication open between you and he. Saying things that don’t add up, not sure what that is about really.. But maybe his way of keeping that time away for himself?! so that only he knows what he did and where he went.. I know there have been times in my life, where i kept somethings to myself, as i felt that was all i had that was truly mine, all mine.. nobody can take it away from me if they don’t know about it.. not sure though, that is just my thought at the moment..

55

HI Pam..

I don’t think I implied in any way that you did.. your post made me think of how backward my life was and is. I do things in “reverse” which is what I posted.. sorry you felt that I was writing something else.

I was afraid to go to therapy . i had my family threatening and telling me not to, friends telling me not to..even the bestest of friends. .so I held off
but i was breaking apart: and didnt know what to do.. I had tried all I learned and knew and was taught and that all failed. I tried pretending it away .. that is pretending it wasn’t there..that I wasn’t broken. that I was ok. Everywhere I went I was triggered. .hurt and rehurt again. .I simply had no tools or know how for life.

I have a long way to go but am encouraged to know someone who knows is helping me.

I am happy for those who can do it by themselves..that have enough tools and know how..I hope some day I will be srong and confident enough to walk on my own…

I think everyone knows what works for them. I hope you are having a nice day.. Take care. <3

joy

56

I have often thought about going back for therapy, i have gone off and on for years, although, the last couple times i tried, i came out feeling more frustrated, confused and lost then when i went in.. i know, its about finding the one that is right for you, but when you are in the depths of despair, feeling rather desperate, trying out therapists takes more energy then we have sometimes. When i found therapy not working for me, i journaled.. which i found helpful.. at one time i did so with pen and paper.. it was found and read by someone who used my words, my deepest thoughts and feelings against me… so for along time i didn’t write.. but i missed it terribly.. it was away for me to get things out of me, which was freeing.. So i started writing in a private blog i guess it was.. nobody else had access to it but me.. i felt safe again.. password protected just for me again….. or so i thought.. til one day i logged on my computer to find again, my deepest thoughts and feelings looking back at me, on a public site… with someone else very hurtful words attached to it.. as well as was beaten quite severly a few times for the words i had written.. and made to feel foolish in front of others when those words were brought up and joked about.. so again, i gave up.. til now, i am writing things on this site, which feels good but also its frightening.. waiting and watching for things i write here to be thrown at me or ridiculed… i hope with all i have that it won’t happen.. but part of me is expecting it to happen at any moment..

57

Joy, I’m glad you’ve found someone to help while you are still young. Mine has been a long hard pull. I’m glad I didn’t make you feel like I thought it was wrong to have therapy. I don’t know why I’m miscommunicating so much lately…

Pam

58

Kelly, I hope that doesn’t happen to you again either…

Therapy, besides what we did as a family, was frustrating for me too. It seemed we never got to the point and I had to do exercises that were silly to me and embarrassing. It’s funny, but I thought they always started with childhood and I was asked so few questions about my childhood…Finally, when I decided to really listen to myself about what was wrong, I started making some progress. I had the answers all along. I just had to get to the point where I was confident enough to believe me.

59

Kelly,
I feel your frustration! I have had that done, in fact as recent as 3 days ago UGHHHHH! It was my sister that did it to me. I feel betrayed and very hurt. I can’t write. I start and then I lose interest or get tierd of having to hide it. I have been very hurt these past few weeks. I wish I were some where else any where but here right now. I can’t afford to go away right now.
I hope things get better for you.
Renee

60

Joy,
I beleive in counseling, it saved my life. Not only that, but it was a fresh view, and new way at looking at something that I was to weak and to hurt to see. You do what you feel is safe and good for you and that is what really counts. It’s doing what you know you need to do. Humpty dumpty couldn’t put himself together he had to have help. I remember my counseler telling me that, it helped me in an odd way.

61

Karen,
Sounds just like her! They must be twins. Im going to do my best. I know my life will be guarded for a while. At least I know what im up against.
Renee

62

HI Pam..

Thank you for your kind words.. I appreciate you and your encouraging ways..

hugs: Joy

63

Renee

I am going to keep that little gem you gave me “humpty dumpty couldn’t put himself back together” either. .Seems like all the king’s horses and all the kings men couldn’t put humpty dumpty back together again either.. So I bet he was in therapy 😉

Joy

64

Joy,
Yeah, even in fairy tell land they needed help too. I picture him laying on the ground all cracked and crying, with his hand outstreched reaching for help. He would need someone kind and gentle and full of wisdom helping him to put himself back together again.

65

Renee

And i could see him like you say and some of the kings men saying..he’s not going to make it. .he’s too messed up and then come along the one you described..kind and gentle : ignoring everyone who said the kid’s too messed up and putting him together and making him the best looking egg that side of fairy tale land..lol

66

Joy,
Don’t forget all the people that ignored him or made fun of him, watching as he is slowly restored, though he had scares that people could see, he was much wiser, and stronger than he ever hoped of being! When he felt stronger he went on fairy godmother Darlenes blog and told his story and everyone cheered him on!!!

67

Renee

And since words spread fast..then Fairy Godmother Darlene will begin to see a bunch more humpty dumpties crawling into her blog to see if they can find out how the first one did it.. And those who said he couldn’t make it will be here too.. clapping and jumping that he beat the odds..
lol

68

Joy,
Of course! When they find out they are not a lone they feel the comfort and finally they feel safe. THE END………..lol

69

Renee and Joy
I could put your joint comments together and post a new blog post… the story of how humpty dumpty found healing and wholeness when the world said it was hopeless… you know…. that is my story! and it is why I do what I do. I think that the discussion is not so much about therapists vs no therapists, as it is about how we need people to assist us on this journey. It doessn’t have to be a person with a certain degree that does it.
Hugs, Darlene

70

Renee,
I completely understand your feelings of hurt and betrayal from your sister reading your words and using them against you.. How else would anyone feel when that is done to them? it is so hard to understand why people would do such things, especially from those who are supposed to love you. If i could take that pain and betrayal from you and carry it for you for a little while, i would do it in a heartbeat.. I so despise the fact that so many people need to feel the pain, endure the suffering, live in the confusion of a life turned upside down by evil doers. Yes it feels good to not be alone in these feelings, but if i could i would feel it all, in order not see others suffer so..
All the writings i had, years and years of me, gone.. i once thought that amongst all that writing was ME… and that one day in reading all i had written i would find myself, or enough pieces of me, that once i fit it all together i would be free, i would be me.. In losing all of that, i lost the hope i once had of finding who i am.. so along with the hurt and betrayal of others reading and using my words to hurt me.. they also took my only path i had to myself.. leaving me to be eternally lost…

71

So true, Darlene! ‘We need people to assist us on this journey.’ That’s why I love support groups with other women. You gain new insights and get reality checks and validation/confirmation you’re not the CRAZY one!

I just started volunteering at my church and also a women’s center facilitating a group for sexually abused women. I am not a trained counselor, but I think just being a sympathetic ear and being able to relate to someone else’s pain is HUGE. I’ve had my own years of counseling, have read numerous self-help books, have a strong Christian faith and have taken a Peer Counseling training course, etc., but I still think just being a caring listener and being a shoulder to cry on is sometimes the best thing you can offer a hurting person. I’ve had every abuse in the book, so I hope I have gained some wisdom through my healing journey. I just want to ‘pay it forward.’

72

Kelly: I can relate to your pain. My biological father dropped out of my life for 20 years. I reached out and reunited with him when I was 30. He was bipolar and that’s part of why he dropped out of my life, plus he thought I’d adjust to my step dad better. Also, we ended up moving to Hawaii, so he thought he’d lost me forever. Anyway, he begged my forgiveness and we became very close and shared an indescribable bond. His depressions only worsened as he got older, so after 10 years of having him in my life, he ended up taking his life.

Later I found in his drawer every letter I had written him in those 10 years and copies of every letter he sent me. My cruel oldest brother wouldn’t let me take them and since he was Executor of the Estate he kept me from doing so. Later he read some of them and even shared some personal things about my life with other family members and some not so nice comments I made about my mom and step dad. (They ended up giving me the silent treatment for two years! They didn’t even respond when I told them I was getting married a year after my dad died! And, of course, they didn’t reach out to me at all when my dad died because they were always jealous of our close relationship.) Anyway, it was NOBODY’S BUSINESS reading our letters to each other!! I still don’t know what happened to all those letters and I would have LOVED to have had them. He probably just threw them in the garbage for all I know. Fortunately, I did keep most of the letters my Dad wrote me through the years. He may have stolen our letters, but no one can take away or rob me of the bond we shared.

73

Kelly,
Thank you for such kind and caring words. Did you know that this is the first time in my life I have had a voice where I am not picked a part or crucified for the way I feel. Darlene’s blog is my rebirth of expression I never had before. I can not tell you the gift it has given me with all of you as my support. Thank you so much for the love I get from all of you.
Renee

74

Ah, Renee, I’m sad that you are having such a tough time lately. You deserve a voice and it is a kind one. I hope things get better soon…

Pam

75

[…] I felt that way for a few days, going from hurt, sadness, abandonment and anger, blaming myself and trying to avoid self pity. […]

This is a pingback for my new post which is related to this post. My new post is about how my default belief system was triggered by the stress of my sons recent motorcycle accident when I did not get the reaction or support from close friends that I expected.

You can read it here ~ emotional reactions and fears triggered in times of stress

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[…] and I hid my angry emotional responses by stuffing my anger and being mad at myself for being angry. By the age of 12, I was very depressed and I believe, my stuffed and misdirected anger (which was […]

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Well, I hate to be so forthright, but, I’m so angry right now I could spit. I have been spoken down to by a professor for the majority of this semester in a Microbiology class. I sit in the front row and from the first day of the lab portion of the class, she has been my target. I don’t know if she senses that I’m fragile or my self esteem is in the gutter, or just what. She has called me out for wrong technique (or whatever) on so many occasions. The whole class can hear here. 5 times in one class period is toooooo much for me. It sends me right back to that place where I was when my mother would belittle me or whisper about me and spread lies before and during family gatherings. She tainted my entire family and I was forever an outcast in their midst. Today, I can see that my anger in situations like the one with my teacher, springs from something deep inside that wants to defend myself. Unfortunately, I did defend myself today. It wasn’t the best way to handle it and I did it with tears in my eyes. I approached her after class and asked her why she refused to answer my questions, but freely answered the questions of the young man behind me? She deniied it and said she didn’t answer his questions, she simply showed him where to look for answers. BUT, she wouldn’t even give me that. She simply repeated the statement, “you should have had that information before you came to class today”. So, there I sat, no resources from which to draw, time was running out, she refused to help me, my classmate said something and she quickly shushed her saying “no help from others”. What the hell was I supposed to do?? I had no idea what to do. Just take a failing grade? I’m so pissed just typing about it. When I did approach her after class there were still about 5-6 people in there. I’m sure they heard me. I know the teacher saw the tears welling in my eyes. I just walked away and left the class. Now, I’m left with the embarrassment of not being able to handle situations like this in an adult manner. Only in a childlike manner where I seem to be stuck. All out anger at being treated like a “less than”. I told her she didn’t need to speak to me like I was an idiot. (I have a 4.0 on a 4.0 scale.) She retorted, I’m not speaking to you like you’re an idiot. OHHHHHHH, yes she was. She has done it to other students too, but not nearly as frequently. And, she always refuses to answer my questions. She claims she wants people to “use their critical thinking skills”. She doesn’t care if the guy behind me does. She hands it to him on a silver platter. Anyhow, I have a history of not being able to handle people or events like this…. those that put me down blatantly, etc. I am dropping the class tomorrow and I don’t know what I’ll do about my education now. I hat that I am so jumbled up I can’t even handle taking a class because the teacher’s insane. Everyone else seems to be able to handle it….. what the hell is wrong with me??? Why can’t I just take it!!!???? I am embarassed that the class will know after today that I dropped because I couldn’t take it in stride. As if I’m a basket case…. well, I guess I am. I’m pretty stinking angry!!

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OOOPS…. I meant, I have been her target!! Anger makes me type crazy too apparently!

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Hi Kelly,

I think I must’ve read the original post of Darlene’s before but not the comments… just reading yours (#31, 36 & 56 in particular) and felt so much of your pain. But so glad you shared and had the feelings you described in #36 of feeling validated etc!

I’m not sure if I’ve written about my self-harm specifically on this site. I think I might have… anyway I think I will now. (AND… cue entire mental shutdown. Probably should’ve seen that coming!)

Ok deep breath… and let’s try again.

********************* Self-harm, sexual topics ahead******************

(starting to feel like a movie/TV show parental advisory screen) 🙂

So, the physical self-abuse started towards the end of my first serious relationship (bit under ten years ago), when my use of porn seemed like the major stumbling block stopping us from being happy.(We wanted to get married etc. It’s very hard/strange looking back now, because I now think a lot of the pressure I was putting on myself to do the “right” thing was from trying to live up to my parents’ expectations. But we were so in love, too…. I guess it just wasn’t healthy love, unfortunately. We were very young. And there’s no way I can see it could’ve actually worked without being incredibly harmful to one or both of us, so arguably a good thing… but just still have so much grief over it all).

Ok.

Another deep breath. So, I started to feel completely trapped, (as in, despite trying and at times succeeding for ridiculously long times not to use porn and/or masturbate [which I think I also viewed as evil at that time], I couldn’t stop completely) and felt like I was losing my mind becuase my girlfriend would get so upset and down and act coldly towards me etc. Which of course, I learned from my mother was NORMAL, and arguably may have subconsciously LOOKED FOR (or at least, been drawn towards, because it’s what I was used to)…. both my serious relationships have been marked by me feeling “less than” and constantly guilty etc.

(That’s not to say I was perfect in them btw….. anything but.)

So, yeah. Felt trapped, couldn’t see any way out of the f**king emotional/mental wringer (didn’t want to break up — didn’t want to hurt her by doing so, but I felt I was hurting her just by being with her). Around this time was when I started getting this feeling like my head was just spinning… pretty sure it was basically a literal, physical feeling, like a whirlpool…. and this was what led to the self-harm.

At first (from memory) it used to start up (the spinning feeling) when I’d be driving home from her place late at night. We never had actual sex (did the good little christian “technical virginity” thing, which for the record she never felt guilty about, while it tore me apart inside — and yet I wanted to so bad at the same time), and driving home after making out etc would be when my head would start to go to town on me with guilt, condemnation and so on (believed since as far back as I can remember that I was destined for eternal damnation. Having actually started my first physical relationship didn’t exactly help in this way).

I think before I started actively hurting myself, what happened is that I’d be driving home, head would start spinning, and I’d just put the accelarator down, until I took a corner fast enough to scare myself from nearly crashing, and then the adrenaline buzz would leave me all shaky and terrified and I’d slow down again.

Not proud of this btw. In retrospect, I can at least make sense of it by realizing that the adrenaline kicking in would stop the out-of-control spinning feeling, so from that point of view it makes sense because I didn’t know any other way to stop that feeling. And I had no idea what the f**k was happening in my head…. I thought I was literally losing my mind. (Please note I’m not trying to condone speeding or anything. Just trying to make sense of it after the fact).

Somewhere along the line I also discovered that pain would stop the spinning too. I remember punching the wall after an argument with my girlfriend and leaving knuckle marks in it. That might’ve been the first time I made the connection. I remember breaking the windscreen of my car one time from punching it too. Somewhere along the line, I started directly attacking what seemed like my mortal enemy – my head/brain. I remember just punching myself in the head as hard as I could over and over until the spinning was overtaken by pain. (Seemed to take a while, from memory). Not sure if I ever did it in front of her. I think I might have. Poor little me, and poor little her. People shouldn’t have to feel like they’re so terrible that they deserve to self-inflict pain.

Not sure how long this went on for. Haven’t done that for many many years now. One thing I’ve only more recently considered though, is my relationship with food. Pretty sure that could be looked at in a similar light, really. It wasn’t that long ago that I read a comment (in a book about audio engineering, of all things) that made me stop and think about it. The guy was talking about how you know when you’re done recording/mixing a song, and he said “You just know. Like how you know when you’ve had enough to eat.”

This made me suddenly realize that I never seemed to know when I’d had enough to eat. I’ve had what I think of as upset stomachs for as long as I can remember. I used to get really bad stomach aches as a kid (remember having to get carried out of school and taken to the doctors cos I couldn’t even walk one time when I was maybe 5-7. Then it disappeared as soon as I got to the doctors, and I was so scared that the doctor would tell me off for lying. Coincidentally enough, I remember my mother would almsot never let me stay home from school, so I strongly suspect that’s where the fear of being seen to be a liar came from. F**king bitch)

For years now (could be decades, actually) I often have to race for the bathroom after eating, and (trying to think of a not-overly graphic way of saying this)…. nope can’t. Let’s just say it rhymes with “schmiorrhea.”

Sorry. Male humor coming out. Some things never change.

More recently (I think after reading the statement about knowing when you’re full, and realizing that I didn’t), I thought it might be connected to the amount of food I ate, whereas I always assumed it was WHAT I ate that was the culprit. I’m much more conscious of how much I eat now (try to be, anyway…. late at night when my mind’s racing I still tend to binge to distract myself). Sometimes it helps, sometimes not. It doesn’t even seem to be connected to quality of food (unless my body’s so accustomed to junk/fast food etc that actually eating healthy food causes it to rebel). Because sometimes I can eat what seems a reasonable sized, healthy meal with quality ingredients, and still end up stuck in the can, and then sometimes I can scarf down a bunch of junk food and be fine.

Actually, speed of eating was another thing I’d thouoght might be the culprit (and we’re back to my mother….. CONSTANT nagging about slowing down while I was growing up…… ARRGHGHGH!!!). But again, sometimes eat very carefully/slowly and no good, sometimes race thru a meal at light speed and seem fine. Go figure!!!

Anyway, I guess I’m trying to help myself see the connections between my hyper-nagging, controlling mother, food, nerves, stomach etc. What can I remember? She’d always tell me not to eat at night, and give me shit about it if I did. So I got to the stage of waiting until she’d gone to bed, THEN eating so at least she wouldn’t be there to bitch at me. This makes it start to feel more like an “official” eating disorder (the hiding etc… used to try and hide any packaging of what I ate under stuff in the garbage so she couldn’t find out that way. Also used to hide the dishes in my room and clean them when she wasn’t around for the same reason. Actually, I still do that. That’s also to do with the fact that she can’t seem to EXIST with even one dirty spoon in the sink….. she’ll actually wash up all the dishes from a meal BEFORE she sits down to eat it. f**king insane.)

Also, as a young’un, I was really skinny for my height (about 132 lbs / 60kgs), but still thought I was fat (always had comparitively wide hips, big thighs/butt. Not ideal for a guy). I’m now somewhere around 270-280 lbs / 120-130kgs (don’t really weigh myself anymore). This happened REALLY fast, in the year or so after I started on anti-depressants. I’ve never been that healthy in my diet, and I had stopped exercising due to injury, but that was several years before, and nothing changed until I started the meds. Then I tanked up so fast I got stretch marks all over my waist/hips. (Again, not ideal for a guy, as I’d only ever heard of that with pregnant women).

Jumping a bit here, but was just thinking about the “family dinner” ritual…. I used to F**KING HATE having to go sit at the table and eat with them. Pretty sure in hindsight that they’d dominate the conversation etc. My mother seems to have a strange need to feel like she does everything for the family (cooking, serving, cleaning etc). Actually one of her little games over the years has been to bitch about not getting any help around the house. But if you offer to do something, you either get “No, it’s fine, I can do it”. Or if she DOES condescend to “let” you do something, she’ll nag about HOW you do it, bitch about it not being done “her way”, or whatever other s**t she can dream up.

………DEEEEEEEP breaths……

It kinda sucks to hate your own mother. But hey. It is what it is. (And as I think about it, it sucks much worse to hate yourself because you were indoctrinated by the twisted s**t your parents dumped on you your whole life.)

Nag, control, manipulate, dominate, belittle, withhold/withdraw, blame, guilt, shame, repress, walk around naked even after I’ve grown up…….

what a legacy. Really hope I’m not in contact with them when she dies. Because there’s no way in hell I’m going to get up at the funeral and pretend everything was great. My father would be even harder in some ways, cos I still want to make him proud etc. (long since given up on my mother). But he I guess throws enough scraps my way (despite doing nothing when I’d ask why my mother treated me like she does, even as a kid; and also joins in on the abuse at times) to keep me trying.

And hearing all the people who DO still participate in their bulls**t game of “let’s pretend” (ie help them believe they’re god’s gift to the universe) talk about how great they were at a funeral…. I think my head would quite possibly explode.

Ok, that’s probably not a particularly helpful path to go down right now.

I just remembered what you mentioned Kelly about using sex as a form of self-abuse. I kinda think that’s what I do with porn. (Only ever had two sexual relationships, but same thing there really.) Guilt, shame, condemnation, blah blah blah blah blah. Can’t ever imagine being in a “healthy” sexual relationship. Don’t have the first clue what that would look like. Actually, I feel the same way about ANY form of “healthy” relationship (emotional etc). Scared that I need to have a “healthy” relationship with MYSELF first….. and funnily enough, I can’t imagine what THAT would look like either. But I don’t want to be alone & miserable forever.

Oh well. I’m trying to make steps. VEEEERY, very little tiny baby steps…. but what the hell. I’m trying.

Ok typed myself to a standstill. Apologies if any of this is too graphic etc.

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Hi Mimi,

I meant to respond to your comment, but as you can see got ever so slightly carried away getting my own crap out. 🙂

Very sorry to hear about your class troubles. The first thing that popped into my head is that you ARE trying to handle this in an adult manner…. but when the person in the power position is the one acting like a child, it’s all but impossible to resolve things in an “adult” manner, no matter what you do. (That’s my opinion anyway – I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I think you should give yourself credit for TRYING to be an adult in this situation).

I’ve had a lot of trouble the few times I’ve tried studying since high school. I’m a very good musician (one of the very few areas I’ve got a healthy ego! 🙂 possibly a tad TOO healthy, but hey) and tried to do a certificate course in music a few years ago. I very strongly suspected going in that I’d find it really hard, because in my experience, “academics” in art/creative subjects all too often seem to be “blocked” creatives who take out their s**t on vulnerable youngsters who come into their world… one of the things I truly hate, because it should be FUN, and it’s SOOOOO easy to do huge damage to people who are trying to reveal themselves creatively etc.

Sorry, got a bit carreid away again there…. the point is, while I was there, I saw a WHOOOOLE lot of behavior from the lecturers that would make most 4 year olds say “dude, don’t you think that’s a bit immature??” So first of all, I want to validate that what you describe sounds EXTREMELY childish of your teacher.

And trying to stay aware of the “not giving advice” rule, but I wondered if there’s any kind of mediation/private complaints process that your school might have? (eg someone you could talk to about what’s happening, and perhaps get ideas about any alternatives to feeling like you have to drop the class?)

Maybe there’s another class you could join with a different professor. Or maybe other people have complained before, and one more will be the one that makes the powers that be pay attention and do something? Or maybe you could try to discuss your feelings with some of the other people in your class who seem to get picked on? (I used to do that quite a bit during my music studies. Didn’t really want to take things further, but it really helped me to at least discover I wasn’t the only one who thought some of the teachers were immature, arrogant jerks!) 🙂

I’m hoping that comes across as potential options you might not have considered, rather than advice or “you must do this” etc. Also, I fully understand if you’re not in the sort of place where you could consider anything other than getting out of there. I’ve done that many (actually, all but one) times when I’ve tried studying since school. Your mental health has to come first.

And as I think about it, I’ve had a strong tendency over my life to force myself to take a whooooole lotta s**t from people (family, friends, employers, teachers etc) and tried to force myself to “stand up” to it, or at least “not quit” etc (which is just self-abuse, really). So I hope that wasn’t coming out in my suggestions above. But I guess I just wanted to make them, in case you ARE in a place where you want to do something, but just couldn’t see any other options.

Damn I’m writing a lot today!

May I finish by saying that I’m really sorry to hear you’re going through this pain. And WHATEVER you choose to do, I support you in looking after yourself!

And for the record, I’d just like to point out that you must be very intelligent to be studying something like microbiology in the first place!!! I dropped out of science as soon as I could in high school (I was terrified of having to dissect something 🙂 ), so I have great respect for people who understand things that I basically have no idea about.

Take care of yourself!!

J

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J,
Thank you very much for your response, support, and insight. I feel like such a schmuck because I can’t just sit and take it. My anger seeps out in my actions; walking faster, fidgeting, doing physical action with more vigor…. the best way I can describe it anyhow. And, all these kids younger than me just sit and take it in stride. I’m like, what the heck?? Why am I the only one who wants to get up and slap this lady??? Well, I suppose, that’s partly because on the first lab day she did call me out as if she was speaking to the entire class, 5 times. That did not start me out on a good note. She’s called others out, I’d say half the students, 1-2 times each. Me?? 15-20 times total. She didn’t realize who she was dealing with though because my blood’s been boiling since that first lab day. Now, I’m in overflow. I am dropping the class. I have all the materials, notes, and textbooks I need to study up and test out of it. I’m thrilled at the thought of that.

Here is the beauty in it. I have told my husband all this since the beginning of the semester. Last night, we discussed me dropping and he agreed it was okay to do so. He got a little wound up about this teacher and he called her at home. She didn’t answer, so he left a voicemail that he would like to either speak with her or he would be speaking with the dean. She did not return his call, but, he is calling the dean today. All this to say, WHAT A BREAKTHROUGH FOR ME!! I was so grateful to have someone help me stand up for myself, validate my feelings, and go to bat FOR me. I had a huge revelation that NO ONE HAS EVER DONE THAT FOR ME!! It’s like the layers of an onion being peeled away when you’re trying to heal. This was another layer that exposed the fact I’ve never been protected by my mother, (or father, or step father), rather, she put me in a place where I needed to defend myself. It’s a double edged sword. Not only did my mother offer no protection, she was also the OFFENDER. WOW!! I feel so liberated today. Some weight has been lifted. I see how/why I would feel so bad when faced with an offense, no matter how I reacted. I knew I would find no help or support… an internal message. But, I had these feelings of needing to defend myself, which were also wrong. WHOA!! I am so thankful to be able to spill it all here in a safe place. I’m thankful for the listening ears and support I’ve found here. It’s my new refuge, and hope. I love it!! Thanks Darlene, and J, and everyone else who has had the courage to share and allowed their vulnerability to be exposed.
Mimi

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Hi Mimi!
Thank you for sharing the whole story here and then coming back with the breakthrough! I have an issue with teacher/bullies who seem to take their moods out on certain students as though that is an acceptable way to behave. Not professional at all! YAY for you for standing up to her, even in you had some tears well up. So what?? She is an example of the total misuse of power and control and she needs to be confronted. Yay for your husband for going to the Dean too.
About the other students not seeming to react… perhaps that are just that much more desensitized to things like that? We always assume that others are just letting it go, when in reality most of the time it’s just that they are conditioned to take it. Since the profs behaviour is WRONG then it stands to reason taking it is not the healthiest course of action .
Hugs!
Darlene

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Thanks Darlene!! I still feel a bit shattered inside; like I should have let it roll off, or, I made the wrong choice in being visibly angry!! I wish I could knew if people could actually tell I was angry, or if I was feeling like such a spectacle that I imagined everyone must know. Anyhow, thanks for the encouragement and showing me that it really doesn’t matter if she saw my tears, and confronting is OKAY when you’re being mistreated. I was taught anger is wrong, period. And, second to that, expressing my feelings, etc. I want to be in a place where there’s never any guilt, shame, or remorse for having an angry emotion and expressing it. I love your perspectives!!
Mimi

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Mimi,

at the moment I’ve got a smile because the word “schmuck” always seems funny to me… BUT YOU ARE NOT A SCHMUCK!!! Stupid professor is the schmuck.

SO AWESOME to hear you’ve found ways around all this mess! I’m not familiar with the term “overflow”, but it sounds like you get to finish the course without having to be around the teacher?

And btw, you mention your reactions vs the kids taking it in their stride — from what you describe, you’re the only one that’s being singled out & targeted for abuse! They may not feel comfortable standing up for you even if they’re uncomfortable with what the teacher’s doing in case they get picked on too. (Or the could be unaware, or not bothered so long as it’s not them).

But whatever it is, if you’re being abused, in my view it’s GOOD that you’re upset about it! (Not easy… not good that the abuse is happening… but good that you’re recognizing it!) I hope that makes sense.

And finally, may I give a huge “HELL YEAH!!!” for your hubby! 🙂 Your description makes it easy to get a feeling for how much that meant to you. I’m really glad for you!!! 🙂

(I fear I may be abusing the “smily face”… meh. Can’t have too many smiles, right?)

🙂

Ha. Take that, brain (for telling me I’m overusing smilies. I shall defy you by doing MORE smilies!!! Bwahahahaha….)

🙂 🙂 🙂

(apparently I’m in a silly mood today. Huzzah!)

Actually it’s very nice to have realized that… I had an appt today to view a potential place to live… well actually, I THOUGHT I did, but turns out it’s next week. I’ve been so stressed about it, that when I heard them tell me it’s next week I just started crying. (Embarrassing, but what can you do) Then when I got home I had a voicemail, and in checking it discovered I still had the voicemail from my worker saying it was TODAY…. >:(

So nice in a way to know it wasn’t me getting confused / stuffing it up etc. But been feeling quite frustrated as well. Which is ok. I’m allowed to be frustrated. So anyway, it was very nice to realize I’d forgotten about all that for a bit & ended up in a silly, happy mood!

One more smily for luck! 🙂

Thanks again for sharing!!

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Mimi
I could write chapters on how hard this was at first to speak up for myself. I felt SO wrong. and that too was the belief system; I had been taught that I was always wrong ~ that my feelings were wrong, that my memory was wrong etc. But the more that I dug down to expose the truth and the more I fought to honour it in my life, the stronger I got and the less difficult that standing up for myself has been. (I still get a slight adrenalin rush when I do this when the other person gets mad at me, but I don’t back down.!) p.s. and I don’t even get angry doing it anymore.
Yay for you!
Hugs, Darlene

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J,
The term overflow simply referred to my blood boiling and now it’s boiled over….. if that makes sense.

Darlene,
I welcome the days when I can confront without so much emotion attached. You’re an inspiration and I know there is hope that a day will come when I too can take a stand and not be angry doing it anymore.

My husband and I will see the Dean this coming week. It is something I’ve never done – blow the whistle so to speak. I’m not a complainer in a restaurant, or retail places, etc. I’m generally one to accept the circumstances. I don’t think i’ve ever asked to speak to a manager or the next higher up for any reason except on the phone when the person I was speaking with couldn’t help me, like the phone company or something. People butt in line, I just go with it. Rude cashier or salesperson, I just go with it. Soooo, all that to say, this is the first time I think I’ve ever gone above someone’s head in the chain of command. And, this isn’t exactly retail or restaurant, but something I think is much more serious. The more I recall things in this class, the more I think she had me spear headed from the beginning. She knew I was in the honor’s program and knew my GPA. I could be paranoid, but I believe she had a secret desire to slice me down a notch from the very beginning. If I had any confidence, she wanted to chop it into tiny bits. My education and grades is one of the few things I am confident about. Perhaps that threatened her. I know she’s had disciplinary action taken against her for failing too many students. All her tests have to be moderated/reviewed before she gives them. Her favorite thing to do is leave out a vital part of instruction in a lab class and watch everyone wander around aimlessly whispering to each other trying to figure out what to do. All the while she sits at her desk and gasps audibly at the ignorance among the students. She will then make comments like, “After a day like today, I don’t know where we’re going to be next week”, or “I’m afraid to say anything for certain right now”. I haven’t really figured all that crap out. She purposely sets us up to fail, then gets visibly and audibly frustrated if people don’t know what to do. And, you’d have to pay me a lot of money to convince me she doesn’t do it on purpose. I don’t know what she stands to gain, but apparently there’s some payoff because she does it nearly every lab day. Oh, well. I am about to blow the whistle so, wish me luck guys. And, as always, thanks for your support and insights!!
Mimi

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Hi Mimi,

thanks for clearing that up – I was thinking it might be some special class or something! 🙂 This part that you wrote seems very positive:

“I know she’s had disciplinary action taken against her for failing too many students. All her tests have to be moderated/reviewed before she gives them.”

…. in terms of, you’re obviously not the first one to have significant problems with her, and the “powers that be” obviously have her on a tight leash already, so at least you don’t have to be the first one to try and convince the people in charge that there’s a problem (potentially the hardest part in my view, particularly if they’re “head in the sand” kinda people).

BIG congrats on such a big & new decision for you! I really hope the dean is respectful to you in a difficult situation for you, and that you can find some positive solutions. All the best!!! 🙂

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Hi Mimi
The first time is the hardest. I have done this quite a bit now and here is something that helps me very much; write this stuff down in point form and take it to the meeting. All the things that this professor has done/said to you, write them out. (then you won’t forget things and the point form paper will help you stay calm. (and you won’t go home saying “OH I should have said this or that) I don’t think you are paranoid. If all this stuff is true that she has had to monitored because of past complaints, that take that as validation towards your feelings until you can validate yourself all the way. Let your past success in school speak for you here; a school never wants to lose its smartest students! You have my full support! visualize me CHEERLEADING over here! I am so proud of you Mimi! You are standing up to abuse and validating yourself! YAY
You go girl!
Hugs, (keep me posted!)
Darlene

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Darlene and J,
Thank you so much for the cheers!! I will take your experience Darlene, and write these specific events down so I’m prepared. I do believe she’s under these disciplinary guidelines with her testing because she actually said her tests are reviewed before they’re given. However, it was a classmate that said she was forced to do it, rather than a choice she made.

Something I haven’t forgotten – in January of this year I began a class with her but had a little catastrophe at home. I was unable to concentrate or study. I dropped the class. On the first day of that class, she handed out a homework assignment designed to see where you are in terms of time available to dedicate to work involved in the class. It also asked a few questions. 1) what grade do you expect to get? 2) how many hours do you expect to spend attaining that grade. I remember writing I expect to get an “A” and I will spend as many hours as it takes. Those were my answers. Of course she was looking for a number on that last question. Well, I dropped the class as I said, then, picked up Micro this past August. She again gave the same homework assignment with the time questions on it the first day of class. When she handed it out, and gave instructions on it, she said, “…. and ‘as many as it takes’ is not an acceptable answer”. In my heart of hearts, I really believe she remembered that was my answer from 8 months prior. It seems a little too coincidental to be random. She seems to get her own self worth by leaching it off of others and she’s definitely in a position to do so with young adults who are scared of her. I believe she did not like my determination, and set out to destroy it. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but, I’ve observed that she eats, breathes, sleeps, poops her job such that she’s a sort of mommy dearest. A favorite line of hers, “do we have our listening ears on?” I haven’t heard that since kindergarten. I would guess she’s in her early 70’s. She wears no wedding band, and has no children. She admittedly spends 12 hours a day most days of the week, at the college. That said, I think she did study me a little and perhaps even subconsciously, decided it was her job to destroy my determination and confidence. So, anyhow, a few more bits of the story. Thanks for listening!!
xoxo
Mimi

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Hi Mimi
Mimi, this is GREAT processing. This is the stuff that I still do in order to get down to the truth about how I know it isn’t me. I look at all these facts together. (where as before I looked at them as individual events, all of which could be “excused” because one alone was no big deal. I had learned to do it that was as a child survival technique. This is all great information and makes a “whole picture” of what you have been dealing with.
She is wrong! She sounds like a major bully.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks for directing me here, Darlene! Wow! I am a passive aggressive person. have been for as long as i can remember. I too get angry for other people but have a hard time being angry for myself. I get angry AT myself, but because of what I did, not what was done to me. I internalize EVERYTHING.
Got lots of thinking to do.

92

Well, today is the day. I’m fairly nervous to go speak to the dean. Thankfully my husband will be there. He’s not nervous at all. He has spent a lot of time as a university student in his life. He says this is unacceptable and he hasn’t experienced this kind of thing as a university student. I attend a community college. The teacher I was under has often talked about when she taught at a university. I tell myself in my small mind, “I bet she was fired”. Who knows if she was; makes me feel better. In a short 8 hours, I will be facing the giants!! Perhaps I should take it easy on the coffee today. 🙂

93

YAY Mimi
you go woman! I am so proud of you. I am excited to hearing about the outcome! I would be nervous too, but like you, that would not stop me!
Hugs, Darlene

94

Thanks Darlene!! I would like your opinion on something if you happen to see this and have time to respond. I have been employed by the college in the past as a biology lab assistant to three different professors. Do you think I should bring that into the conversation, or is that really unrelated. I’m thinking if I don’t know how to follow directions (which she said to me), it would be tough to assist other professors and their students in their labs. I just don’t want to appear to be tooting my own horn, or saying, “look what I did” as if it would make her appear more guilty. Thanks so much for your support and insight!!
Hugs to you too!!

95

Hi Mimi
Yes I think that it makes sense to include that info. It is great and shows your track record so to speak. Having said that ~ Don’t get too caught up in trying to “prove” that you are right about this. KNOW that you are right about this. Own it! You are right ~ people really get that message when you yourself know that this is unfair treatment. The professor is WRONG in her treatment of you. period. (like your husband says ~ it didn’t happen to him)
HUGS!!! and love!

96

Darlene,
Thanks for your advice and unrelenting support!! The points you’ve made are very sound and I’m taking them with me. I know you hear “thank you” a lot. But, seriously, this is a monumental thanks from me!!
Love to you too!!
Mimi

97

Mimi
Can one hear thank you too much???? LOL I appreciate it!
I have found this whole exchange rather inspiring!
Hugs, Darlene

98

Darlene, and anyone else following the “saga” :),
My husband and I went to the dean this afternoon. He was suprisingly genuine and personable. He listened and took notes, then asked what I expected the outcome from the meeting to be. I said, I’ve not sought a reprimand, or to get her fired, but I would be very satisfied with a mere apology. He said, “I don’t think that will happen”. I said, yes, I’m aware, and I know exactly why – PRIDE!! He told me that college policy is such that I can’t test out of the class because I’ve actually partially taken the class. UGH…. really blew a hole in my plan. He did listen intently, he acknowledged my senses were right beneath, or perhaps oozing out of my skin, he actually said, (when I got tears!! UGH) let’s take some steps to try to work through your feelings and see if we can come to a conclusion. He first suggested I go talk to her. I wanted to say, “Bahahaha!” I said, I don’t ever want to see her again. He said, maybe you could go back to class, she won’t make it hell on you, (because I’d already said she would) and focus on catching up on what you missed, there are only two weeks left, and you will have wasted your time thus far. He also said, I’d like to see you try to finish it out, and put the injuries aside for the few weeks you have left. He said he knew my grade and if I got a “C” on the remainder of the tests I could end with a “C” – HUGE injury to my grades, from a personal perspective of course. He said, one “C” in a long string of “A’s is nothing. So, all things considered, it went well, he listened intently, which is often what I need, he did say he would talk with her, and he encouraged me to put my education above all else, just for a few weeks. I am satisfied with the way the meeting went…. no more, or no less. I have some things to think about now. I can go back to class friday if I decide to. It’s a big decision because 1)I’m behind now and the work would be mind boggling, 2)I still can’t stand the woman!! I think I will start by emailing her and “being heard” again. See what kind of response I get from her, and go from there. I intend to hold her fully accountable though. I did ask him what I’m supposed to do when she refuses to answer questions. He didn’t really have an answer for that except the class is designed to force you to think critically. I explained that if I forgot a directive she gave nearly 2 hours prior, there is simply nothing I can do about it. No matter how critically I think, it’s not going to magically appear in my brain. In addition, that’s not what critical thinking is about. Anyhow, all that to say, I am actually mulling over the idea of returning since I can’t test out. I too hate to waste the whole semester and have to pay and retake the class all over again somewhere else, likely an hour away. Ugh… decisions, decisions!! I will update after I shoot her an email of my thoughts. If she shows even a minute amount of humanity, I might consider returning. I’ll keep you posted and as always, thanks to all who have supported my efforts. It means so much!
xoxo,
Mimi

99

I will try to make this as short as possible. After sleeping on the logical side of the story, I woke with an idea to pitch to the dean. So, I sent an email asking permission to skip the lecture classes for the remainder of the semester, and attend only lab days (there are only two of those left). I told him I have contacts within the class that I can rely on for lecture notes and recordings. I cannot believe it…..HE AGREED!!!! I can finish the semester without having to see that woman three days a week. Only two more times and that’s it. I view that as a victory because the Micro class will still be behind me in the end. I will likely end with a “C” letter grade, but as I pointed out to the dean, a “C” among a long string of straight “A’s” is a reflection of the professor, not the student!! Whoa…. I’m really pleased with this outcome. And, of course, thanks for your support!!
Mimi
ps – he offered to let me take any remaining tests in the testing center they have on campus as well. I hadn’t even asked for that!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!

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Hi Mimi
That is awesome! Talk about getting a clear solution! wow.
I suspect that the Dean (from what you shared before) was willing to do anything that didn’t involve HIM having to get involved and confront that proff.
YAY for you ~ excellent victory! Thanks for the updates!
Hugs, Darlene

101

Hi Mimi,

that’s so awesome to hear!! Really happy that this has worked out so well for you! 🙂

(I don’t know if you’re into the simpsons, but I’m picturing Homer doing his “WOOOOOOP WOOP WOOP!” while running in circles on the floor routine!)

PS I’m not feeling very awake today — I only just noticed where you wrote about one low grade being a reflection on the professor not the student — LOVE IT!!! 🙂 Way to send the blame where it belongs!!!

Now I’ve got “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper running through my head, complete with “NO MORE CLASSES NO MORE BOOKS NO MORE TEACHER’S DIRTY LOOKS!” hehehe

my brain is random today!

102

Thanks Darlene and J!!
I love having this new support!! J, I do feel like Homer, haha. All my work for the semester won’t be wasted so I’m happy about that. I hope I don’t have to endure any crap for those two lab days. I just keep telling myself it’s only 4 hours of contact. She negated everything I said to the Dean, but, I don’t even care now. I think if he really believed her lies, he wouldn’t accomodate my requests. It turned out better than expected so I’m happy about that. Thanks again for showing the LOVE!!
Mimi

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🙂

Quite glad you knew what I was talking about – that would seem a very strange sentence I’d written if not!

I just thought with regards to the lab days, a technique I read about in a book called “If you have controlling parents” (by Dan Neuharth) popped into my mind — (I’m going from memory here btw)

Basically it was to try to be prepared in advance for the usual techniques of the professor (in your case) and to be very aware of any controlling/manipulating etc behavior by her as it’s happening.

The point (as I understood it) was to almost be a step removed from it, and just to keep track of it (eg “oh, she just pretended not to hear my question” or “she ignored my hand up to answer her question several times”), so that it’s almost like a game to count how many times she behaves badly, and hopefully help yourself not to automatically react/respond with self-blame or doubt etc.

I’m not sure if I’ve explained that very well, and I don’t mean to be overly pessimistic, but in some ways it would seem to me that she may well respond with even more bad behavior due to you standing up for yourself (this seems to be a favorite of my mother). And I think for me, it’s helped at times to try and keep myself very aware of when she’s acting badly so I can be more proactive in naming her behavior for what it is, and it does seem to help me in terms of not just automatically letting my brain blame myself or get upset/down without even really noticing why.

Anyway I’m really glad that whatever happens, only 4 hours to go!!! Must be such a relief compared to before! I hope I haven’t been a downer for you in assuming the professor might react badly, but from what you describe, maturity doesn’t exactly seem to be one of her strong points. Also hope I wasn’t being too advice-y/preachy above. I guess I figure better to go in prepared!

Take care of yourself & may I point out again how AMAZINGLY AWESOME it is that you’ve stood up for yourself!!! (Especially given the positive outcome, but to my mind, the “standing up” part would’ve been a huge positive regardless of the outcome)

104

J,
Thanks for your input. I always welcome all input since I’m at a place in life where good decisions, confidence, and stability all seem to elude me. Being brought up in what I now believe was incredible shame, it’s really really difficult to know if you’re saying or doing what’s right or helpful. Any posts help me feel grounded instead of floating above like a helium balloon, not really being tied to anything. So, thanks to you and everyone else for that.

My husband has the opinion that she won’t bother me. He thinks we rattled her cage enough that she will be on her best behavior. I don’t view your post as pessimistic, but realistic. I know just about anything is possible, and I hope to be fully prepared for anything when I go to lab next week. I like the suggestion from your book. I would LOVE the thought of being removed from the emotions she stirs, at least until I can get out of the classroom. It has occurred to me to fire back at her. An example would be one time she said, “what did I tell you to do with the urine cultures?” That was a non answer she gave me when I asked her to remind me what she said to do with them. If something like that happens again, I’ll simply say, well, if I knew that, I wouldn’t ask. However, I don’t plan to ask any questions, period. Just move through it with my eye on the prize. I’ll keep you posted on how the lab goes next week! As always, thanks a gazillion….. for everything!!
Mimi

105

Well, one lab day down, one to go, and she started to talk to me like an idiot, and caught herself. I had to get approval for one lab assignment, so I had to speak to her, otherwise I would have been as invisible as possible. Anyhow, she started with “the look/tone” and quickly upgraded to the tone she uses with her favorite students. One encounter and that was it. So, all is well that ends well… for today. Only one left to go!! YaY!!!

106

I stuffed anger inside me for decades, first because it was unsafe to show it and later because it wasn’t “Christian” to not “forgive and forget”. I would smile off her attacks or I would overeat as though I was stuffing my feelings down with the food. Then one fine day when I wasn’t doing anything in particular a red-hot rage swept over me and literally shook my body. I was frightened by the intensity of it. It became crystal-clear to me that I was angry, who I was angry at, and how much. Now I’ve gone LC, and when I do see her, I endure her comments and lies (what else can I do? Any defense of mine would be met by even more attacks) and get angry on the way home.

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Yes , anger is a difficult emotion to recognize when it has been forbidden and suppressed all your life. As a child I dared not express anger , the results that came with expression were horrifying and resulted in more abuse , so anger insidiously expressed itself using many circuitous outlets.Two books that have helped me deal with this issue are : “The Angry Book” by Rubin and ” The Dance of Anger” by Lerner…both excellent tools.Everyday I feel stronger, more capable and at peace with myself. I am trying to heal and change lifelong habits and am better at accepting my imperfections.I am standing up for myself and being my own best friend. 🙂

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[…] I agree that anger is useful and that anger is often justified, but I had a pretty big problem with feeling any anger and expressing it was out of the question. I had to look at WHY I had that issue in the first place […]

109

I can relate in my healing process I felt guilty for feeling angry, as you said Darlene a survival skill was not to get angry as not to get killed. Those unspoken boundaries. I find rage coming out of me now. I’m going with it because it has never come out and needs to in a constructive way not on other people. Louise Hayes has an excellent audiobook on a meditation to release anger I’ve been listening to it telling all the abusive people everything you wanted to say but couldn’t because we were children. Just another layer to come off in our efforts to claim our love self respect and being the women we are meant to be. Blessings to all of you!

110

Whenever I am angry at my “loving” maternal grandmother and father, the following things would pop up in my mind:
-You are putting shame to the family.
*Every once in a while, my maternal grandmother would brag about how she was raised in a family with good manners and right conduct. One time, she just had to gloat about my cousin (Good bloke he is) and his good behaviour, stating: “Oh he takes after me and my sister’s clan.” (Hate to break it to you grandma, but you are not part of the supposedly good people that you have placed on a pedestal, if your actions towards me and everyone else are to be considered).
*So obviously, if I stand up to them, grandma will be like oh Carlos didn’t take after me (Good? I am glad to not be anything like you).
-You are stooping down to their level, you are just like them.
*If standing up to bad behaviour is unacceptable, then what does that make the behaviour we are constantly standing up to? Just and honourable?
-You are too sensitive, you drama queen (These are actually my Dad’s thoughts on my reactions, but anyway).
*What do you want me to do when you say my dreams are worthless? Throw a party and hold up a gold plated “THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING” sign? NO!!
-God won’t like what you are doing.
*Because Filipinos are so “religious” standing up for yourself and being angry is a guaranteed ticket to hell.
-Think about what your mother will feel, if she sees you standing up for yourself in whatever way possible.
*My mother raised me to be good yes, but I don’t think my mother raised me to be naive and stupid either.
*My mother fought for my sister and I when our maternal grandmother lashed out on us, unlike our father who “tagged along” with mother-in-law dearest (Sometimes I can’t help but think, is my Mom really my grandmother’s daughter?).
*For Mom to stand up to the person who raised her, oh words can’t even express how lucky my sister and I are.

Disregarding all of these thoughts was a really hard thing to do (With doubt still constantly kicking in every once in a while), but when I decided to throw them all away and let whatever rage I felt, that is when it felt so much better. Given that my anger may have upped my blood pressure a bit, well heck it could have been worse if I had just let it remain within my system and consume what’s left of the me that I wanted to be. My anger is out of place? So are your “supposedly good” actions. Oh you had a horrible past? I am sorry, I didn’t know that you could use that as an excuse to put people down, hit them and ridicule them. Oh that must make me so horrible to, as I am standing up to both of your actions in the present and the past. I may not have a “stars and stripes” kind of childhood and family, but I never used that as an excuse to govern my actions good or bad. My anger is justified and deserves to be recognised. That is the approach to any form of “loving” treatment from now on and if God will be angry at me, um don’t even for a second think that he will be giving you a round of applause for hitting your son for not being able to open the packaging of an EU adapter Dad. Or do you really think he’ll be proud of you when you shame your grandchildren grandma?

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I had a different response to the emotion of anger. I was angry most of the time. I remember sitting in a class (?middle school) and my hands were clenched tight into fists. I often had headaches from the stress and I had nightmares regularly. Since I had no outlet for my anger and the pain of my life, because both parents did not want to deal with the dysfunction (alcohol, covert sexual abuse, neglect, other undercurrents like…was my father cheating?…why was my mother so secretive?….) and they didn’t really “do” emotions and engagement with me was limited (again, emotional neglect), I was left alone to deal with them and myself. For a long time I was just constantly irritated with them, and I would take it out on random others with subtle put-downs or a peeved air about me. Small inconveniences annoyed me all day long. I was moving through my day in a perturbed state of mind. Not at all fair to people who didn’t deserve it and I am ashamed about my lack of control. Once I reached my 20s and beyond, I would have outbursts with my mother when we argued about why she wouldn’t be a support for me in the face of my father’s sexual abuse. I found her belief system damaging and couldn’t face it, so I cried, fumed, and got angry with her in the hopes that she would change.

I’m not nearly as irritable now, though with my mother I can still be triggered easily. I have more skills for communicating, and more self-awareness for when to step away and just be alone for a while if I’m in that bad of a mood. But angry I was — very angry. Thankfully, therapy helped me label my emotions, sift through my experience in detail, gain insight and put words to what was happening, and provide lots and lots of support. One therapist told me it was probably my feistiness that got me through my childhood. I almost felt like I wouldn’t survive it.

A little off topic but related: I can’t remember exactly what happened when I was 1, 2, 3 years old….but I do know that my bed was upstairs in the attic and my mother left it to my sister to hear me if I needed something. I have some sort of emotional memory of being left alone. I think this is a very deep and scarring memory and may have happened over and over. I don’t think there are any photos of my mother holding me, or maybe one. This is striking because my parents took lots of photos and my mother painstakingly put together photo albums. My mother later said “well that house was small” but I still think it’s very disengaged to be two floors away from your toddler. We moved several times before I was five and I’m sure this disruption didn’t help me feel secure.

I was kept in a crib until about age six or seven. I recall feeling ill in my crib and trying to call out but I couldn’t call loud enough and no one came. By age 4 I was pulling my hair out of one side of my head — I remember!, and around ages 6-9 I was sexually acting out. My mother thought that I needed a “nap” well until I was 10,11,12 or later…either I take one or go to bed at 7:30 (the break was really for her). By my teens I was having nightmares all the time, and was very tense.

So there is the infant and child inside of me who is raging at being left alone and terrified of abandonment. While I crave closeness and an intimate relationship, I don’t know if I would be very good at keeping it because I can get insecure and be quick to anger.

If anyone has managed to be in an intimate relationship after going through abuse and neglect I would like to know how you feel secure, how you deal with anger, etc.

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