Is There Such a Thing as Justifiable Anger for Victims of Child Abuse?By
“Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about? Anger is justifiable in this situation!” Darlene Ouimet
The quote came from one of my recent blog posts about spiritual abuse when the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame victims of abuse, and I wrote it in the context of explaining the abuse tactic of being told what God would expect you to do or what would make God proud of you according to what abusive controlling, manipulative people want you to do, which has nothing to do with God OR his/her expectations of you.
For many of the readers, this quote was validating. But for others it was upsetting. As I read through the comments it became clear to me that the word “justifiable” was the primary culprit that triggered so many reactions. Apparently, the idea of “justifiable anger” upsets a lot of people.
Some people believe that justifiable anger is dangerous and inappropriate. This quote is about standing up to abusive people and how those people reacted to me standing up to them to and the control tactics that are used in abusive relationships to keep a victim in the web. As most of you know I have a passion for the topic of parent abuse which seems to be an even bigger hot button. The quote exposes spiritual abuse, and the controlling and manipulative people I am referring to, happen to be my parents. BUT as soon as I mentioned “justifiable anger” the meaning of the quote was lost to some of the readers. The meaning of the quote lost its purpose and its importance because a “fear belief” was triggered.
The people who reacted in fear over that phrase “Justifiable Anger” jumped straight to the conclusion that everyone who is angry will act out inappropriately with that anger and they started lecturing about those inappropriate actions as though it was for certain that anyone who feels they have a right to BE angry will do something with their anger that will cause harm.
People disagreed with my quote as though they thought I was saying that people who get physically violent are justified although I would never advocate for abuse of any kind. And it is interesting to note that when people jump to the conclusion that all anger leads to physical violence it for some reason reminds me of other arguments where people have validated a parents right to be physically violent with their children which puts the whole concept of this post into a different context.
It is also important to note here that standing up to someone or confronting someone to address their abusive, controlling or discounting behavior towards you ~ ISN’T abusive.
And then the topic of FORGIVENESS entered into the discussion! These commenters told everyone to skip over the anger and jump straight to forgiveness. This is exactly what happens in toxic dysfunctional family systems; the victim of the offence isn’t even allowed to be angry, but the perpetrator of the offence gets to DO the offence, and then gets forgiven for it without ever acknowledging what they did or even expressing any remorse. When does the target of their nasty behavior ever get a say and why are we told that we don’t get a say? Just thinking about the TRUTH about this concept makes me angry because it causes so much harm.
One of the roadblocks that I encountered on the healing journey was that although I didn’t realize it at a conscious level, I believed that ‘anger’ was ‘bad’. I believed that anger was dangerous and that it was wrong and would ultimately only lead to the wrong path.
It was really important for me to take a closer look at the issue of anger especially in the context of emotional healing. In order to answer the question “is anger justifiable?” I had to take a look at a few of the facts and details. My belief system didn’t change until I looked at why it was the way it was.
First of all, I looked at what I had been taught about anger. Growing up I had seen a teacher get angry and emotionally abuse and humiliate children in front of the entire class. I was one of those children and the way she communicated to all of us was that HER anger was caused by our doing. So I learned that I caused her anger. I accepted the blame for HER anger and I was also told that I was to respect my teacher. Her anger at me was validated by the adults in my life.
I also learned that there was a consequence to being angry. I didn’t want to be ‘like them’ so I stuffed my anger.
Then there was my mother; when she got angry the leather strap came out and there was a beating to follow. We also got banished (rejected) to our rooms where we were segregated from each other. Like the teacher my mother also communicated to me that HER anger was caused by me and again I learned both sides of anger; I tried NOT to make anyone angry because of the consequences of doing that, AND I tried not to be angry because that would make me ‘like them’. At the same time I trying to cope with living with all those mixed messages about why they had permission to be angry but for me it was a sin?
The message that I got about anger as a child was actually; don’t make anyone angry no matter what because the price that I paid (when someone else got angry) was way too high.
This ALSO explains why I was trying so hard to avoid my own anger. Just think about it for a minute; anger, all the way around, was dangerous! I was afraid of anger for many reasons. So how could I believe that anger was a necessary emotion? How could I have ever seen ‘anger’ as justifiable? If I justified anger for me, how could I not justify it for the people that were taking their anger out on ME? I had to sort through the truth about all that because my false belief system, the one I had been brainwashed and groomed to believe was the truth, had to be overcome.
So ~ Setting ALL of that information aside, I looked at what I had to be angry about and left them and all their rules that applied to me but not to them ~ out of it;
Here are a few quick facts about my life starting in childhood and progressing into adulthood;
~my childhood was full of fear; fear of being sexually abused, fear of being hit, fear of being rejected, ridiculed, shamed and inferior.
But it wasn’t just the fear of those things ~ those things were my reality. That was ME those things happened to and I was being told that anger was wrong and that I had no right to it. The word ‘justified’ was banished from my vocabulary if it was linked with the word ‘anger’.
Growing up with all this brainwashing, abuse and neglect at the hands of my parents taught me that I didn’t have the same rights as other people and then my adulthood consisted of me being a servant to everyone else’s desires. In childhood I was trained to put my own wants and needs aside in order to serve the wants and needs of others and deep down I was frustrated that those ‘others’ were never expected to put aside any of their wants or needs, at least not when it came to me. There was no equal value or equal regard for me at all. Those ‘others’ somehow had a different set of relationship rules than the ones that they assigned to me and there is nothing that makes sense about that but due to the grooming process and brainwashing ~ I didn’t know how messed up that system actually was. No one communicated through the actions of REAL love, true respect, or real fairness. It was up to me to see and validate the real truth.
I have a right to be angry. I was a kid, I was a person, I was a woman, I was stripped of my childhood and my right to equal value. I was harmed, I was not protected from harm, and people targeted their frustrations and anger at me. I was not permitted to have feelings. My parents invalidated me as well and they defended abusers. I think that being angry is understandable. I think that in cases like this, anger IS justified.
So you tell me ~ is there such a thing as justifiable anger? What do you think about this? Please share your thoughts. The subject of anger is a really big one when it comes to healing from trauma or childhood wounds but facing the truth about this opened a whole new path to healing for me!
P.S. I received a boat load of email over the blog post that this quote came from (Spiritual Abuse; When the Name of God is used to Guilt and Shame) from people who I suspect didn’t even bother to READ the post, but wanted to ‘save my soul’ by enlightening me about the ‘true meaning’ of forgiveness. Some people believe that if I want to write about forgiveness while exposing abuse and abusers ~ then I must NOT have forgiven and I must not understand what forgiveness actually is. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen with this post as well. Thanks in advance for reading this post and the one the quote is referring to, before you comment against my point. My salvation is not what’s in question here.
Looking forward to the discussion on this one!
Exposing Truth, one snapshot at t time,
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