Dec
09

What Is My Anger Telling Me? By Christina Enevoldsen

By

Overcoming Sexual Abuse

I am excited to have my good friend and guest blogger Christina Enevoldsen from “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” writing once again for Emerging from Broken today while I am enjoying my vacation in Mexico.  As always please feel free to add your comments, share your experiences and post your feedback in the comments section following Christina’s article.

Darlene Ouimet, founder of emerging from broken

What is My Anger Telling Me?  by Christina Enevoldsen

I used to have a persistent fantasy of stabbing my mother in the face. It came to me in sudden flashes accompanied by adrenaline surges.  The recurring image of something so horrific was quite disturbing.  I’d never consider doing anything like that; blood makes me nauseous and even hurting someone’s feelings bothers me.  If I imagined doing something like that, did it make me like my abusers? 

                                                                             It was hard to admit something so awful, even to myself.  I was taught not to ‘entertain negative thoughts’ and conditioned to judge my anger.  The prescribed method for handling such unpleasantness was to ignore it and to think about nice things—nice things like envisioning treating my mom to a facial or stroking her hair.  Imagining loving things while I had so much anger flowing through me was impossible. The frequency and intensity of those thoughts wouldn’t allow me to discount them. Besides, I’d closed my eyes to things long enough and that wasn’t getting me anywhere. I had to face those awful images head-on.  

 I had to own my desires, face them without criticizing myself and find out their source.

Where did that come from?  What purpose did the desire serve?  What was the significance of destroying my mother’s face?  The fantasy was an important clue in my healing process.  By examining it closely, I discovered the reasons why. 

 I remembered an incident from my childhood sexual abuse.  I was alone with my dad in my parent’s bedroom. My mom took great care in decorating the whole house, but especially their room.  The bedding matched the drapes, which coordinated with the carpet.  Everything was specially chosen.  I sat on the edge of a raised platform that was designed to elevate their bed and make it the focal point of the room. My dad sat on the floor across from me with his collection of Playboy magazines spread out next to him. During the abuse, I looked up at the drapes and thought, even in my fourth grade mind, that appearances were all that mattered to my mom. She could make the house look like a palace, but it would always be a dungeon to me.

 My mom was more interested in image than reality. She chose the happy family facade rather than protecting me. My slashing fantasy was an expression of my hated for her effort to make everything look nice, rather than making it nice.  Her face represented the image that was so important to her. 

 By ignoring the unpleasant, scary flashes, and replacing them with more acceptable images, I was doing the same thing my mom did—I was decorating over the horror.  My desire was a messenger, communicating my specific area of hurt.  Paying attention to my anger allowed me to resolve it.  The only way to resolve it was to acknowledge it and clean it out. 

 Once I identified where my anger was coming from, it was easier to process it in a healthy way.  I expressed my anger by journal writing, letter writing, (some I sent and some I didn’t), talking it out with friends, crying, shouting and pounding my bed.  I worked through it until I didn’t feel anything. I haven’t thought about hurting my mom in a long time.  Facing the ugly feelings was one of the best things I did for myself.  It helped me to empty out another layer of anger and take another step in healing. 

 Christina Enevoldsen

 Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and three grandchildren.

Categories : Mother Daughter

35 Comments

1

Christina – You told me something with a similar message behind it when I first met you, and it made a HUGE difference in my healing process. I had asked you how to deal with a thought that kept coming back for me and you told me that the best way to get it to go away was to face it head on. It really worked. When I saw how simple healing could be I jumped into the process head first and haven’t looked back. Thanks for sharing what works for you because it has helped so many of us to heal along with you.

2

Jennifer,
Facing things head on is the only way I know to heal and YES you sure did jump in head first! I’m glad that made such a difference for you, too. The usual things that we try to hide from or run away from–all the things that trigger us and the “negative” emotions that go with them can all be used (and are designed to be used) as our healing aids. Thanks for your comment!
Big Hugs, Christina

3

Identifying my anger has help me to realize that I am really not a psycho-path in the making. Thank you for sharing this post because it sheds light upon the reality that my thoughts were related to some very valid anger issues. It is amazing when we dissect an emotion instead of just relying on it what we can learn from it and how we can let it go. For when we question it then we can get to the root of it.

4

Christina, the sentence that really hit me was “My desire was a messenger, communicating my specific area of hurt. Paying attention to my anger allowed me to resolve it.” I love that. I used to feel so guilty for any negative feelings I had towards anyone. With one guy I dated, I used to feel so annoyed that he paid all this special attention to his cat. I realized later that it was because he would be so emotionally shut down with me, but then he would be giving all this affection to his cat and deep down it really bothered me. There are always reasons for my feelings. Thanks for writing so honestly and transparently Christina. ~Carla

5

Nikki,
Yes, it’s so comforting to know you’re not a psycho-path in the making! LOL! I can completely relate to that. I used to be so ashamed or afraid of those types of feelings and that’s when they were the most dangerous. Now that I accept them for what they are–signals to me– I’m not ashamed or afraid of them. Yay for us facing those feeling and processing them!
Hugs, Christina

6

So anyway, there I was in the garden, just pulling a few weeds, and I got really, really angry at one of my abusers. I wanted to KILL. I got so scared of my strong emotion that I thought I ought to call 911 and ask them to come and take me somewhere that I couldn’t hurt anyone. The feeling slowly subsided (and it has never come back), but it left me shaken. I realized that I was more than irritated, or annoyed, or ticked off, I was enraged at how this person had treated me over the years, and I was denying it.

Some weeks later I was doing dishes and I was in a suicidal fog, wondering how much of an accident it would look if I swam out too far in a lake to make it back. My abuser came up the driveway and something happened, not ready to share now, that made her angry and zoom back down the driveway and me screaming an obscenity at her, something I had never, ever done before. My children were absolutely shocked, but for some reason I was so relaxed I wanted to melt onto the floor. I went back to washing dishes, and realized the fog was gone. It was a crucial point in time for me, because I realized that the rage I had felt in the garden had expressed itself throughout my life as depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.

It was that day that I began to heal emotionally. That day I called my anger what it was and began to learn to deal with it in a healthy manner.

7

Carla,
That cat example is such a good one. I used to feel so guilty for those kinds of things too! I’d berate myself for resenting perfectly normal behavior in someone else without even considering why I felt that way. We feel what we feel for a reason and it’s only by acknowledging our feelings in a non-judgmental way and examining them, that we really grow. Pretending we don’t have those feelings makes us LOOK better and healthier, but it keeps us in the same unhealthy patterns. To truly grow, we have to be honest and transparent with ourselves. Thanks for sharing such a great example!
Hugs, Christina

8

Christina, thanks for sharing that – it is powerful. I have at different times had violent images in my head too. It still scares me because I still get angry when I have to communicate or engage with my abusive ex, although I try to go “No Contact”. Still not sure what all the anger means. I think it is of being lied to, manipulated, treated as a fool, being oppressed, taken hostage, etc. It is like trying to shake off someone trying to shackle you. After a while, you get violent if the captor doesn’t hear you.
And he always had a way of making me the abuser because I couldn’t always hide the anger. But Nikki’s statement is so true – when we can get to the root of it, we know that we are not the psychopath. However, he never wanted to get to the root of his rages – it was all too hard and he didn’t like the inference that there was anything wrong in battering a wife.

9

Christina,

Thank you. When I started on this journey in healing, I did it alone. I didn’t know what to do, or how to do it. But one thing I did do, that helped me was to face it head on. I figured that the only way to get the bad memories and voices out of me was to find out where they came from. What was linked to what. In doing this it has become so much easier in my healing process.

I’ve always been a dreamer and have envisioned many things that were not pleasant and seemed to be the opposite of who I was. I am not someone who would purposely hurt a fly, but in healing, I was amazed at how many things were centered around killing someone. I knew it wasn’t me, I knew I wouldn’t do the things I was thinking, and I didn’t want them in my mind. I didn’t like thinking about them. The only way I could rid myself of them was to face them and get to the reasons why.

Thanks for a great blog. Again you are spot on and I know it will be helpful to many. It sure helps me.

((patty)

10

Christina,

Excellent post, thank you for sharing it. It really really got me thinking about the dynamics of ‘appearances matter first’ in my family – both sides for my grandparents and the lessons my parents also learned and worked so hard to make a reality. It didn’t matter how hurt, sad, scared, tired, mad, isolated or full of despair someone was – as long as things looked good on the surface. As long as they could support the illusion they do whatever it takes. In the house, in social circles, in the yard it didn’t matter.

I have so many memories which trigger anger that I’ve done just what you suggested and dealt with them straight on. I’ve reconciled myself to the outward perfection of my grandma’s house and her desperate love with the addiction and abuse by my grandfather. I’ve still got a ways to go with my own parents and their ongoing desire to ensure and enforce the appearances rule.

Thanks Christina for sharing, and bless you!

11

Christina, I like the way you talk about using the repeating thoughts to guide you to understanding that this was something that you were ready to face. It took me a long time to realize that when something kept coming up over and over that my brain was telling me it was time to face it and resolve it. Until I learned to do what you describe – using writing, talking it out until it was done being talked out, shouting….my anger always showed up in other ways that could be classified as “a danger to self or others”. Today I can recognize when I’m ready to resolve something when it keeps coming up instead of denying or avoiding it like I’d done in the past. Great post…thank you for sharing your insight and process!

12

Anonymous,
YES!!!!! I’m overjoyed to hear that. So many well-intentioned and not so well-intentioned people tell us things like anger will poison you and that blame is unproductive. Those sound right but following that leads to exactly what you described. Until we place the blame and anger on the abuser, we’ll take it out on ourselves. The truth sets us free, but lying to ourselves about anger will sure bind and kill us. I’m glad you’ve been set free!
Hugs, Christina

Krissy,
I can identify with so much of what you said about your ex. When I was still married to my ex, I was the one who looked like the abuser because of his crazy-making behavior. He was always very calm and cool, but sometimes I’d burst into rages. I never hurt anyone except myself, but it looked like I was going crazy.

One of the things that helps me figure out what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it is writing. My pen and paper is my own private therapist and so many insights come out that way. We have a series on the benefits of writing on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website. This link is to the one I wrote and there’s a link from it to some of the actual examples of things I’ve written, so I show my process of pouring out the problem and expressing my feelings and discovering the solution. http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/10/14/writing-my-power-tool-for-rebuilding-after-abuse/

13

Patty,
Your statement really hit me: “I figured that the only way to get the bad memories and voices out of me was to find out where they came from.” Yes, they come from someplace! I think I always thought I was generating such awful thoughts because there was something wrong with me, that I was evil or something. I didn’t ever consider that they actually had an origin. Just that one truth alone freed me of so much fear and condemnation. Thanks for sharing, my friend!
Hugs, Christina

14

Over the years I’ve imagined many things I’d like to do to my abusers for them to experience the pain that they put me through. But no matter how much I fantasize I know I’d never act on the thoughts because no matter what I did to my abusers – it would never be enough – because I endured so much at their hands. And all that happens is that the fantasies goes round and round my head and go nowhere.

There were two phrases that stood out to me – the first being “She could make the house look like a palace, but it would always be a dungeon to me.”

My parents [abusers] were forever redecorating the house. The only room that never got touched was my tiny bedroom. Everywhere else in the house was done but never my room. It was like my room didn’t matter, my room was invisible or not worthy in some way. But that house was my prison, my bedroom and living room were my torture chambers. They’re still living in that house now – to me it is a house of horrors, a house full of secrets, dark secrets. To me that house will always be my prison, my torture chamber.

I stood outside the house late one night 8 1/2 years ago when I was back up North in my hometown visiting a friend who was dying of cancer. I stood there in the darkness for a good hour staring at the house (I didn’t dare go near the house in broad daylight). I stared and shuddered at the things that went on and fantasied about putting something through the letterbox to set the house alight and burn it to the ground. But even that wouldn’t have been enough for me – and I wouldn’t have been able to live with my conscience.

The other phrase that stood out to me was “My mom was more interested in image than reality. She chose the happy family facade rather than protecting me.”

My mother was obsessed with image, totally obsessed with it. Nothing else mattered except image. Outside the family home we wore this happy family disguise. A happy smiling united ‘Christian’ family. The only thing that concerned my mother was how the Nicholson family appeared to the world. She painstakingly built up a facade of being church going charity workers, pillars of the community who would do anything for anybody as long as it maintained the facade. Anybody who enquired about my welfare was told how bad a kid I was and how difficult I was to control and that was why they had to be so strict with me and use corporal punishment on me. She was so concerned with the image of the family that she didn’t care if she had to tear my reputation to shreds to maintain it. So many people bought the lie that I was a problem child.

One reason why I wanted them to be exposed for who and what they actually were and are was to tear down that facade she’s created over the years. To say I’m very disappointed that the legal system has let me down and hushed everything up and they’ve not been exposed is a huge understatement. That’s very hard for me to accept. And that just adds another layer of anger on top of all the rest that I have to deal with.

I’d give anything to be able to go up north and spray paint their house “child abusers and child rapists live here” and throw a brick through the window for good measure.

But I’d still have to live with my conscience and my door would be the first one the police would come and knock on and I couldn’t lie because I can’t lie. I’m too honest for my own good and always have been – I guess because of all the secrets and lies of my childhood that as an adult I cannot bear lies or liars.

Anyway, it’s good to be able to admit to these feelings and thoughts and to know I won’t be judged for them. I guess admitting them is the first step towards eventually resolving them.

15

Thank you Christina for this post! The part about stabbing your mother because appearance was all that mattered to her, wow can I relate to that. When I realized that in my own life, somewhere around 4th grade or so, which coincided with the first incidence of sexual abuse, I had no idea how to process it, I just internalized it as “I dont matter” because having physical issues that are impossible to hide and make me less than perfect to the outside world and having appearance mean everything to her meant that I meant nothing. So when events like abuse happened to me over and over and over and over again, I never thought to tell or get help, because I didnt matter enough to warrant good treatment, so I had to accept what I was given and learn to live with it, and that was that. But still, I blame myself somehow…I dont know why really, but I can barely accept that what happened to me was actually abuse and that even though it was indirectly (as a result of my feeling unimportant enough to seek help when I needed it) her attitudes about life and her choices make her responsible for my abuse as much as the people who actually did the physical actions (even saying that I want to qualify it somehow and say that she did the best she could, that she never intended any harm to me, but making me feel insignificant IS harm…no matter what)

Anonymous–I had the same sort of “reaction” to anger that you describe, the “suicidal fog” that I never knew where it came from and why it was there, and I have always been a cutter, to avoid taking my own life but still find a way to deal with the emotions that I could not handle on my own

the thought of stabbing myself to death repeatedly used to be so overwhelming to me that I couldnt even breathe and came on when I was extremely angry or hurt emotionally somehow, and to deal with it I would cut, rather than do something so horrific to myself…and I thought for sure I was insane to think of doing that to myself…but these kinds of blogs really make me realize how “normal” I am. I have always known that I have the capacity to kill another person, and it horrifies me, and I have wondered…am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Am I going to go on some homicidal rampage someday…and THAT was my biggest excuse for not getting help and healing sooner and accepting psychiatric labels for myself so easily, because with thoughts like that, I had to be nuts and if I tapped into my anger at all, someone would die…and I cant do that to another person, or myself.

Even now, I am afraid to really let myself be angry, I show a lot of “irritation” at things, but I never really fully feel anger, because Im so afraid of what might happen if I do, and when I do feel it “bubbling up” and have those stabbing thoughts, its usually directed at myself, and I know that its misplaced, but I am still afraid of it.

I have had dreams of murdering people, witnessing murders of my friends and family and being murdered and all sorts of horrific stuff and I know my subconscious mind processes my feelings in my dreams, and they “feel” real even after I wake up in the morning and I wonder how to “fix” that. I wonder sometimes if things I dream are real in some way, like repressed memories that I dont know Im repressing, but I dont tell anyone, because thinking like that makes me “feel” crazy, and I said something to my therapist once about a particularly troubling dream, and her response was “dreams arent reality” but they FEEL real to me….so am I really actually mentally ill and just in denial, or is it something else and Im just not aware of it, or what?

I dont know, thats just the kind of stuff that goes on inside my head that never gets let out. These blog posts always get me thinking.

16

I just read this and it came at the right time. My niece and she is my honorary niece not a blood niece is going through something.I raised her father and she has always known me as auntie. And we are closer than I am with my blood relatives or that she is with hers. She was not sexually abused. But what she is going through is due to a dysfunctional family and she is getting a lot of the same messages. She is not into reading long articles or letters so I have to remember this when we talk later today. She lives in the hood and the messages sh gets are to be tough and (she is very tough) but to also shut out her feelings so she can survive.The article helps me to articulate what i already know to be true. Sometimes I understand things but cant quite articulate the thoughts.This helps me to do that. It also validates my own healing. -Thanks

17

Shanyn,
Yes, that appearances thing is awful! Since I repressed my abuse memories, I thought I was crazy because I believed the appearances. I wondered how I could feel so destroyed inside as though I was raised by monsters. The image I had of my childhood didn’t match my feelings and it was so confusing until I recognized the truth. Thanks for commenting!
Hugs, Christina

Susan,
I couldn’t agree more. When those things come up, they are signals that say, “Hey, don’t forget to deal with this.” They are indeed an indication that we are ready to deal with it. All those things that many survivors try to run and hide from are the very things that will help to heal. We want to hide from the pain but the hiding process only perpetuates it. When we face it, we actually get rid of the pain. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Christina

18

Fi,
Thanks for sharing that. I’ve heard more detailed accounts of what you went through but for some reason it made me cry today. I can relate to so much of that. I especially liked:

“But I’d still have to live with my conscience and my door would be the first one the police would come and knock on and I couldn’t lie because I can’t lie. I’m too honest for my own good and always have been – I guess because of all the secrets and lies of my childhood that as an adult I cannot bear lies or liars.”

I can really identify with that. I’m so DONE with lies and liars and all those destructive secrets. Until something is out in the open, I feel so much stress! As I’m healing, I’m also learning the difference between good secrets and bad secrets and lies that protect life and lies that protect death. What a process all of this is!
Thank you so much for sharing all of that. It truly touched me.
Hugs, Christina

19

Amira,
Your comment really touched me, too. You said, “…her attitudes about life and her choices make her responsible for my abuse as much as the people who actually did the physical actions (even saying that I want to qualify it somehow and say that she did the best she could, that she never intended any harm to me, but making me feel insignificant IS harm…no matter what)” I think this shows that you’re listening to yourself and paying attention to your thoughts. You’re recognizing the difference between what’s true and what’s false. You’re giving yourself the attention that you were never given and that’s such a great step!

You mentioned your dreams and trying sort them out and that’s something that’s really helped me. I had a very memorable dream over twenty years ago that I never forgot. I knew it was related to my sexual abuse, but until my repressed memories started to surface, I had no idea how close that dream was to what I actually felt and experienced. It was only a representation of what I experienced, but the parallels were very accurate. One of the books that’s helped me sort out my past is, “Repressed Memories” by Renee Fredrickson. She discusses dreams and explains how they can be used in the healing process.

Hugs to you, Christina

20

fi
i can relate to your post so much.
i am so sorry you had to endure that horrible existence. i will talk more later but i just wanted to say hi and send out a hug….

to everyone… do something nice for yourselves today, you all need it and deserve it. it can be the smallest thing like watching a fave sitcom and having a good laugh, go out for lunch, or for a walk, paint your nails, massage your hands with moisturiser, breathe in a bit deeper than usual, (careful not to hyperventilate though), do a full body stretch, go buy yourself something that smells good, eat chocolate , call an old friend, the possibilities are endless !!!!

21

ps.
a warm bath with candles, bubbles, chocolate and a glass of wine is one of my favourite things to do for myself…. you should all give it a try!

22

Hi Michelle, thanks so much for saying hi to me and telling me how much you related to what I said. Yes, it was a very horrible existence indeed! I really appreciated your words reaching out to me. I’ve been giving myself a gentle day today – I needed it after the week I’ve had. I’m not very good at looking after myself but slowly getting better at recognising when I need to be nice to me and doing something about it too!

Hi Christina, that was really interesting what you were saying about good secrets and bad secrets, good lies and bad lies. I’ve kind of lumped all secrets and lies together as being bad. But actually I see the truth behind what you’re saying. A lot of healing is about changing how we think, how we perceive things to be, how we see the world and relate to what’s going on around us. Thank you for mentioning that, it helped me a lot.

23

As I have mentioned before, not so long ago, I had so much anger within me that I did contemplate actually killing people and in fact I was so angry I went close to acting on those thoughts. I didn’t do so, because I realised amongst other things, that the people I was furiously angry at at the time, were only partially responsible as to why I was so murderously angry. They had become the ultimate target, the culmination, the pinnacle of years of suppressed, repressed, unresolved mountains of anger and rage.

Often I felt really guilty about even being angry, because again I had been taught that women weren’t supposed to get angry; it was seen as such a negative emotion and if we even had it or expressed it, let it out, there was something inherently wrong with us in the first place. If a woman got angry in public in my experience, she was routinely sneered at, Laughed at and ridiculed and often all three.

I didn’t want to be like my Mother, because of the way she had dealt with her anger, how she had learnt to express her anger and regularly at us. I did do exactly what our mother did though, I internalised my anger, my rage. I did not take my anger out on my children as she had done and rarely (very rarely) did I direct it at anyone else either.

Christina and Fi, I can so relate to the facade of image that our mothers had, of how it was the most important thing to them. Our mother did not decorate or redecorate the house as such. She liked people who were pretty. Pretty was Extremely important to her. She used that to play one child off against the other and viciously delighted in doing so. She would often tell one of our sisters that she was the prettiest one in the family, the best looking one. I automatically thought that meant that I was ugly. I didn’t understand of course until years later that she did that to praise one child and deliberately make another or the others feel bad about themselves at the same time. She did it when we were adults also. (Liked to rub it in, to remind us even when we were grown up that some in her book were not,’pretty’. It was such an entrenched behaviour for her and one of many).

The family reputation, the facade of the good Christian family was All important to her and still is, but now only to the rest of the family, as our Mother is no longer alive. I am the loose cannon for my family of origin as I am the one who knows a lot of the secrets and can ruin, shatter the good family reputation for them and have already told a lot of the secrets. It is one of the many reasons as to why they view me with such distate, such anger, such venom, such disquiet.

To finally learn, to know, to understand that it is ok to feel, to have anger and rage and to let them out in other, healthier and safer ways; that anger is another emotion that we are supposed to have; to have it and particularly to have it as a result of what happened to us, was another huge break through moment for me.

My problems with anger and anger management kept coming back, kept coming up until I had no other choice than to confront my reasons as to why I was so angry. What I resisted, persisted. It is why I believe I had so many depressive episodes, because I again had been taught to either completely deny my anger and always turn it in on myself, leading to me becoming continually more depressed. Learning to move, to release that huge mountain of rage and the rivers of tears I had within me, has been the making of me.

24

Kathy–you said “The family reputation, the facade of the good Christian family was All important to her and still is, but now only to the rest of the family, as our Mother is no longer alive. I am the loose cannon for my family of origin as I am the one who knows a lot of the secrets and can ruin, shatter the good family reputation for them and have already told a lot of the secrets. It is one of the many reasons as to why they view me with such distate, such anger, such venom, such disquiet.”

I could have written those words myself. When I decided to follow a different spiritual path other than the psuedo-Christianity of my upbringing, I might as well have been a murderer or rapist, it had the same negative impact on my family (especially my mother) and for many years she blamed me for any negative feelings she had, saying that if I was just “normal” she would be ok, and she accused me of being a murderer (she equated me with terrorism–even though I have never intentionally hurt another human being in anything remotely close to that level), I was told that I “looked stupid” when I would come in attire that did not fit what she “thought” I should dress like, when I was hospitalized, she actually called me and berated me saying that “if you were Christian, God wouldnt be punishing you like this and you wouldnt want to die” and I was an unfit mother, raising my children to hate people (all completely unfounded and biased from what she heard on TV or through “friends”) and then I thought about how my childhood was and how I was “different” because of my personality and physical issues, and how when I told her I was pregnant with my daughter, she told me that “handicapped people should be sterilized” and I was “an embarrassment to her” and how I was allowed to hide from the world in my bedroom and never expected to be a part of things, and that was all I knew….and I never saw it as “abuse” in any way, but it was.

When I decided to start trying to deal with my abuse, I saw that as maybe my last ditch effort to find some common ground with her where she would be a mother to me, and I disclosed very small details of the first instance of abuse as a child (there were many others) and her response was “I didnt know anything like that happened to my children”. No sympathy, no emotion, nothing.

I tried to tell her how I felt about it the last time I talked to her, about how I was hurt over how she treated me, and she said “well what about how YOU treated me?” because apparently me not following her rules of behavior and expectations of life (even as an adult supposedly allowed to make choices for myself) hurt HER in some way, and I was not important enough to have feelings….so with that, I cut off contact from her completely, and havent spoken to her in six months or more. She has called twice this week wanting to “talk” but Im beyond reconciliation after years and years of this treatment…but im still not angry with her outwardly, im hurt, but not mad…and I should be.

One day Im afraid Im just going to explode with all this rage at not having a parent who loved me, and being abused and mistreated by everyone I ever tried to have any kind of closeness to and how thats all connected and one thing snowballed into another and I became to see abuse as normal, and how wrong that is….but I thank God for my husband and children, who I know love me no matter what, the good the bad and the ugly…..they show me every day that I am loveable and I do matter….and I just have to be grateful for what I have and not live in the past wishing for things that will never materialize.

Anger is a normal emotion.

25

Pinky– I’m really glad that helped!

Kathryn,
How awful that your mother defined you by your looks! That really saddens and angers me. I got the same thing from my dad about my weight. He hated fat people and he watched everything I ate. After he stopped sexually abusing me, I gained so much weight and I was caught between wanting to please him and wanting to rebel against him. Even though he’s no longer in my life, I still find that I judge myself by my weight and it infuriates me that he still has so much influence!
Hugs, Christina

26

Hi All,
I just posted a related blog that’s similar to the one I wrote here about sorting out my relationship with my parents and challenging society’s rule that we have to love them no matter what they do to us. It’s called “My Parents Are Dead (To Me)” Here’s an excerpt:

“I only stood up to my mother for one thing in my life. It was only after she asked my husband and me to compromise our values by insisting that we stay silent. I was finally growing enough to speak up. My mom’s response was a reminder that I’m not perfect. So only perfect people are qualified to set boundaries—to say no to harsh treatment, deception, manipulations, and betrayals?” Christina Enevoldsen
http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/12/12/my-parents-are-dead-to-me/

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[...] Related Posts: What is my Anger telling me? [...]

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[...] Posts: What Is My Anger Telling Me? Bethany Ruck is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse [...]

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[...] Posts: What is My Anger Telling Me? Bethany Ruck is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse [...]

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[...] 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 [...]

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You’re taught to feel bad about the anger you have inside of you. But I am anger…as hell. I’ve tried to forgive, move forward but none of it worked. So now, I’m angry. And you know what? I feel better. I am finally getting to express and completely feel this emotion. I’ve never felt so validated before and I’m not seeking that validation from anyone else. I have denied MY feelings long enough. I have believed what others told me I SHOULD believe long enough. No more. And I feel better already. I know I won’t always be angry but to not ever allow oneself to feel that emotion is toxic alone. And I refuse to live my life in denial; depriving myself of my human right to feel certain ways about certain things. It’s my right and I take it back. Thanks for empowering me to do so.

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ButtaFli,
YES! That’s fantastic! I agree that it’s so invalidating to be told what to feel and that it’s so liberating and validating to take back that right. Embracing my anger was a declaration that I deserved to be treated better. Just accepting that felt so good. As I embrace my anger and work through it, I don’t have to carry it anymore and that feels amazing too. I’m glad you’re finding that same freedom. Thanks for your comment!
Christina

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I just found this site. I am lying in bed next to my wife, asking myself why I am so full of anger?

It was cathartic to read so many posts that mirror my experience: reoccuring abuse, addiction to appearances by a mother, and emotionally dishonest parrents. I am 46 and am, for the first time, coming to terms with this.

I have so much angerm that I developed social phobias that ruined a lucrative carrer. My parrents warned me against alchol addictions but my work addiction was my real problem. Now that I have no career, I have nothing to protect me from my repressed anger. I am terrified of going crazy because of all my symptoms.

These posts gave me some hope. Tank you.

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Hi Christian
Welcome to EFB
Anger was a big part of the healing process for me. Seeing why I had a right to be angry was HUGE for me when I had spent a lifetime squishing it before.
I am glad that you have some new hope.
hugs darlene

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[...] no good. However, all of our emotions have a purpose and anger, also, has purpose. The basic purpose of anger is for self-defense. When a threat is perceived, anger rises and chemicals are released that empower [...]

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