That ~ Makes Me Angry by Darlene Ouimet

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Darlene Ouimet ~ on vacation!

Greetings from Beautiful Puerto Vallarta Mexico!

I have trouble with this topic. I didn’t feel anger the way that I understood anger to be. I saw others express their anger, and I couldn’t relate to that kind of feeling. I was afraid of anger. The few times that I got angry before my process of recovery, I remember quickly going from feeling anger to feeling powerless. I did not give myself the right to be angry. In my mind’s eye I see a spineless, droopy shell of a person, rather like a rag doll, void of any real emotion.  Tossed about by the world and its people; everyone had more rights than I did, everyone was more important than I was, everyone had a right to their feelings except me.

That makes me angry.

I don’t remember ever being angry as a child. I did not have a temper. I was quiet. I was often labeled sullen. I was withdrawn. I had no confidence, no spark; I was afraid to be noticed.

I was afraid to be….

That makes me angry.

I remember as a young adult being told that there are only two emotions and all other emotions fall under the heading of one or the other. I was taught that there is only love and fear. Anger comes under the emotion of fear and I was taught that if I was angry to ask myself what I was afraid of. Because of this teaching, just when I might have gotten in touch with my anger for the first time in my life, I shut it down. The truth is that I was afraid of everything including life itself. Asking myself what I was afraid of was WAY too big a question.

That makes me angry.

Looking at things that way also puts the focus on what is wrong with me. For someone who knew her whole life that the reason I was how I was, was because something was wrong with me, was just heaping more guilt, blame and shame on myself. I needed to get to the root of the WHY I was so shut down, why I was so afraid, before I cut straight to the “get rid of it”. No one ever helped me with actually doing that. Everyone wants to skip the WHY steps.

That makes me angry.

I was not heard. I had no voice. I stopped trying; I gave up. I put myself behind everyone else. I got more and more depressed and had more and more emotional struggles. And I got blamed for them. I got more labels attached to me. Crazy, reactive and over reactive, incompetent, emotional, stupid, unwilling to forgive, holding grudges……

That makes me angry.

When I had to go on anti depressants because I couldn’t get out of bed anymore, some people acted like they finally had the PROOF that it was ME who had the problem all along. “See, she is crazy”…. I was embarrassed and ashamed at what I thought was my inability to cope with life.  And actually with a medically treated depression, things got worse. My family looked down on me, as though now they had a right to treat me like I was “nothing”.

That makes me angry.

I was so compliant, I was so easily manipulated, so willing to do what they wanted, and yet I was so unimportant and so disposable. I was a good victim, a great victim actually; the PERFECT victim. And that wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was ever enough or good enough. And when I said enough, they said goodbye.

That makes me angry.

My anger (when I finally did get in touch with it) for the most part was for the life that I lost. It was about the fog that I lived in and was kept in and about the lies that we swallow and because we are groomed for the lies as children, it is easy for us to continue to be easily fooled. It is anger for you, for me, for the children and for the broken world.

But today I have my life back. I don’t live in that fog; in fact I am a “fog buster” now. I know the truth. I know that my anger is justified, I am not afraid of it anymore. I am not easily fooled anymore; I don’t believe those lies anymore!

I have hope for you for me and for the children and I rest in the knowledge that there is indeed hope.

Please share whatever is important to you to share and thank you for being part of this blog.

Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

As always, please feel welcome to share with us.  I am on my way home in a couple of hours from now, and will answer the comments sometime tomorrow! 

Related Posts: What is my Anger telling me?

                              Emotional abuse and Anger  

82 response to "That ~ Makes Me Angry by Darlene Ouimet"

  1. By: Amira Posted: 23rd December 2010

    Darlene, you said ” I never saw myself realistically when compared to someone else so I never validated myself. Someone could have been abused the EXACT way that I was and I would have not seen even the similarities.” and I totally agree. I can see abuse on TV and read comments and posts like these and cry for each and every one of you, but to feel the same way about myself, it just doesnt happen. I am STILL “not important” enough to warrant compassion like I feel for others, but reading posts like these and knowing that its common, albeit sad, helps somewhat, because for me, knowing im not “crazy” and that I really am valuable (although I only know it intellectually, I still dont “feel” it) no matter what may or may not be true, makes a difference.

    Lynda,

    its very interesting what Stan said about you and your friend Emily. I have often thought that about incest victims vs non incest sexual abuse, that their incest was far worse than my abuse was, because mine was by “boyfriends/husbands/strangers” and not my family (speaking strictly of the sexual abuse, not the other) and how bad it must be to live with the people that abused you and feel betrayed because they were supposed to love you and protect you and they didnt, and just now, writing that sentence, I realized that I DID LIVE WITH and DID LOVE some of the people that abused me, in the same context as an incest victim loves their parent/relative that is abusing them….so see how I “dont see the similarities” just like Darlene said.

    I want to feel the anger, pain, sadness, grief and loss for myself that I feel for every other abuse victim I have ever come across, I want to experience the emotions for myself that i feel for others.

    I want to care about me, like I care about you all. I love coming here and knowing that someday I will.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd December 2010

      Hi Amira and everyone;
      Have you read my new post on the importance of Self Validation? The motivation to write it was born out of the comments from this post, so I thought I would mention it here. You can find it by clicking on this title: Self Validation for Emotional Healing from Abuse. This was a vital step for me. =)
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd December 2010

        OH and something else that I just remembered that has helped others and it helped me too. If your child came to you and told you your story ~ except that it had happened to her or to him, how would you feel about that? Some people find it easier to find a pathway to self validation when they think about their story in these terms; as though it happened to their own precious child.
        Just a thought.
        Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Lynda Robinson - behindthefaceofcomplexptsd.blogspot.com Posted: 23rd December 2010

    Amira,
    I just read you latest post, and OH how I want you to care about you, too!

    Here is one thing that has helped me greatly to learn to care about myself, and to respect myself, enough to have the courage to stand up for my rights, and even to LIKE, and LOVE, myself.

    Several years ago when I was going through my last divorce, I was seeing a therapist who suggested that I keep a daily written journal about my feelings and thoughts. I tried, but I was too emotionally wound up, during that time, to write. The simple task of putting words on paper was beyond me. So one day, in total frustration, I decided to TALK into a tape recorder about the feelings and thoughts that I was in too much turmoil to write about. When writing was too hard, talking came easy. So I “journaled” into my tape recorder.

    Later, I went back and listened to the recordings I had made, fully expecting to hear a ranting, raving, neurotic, crazy, emotional mess. I expected to hear that, because that is what my abusers had told me about myself, ever since I was a little girl, anytime that I was being emotional about something: “YOU’RE CRAZY! YOU’RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE! YOU’RE TOO EMOTONAL! YOU’RE OVERLY SENSITIVE!”

    But, to my amazement, I didn’t hear anything negative or crazy or out of balance, at all. Instead, I heard a woman who sounded kind and caring and humble and thoughtful, someone who was sensitive, but in a good way. I heard a woman who sounded hurt, but with very good reason, someone who had been through a lot, and had a lot on her plate, and yet was doing her very bes to overcome, and not let it destroy her. I heard someone who was honest, and introspective, and willing to do whatever it took to be a good, healthy, normal, loving person. To my shock, I heard a woman that I really LIKED, someone I would love to have for a FRIEND. WOW!!!

    A couple of years after that eye-opening experience, I decided to be batptized in my new church. It is a very large church, and they have made it a practice to do an videotaped interview of every potential new church member, to show up on the huge tv screens to the congregation immediately before you are baptized, so that the church members can get to know who you are.

    So there I was, standing in the baptismal water, waiting to be dunked, when suddenly there I was, on the gigantic screen behine me, and on screens to either side of me, and in the back of the church. I was telling about myself, telling the story of how I came to be where I was at that point in my life, at the age I was then, which was 52.

    I looked at myself in amazement, and as I listened and watched myself talking on the giant video, I thought, “WOW! Is THAT really who I am? Is THAT really the way I look, and sound, and present myself to the world? Is that how other people see me??” And once again, I wasn’t ashamed of me or my demeanor or my manner or my way of talking, as I had expected that I would be…. I LIKED ME!

    I still struggle sometimes with low self-esteem. When my sister and my niece posted some comments on facebook a couple of months ago, calling me “weird,” and “no big loss,” etc, it triggered all my old, lifelong feelings of hating myself, because I am “less-than” everyone else, in the eyes of my family of origin. I heard that stuff for decades, from the time I was tiny, mainly from my mother, but from others, too, so those feelings of being inherently unworthy run very, very deep.

    It helps me to remember: I know who I am! I live in my head and in my heart, I know ME. I have heard my own voice, I have seen myself, as if from the outside looking in, and I LIKE who I am. I am not less than. I am beautiful, in the unique way that I believe my Creator made me to be… beautiful, in the Image of Beauty, beautiful, in the Image of Love. I am not my own workmanship, I am a one-of-a-kind handmade original, created by the greatest artist of all. Anyone who dares to treat me as though I am LESS than ANYONE ELSE, is a LIAR. I won’t listen to those ignorant, hateful lies anymore… especially not inside my own head!

    You might want to try it, Amira. Talk into a tape recorder, or better yet, into a video camera, then introduce yourself to you. I believe you will be happily surprised!

    Hugs,
    Lynda

  3. By: Amira Posted: 23rd December 2010

    I will try that Lynda 🙂 I posted on the other post about it!!

    Darlene,

    I think I might do something like that (thinking in terms of my own child being abused) by getting a picture of myself at the age when the overt abuse started and putting it up on the wall, and thinking/feeling/saying positive things about that little girl in the picture, and then kind of mentally reminding me that she is me and that Im all the things she is/was/will be and that there is still hope for the future and I think seeing a visual picture like that will make a difference for me, its less abstract that way 🙂

  4. By: Lynda Robinson - behindthefaceofcomplexptsd.blogspot.com Posted: 23rd December 2010

    What a beautiful idea, Amira, about putting up a picture of yourself as a little girl when the abuse started, and saying positive things about that little girl in the picture. I’m going to do the same thing! Thanks for the idea! Wow we are giving each other ideas, how cool is that~

    Darlene, this is the best healing community I have found for abuse survivors, thanks to your great balance and wisdom and being so REAL.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th December 2010

      Amira,
      I am looking forward to the updates about how this works for you! I did so much of this kind of work in my healing.

      Lynda,
      Thanks for the compliment and all the encouragement. I am really blessed knowing that this blog resonates so well with you and that you are finding some comfort here!

      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 28th December 2010

    Lynda, I just wanted to let you know that I did read the comment about PTSD and Stan. I guess trauma is so devastating it is beyond compare, and sometimes, I fear, beyond repair. But we keep on….

  6. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 28th December 2010

    Hi. I saw the comments about embracing the little girl inside. My mother sent me pictures of me from my childhood when I was 43. It took me a couple of years to look inside, and when I did, I did not identify with the girl in the picture. I took a workshop on the inner child, and the exercise was to draw yourself as a child. I drew a ghost picture, just an outline of a human, but no facial features or limbs or belly button. So, I was invisible. Still in my forties, I went on a quest to honor that child and bring forth her personality. My mother sent me outfits I wore as an infant, as well as booties. As silly as it sounds, I made shadow boxes with pictures that matched the outfits, and one with my “First Holy Communion” pictures and the head veil I wore. To do this activity as an adult reflecting on the child did feel self-indulgent and self-absorbed. But I put them on my walls and peered at them, as if to get in touch with the little girl re: osmosis. It was helpful.

  7. By: Lynda Robinson - behindthefaceofcomplexptsd.blogspot.com Posted: 29th December 2010

    Hi Everyone,

    Knowing that all of you are here, on this healing blog community, helped me get through Christmas. We had an unusual Christmas… it was wonderful and hard and healing and exhausting. Through it all, I kept thinking of the many great posts and comments here on Darlene’s blog, and that helped keep me strong.

    My husband Stan and I spent the day with our neighbors, Cesario and Emily. Like my husband, Cesario has severe PTSD from Vietnam, and like me, his wife Emily has PTSD from past domestic abuse.

    Both Stan and Cesario were in Vietnam over Christmas, but with different units and in different years. They both have some hard memories this time of year, especially Cesario, whose unit was overrun on Christmas Day. He has never celebrated Christmas since.

    The four of us drove up to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in the mountains in Angel Fire, New Mexico. It was about a 4 hour drive, each way. Long and tiring, but with beautiful scenery and great company, it was also enjoyable. Then, when we got to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial, it was very emotionally intense, for all 4 of us, but in a healing way. We stood in front of the Huey helicopter and hugged and cried. Then I thanked Stan and Cesario for their service to our country, and told them, “Welcome Home.”

    There is a monument there that says that soil from Vietnam has been mixed in with the soil at the base of that monument, and soil was taken from there and mixed with soil in Vietnam. I knelt down and touched the ground at the base of that monument, and thought about my husband, when he was a very idealistic young man, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather and be a war hero, and I thought about all that he went through in Vietnam, the horrors that changed him forever.

    After we left the Memorial, we stopped to get gas in the town of Angel Fire. Stan and Cesario were both wearing their new ballcaps that say: Dysfunctional Veteran – Leave Me Alone. The cashier at the gas station saw their hats and told them that there was a Christmas dinner being held in town that was free for all Veterans. So we went there and had a delicous meal with prime rib and turkey.

    We saw a wild turkey on the way back down the mountains, in fact we almost hit it! We also saw countless deer, bucks and does, some huge elk, and many pronghorn, which is a type of antelope. And more beautiful scenery, along with a beautiful sunset.

    Now it’s 3 days later, and I’m still tired. But it’s a good tired. I’m not really sure why it was so healing to spend our Christmas the way we did, but it definitely was. Emily and I talked a lot in the backseat of the van while the men were driving, we talked about how lonely it is for both of us, with our kids grown and gone and seeming to have no time for us. Like my 3 grown kids, her 4 have all taken the side of their father, her abuser. Emily doesn’t have a computer, so I told her about this blog, and the recent comments about how our children are affected. It seemed to help Emily to know that she isn’t the only one.

    Thanks Darlene, and everyone, your posts here mean so much.

    Lynda

  8. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 29th December 2010

    Lynda, that sounds like an amazing day of synchronicity. What are the chances that the 4 of you would have so much in common? I have been to that Memorial in New Mexico, so I could envision your trip. Themes I got from your day is that Christmas is what we make it, and family is who we choose.

  9. By: Lynda Robinson - behindthefaceofcomplexptsd.blogspot.com Posted: 29th December 2010

    I agree, Lynn, it is very amazing that my husband Stan and I have so much in common with our neighbors Cesario and Emily! It seems almost miraculous to me, how we ”happened” to move into the house right next door to them last March. This is just one of several incredible experiences that have made a True Believer out of me. After being staunchly agnostic most of my life, in the past 7+ years I have come to believe that there really is a Creator, one who is good and loving and who has our best interests at heart. I believe our Creator has given us instincts to guide us in our pursuit of healing, IF we will allow ourselves to be open to that guidance. Seek, and you shall find. We were given a free will, so we have to be open, and we have to seek; it won’t be forced on us. That’s what I believe, anyway.

    This is a prime example of how something Really Wonderful, can come out of something Really Awful. Almsot a year ago, we lost our house to foreclosure. It was a scary, devastating time. Where would we go, where would we live, with our once-pristine credit ruined, and very little money? My husband cried so hard. I was beyond tears, I was too terrified to cry. Then we prayed, and then the idea came to my husband to look for low-priced, owner-financed, low down, no credit check homes for sale in Craigslist. We knew to be careful, there are a lot of wicked scams out there. We found some horrible houses that were depressing just to drive by, no way could we actually live in one of them. But then we found this house, almsot 200 miles away from where we were then living, in a sweet, peaceful little town, only a half hour drive from a larger town with all the amenities, and just an hour and a half away from a very large city. This house seemed way too good to be true… it is cute and charming and just the right size for us, and it cost about 1/4th of what the house that we had lost originally cost us back in 2006, but we like this one so much better. We closed through a reputable title company, so we know that everything is legit. This house is exactly my taste, it’s a 1930s Craftsman bungalow. It needs some cosmetic fixup here and there, but even without that it is perfectly sound and cozy. AND, it’s right next door to our new best friends, Cesario and Emily.

    The bonus is that we will have this house paid off completely in less than 5 years, paying about half each month of the amount we were paying on our old place, and that had a 30 year mortgage. SO, the best thing that happened to us, was losing our house to foreclosure, even though at the time it seemed like the worst thing.

    Life is a Mystery! You never know what’s around the next bend, or what’s going to happen in the New Year.

    Lynda

  10. By: Pam Posted: 18th May 2011

    Darlene,

    Anger is a great pain-killer. I spent years being angry. If I hadn’t of been angry, I would have come to a dead stop. I would have been overcome by the pain. The problem was that my anger never showed itself at the appropriate time or at the appropriate target. Some small thing would set me off and the massive amount of anger inside of me would spill over. My poor husband used to say, “I don’t know why you are angry at but it isn’t me.” When I finally started facing my past instead of running from it or hiding from it, my anger began to disipate and become more managable. I hate that I was angry like that in front of my children and I’ll always remember my oldest saying, “Mommy! What are we going to do about what is broken in your head?”

    I’m not so angry anymore but still I have a problem in thinking that I should have anger at the men who sexually abused me but I feel nothing. I don’t understand that. On the other hand, I’m afraid of what might happen if I do begin to feel when I think of those things that they did to me. They were bathed in shame and fear of their discovery for decades. Most of that is gone now but I am surprised by the nothingness that is left in its place.

  11. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th May 2011

    Hi Pam
    The anger only serves a purpose for a time in recovery. Then for me it left. It was a good sign!
    I too was angry at the wrong times; I was messed up! But I am not doing any of that anymore.

    I have read three of your comments on three different posts this past 20 min or so here, and I think you remind me of when I was at a turning point in my recovery! It felt to me like a stall, but it was more like a rest before the next level! (and it only got better from that point on!)
    Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Carlos Posted: 12th March 2016

    What makes me angry:

    I had no say in my life (Consider these situations)

    -Maternal grandmother: Seriously Carlos a chef!? Why can’t you be like your Aunty who is an engineer in a mining company, who earns a lot of money. (Whatever happened to your it’s not about the money talk?)
    -Dad: You say you don’t
    want to do karate, but do you want to be more confident in terms
    of your appearance, do you want to be able to protect yourself? (And with those “scare tactics” I gave in to karate. Fortunately when he realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere, he gave up.)
    Dad: You better finish your degree this year okay? (In a threatening tone)

    The double standards

    -Dad and grandma uses their own spoon and fork to get food out of the serving dish instead of the designated serving spoon (If my sister and I did it, we are apparently promoting cross-contamination! Tssk hypocrites.)

    Being held back when I was pissed off

    -Maternal grandma: Haha Carlos, you’re so fat that’s why you slipped near the clothes line!
    -Me: It’s not because I am fat, it’s because the ground was slippery!
    -Dad: Carl, that’s the last time that you’re going to rage out like that to her okay? (Um what do you want me to do Dad? Hold a party for her “helpful” advice?)

    Being talked over and not being given the same respect as those “above me”

    -Dad I could barely drive with Mom around what if grandma reacted the sam…
    Dad: It doesn’t really matter how your grandma would react, let’s just keep driving
    -Dad while I was watching a program I was catching up on in our set top box: Should we watch something else? This program or that? (I didn’t respond as I was too busy watching)
    Dad: *Grabs set top box’s remote and immediately exits my program* (Jerk. Oh right the top box’s company debits from his account, so that gives him a right oh okay, I’m so sorry I just realised).

    Being incriminated

    -There was a time in which we were dining at my maternal uncle’s house and my cousin’s room was next to the dining room. So if you were to hit the wall in my cousin’s room, the counter in which the food being served is on, will feel the impact. A couple of my other cousins were mucking around and hit said wall, and my ever so loving father comes storming into my cousin’s room along with his signature death stare exclaiming: “Was that you Carl?”

    Being told that the elders have “special rights”

    -When I told my Dad about how pissed off I was when his “Side kick” (Evil mother-in-law) said my degree was worthless he said: “She shouldn’t have said that because only your Mom and I have the right to say something like that about your life”
    *Firstly don’t involve my Mother in you and your sidekick’s toxicity.
    *Secondly I can’t believe how incredibly two-faced you can be.
    *Finally are you saying that “adults” have a right to ridicule!? Whether it be a parent or not, you don’t have a right to do that!

    My father’s excuse for all the wrong? It’s basically summed up by this message on my 21st birthday card:

    “Your Mom and I were very young when we had you, hence some of the terrible mistakes we have done (By we meaning you right Dad?). If we were a lot more mature then perhaps, we could have been the parents that you wanted.”

    So are you trying to say sorry that you chose your “designated path” over “what could have been?”

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