The Healing Power of Righteous Anger by Pam Witzemann

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 I am grateful and excited to have another guest post from Pam Witzemann ! This time Pam is writing about Anger. Righteous anger. Justified anger. Pam is a frequent guest blogger here at Emerging from Broken and contributes her voice to the comments in almost every post. As always please add your thoughts and comments. Darlene Ouimet Founder of Emerging from Broken

Justified AngerThe Healing Power of Righteous Anger by Pam Witzemann

Righteous anger is the anger that Jesus used to clear the temple. It is the force behind the Civil Rights Movement and can be a powerful force for healing when employed by those who are victims of abuse.

As a child, I was emotionally and medically neglected. I was also emotionally and psychologically abused. This came by the hand of my parents. As a teenager, I was sexually abused and exploited by men. I spent most of my life thinking that I was the one at fault and my anger (which was enormous) was turned inward. I was angry with myself for all of the things that I suffered as a child and it led me into self-destructive habits and even, attempted suicide by age 18. I was angry enough to kill and I attempted to kill the one I viewed as my enemy, Me. At the time, I couldn’t even acknowledge what I felt as anger. I saw all anger as being wrong and I denied my own angry feelings. I, like many people, was taught that all anger was inappropriate 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 rage, a mindless and destructive anger) was the underlying cause of my childhood depression.

None of us can control what we feel. Feelings simply come and have a mind of their own. We can learn how to express our feelings in a healthy way and it is possible to not only express anger appropriately but also, to harness it as a force in emotional healing. Most of us are taught that anger is bad and uncontrolled human anger is destructive. Rage or wrath accomplishes 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 us physically to meet that threat and also, make us less aware of pain. Anger is an important ally for survival and many people who have been abused have been disarmed of their normal anger response to impending threat. Thereby, they are made helpless to future abuse. The psychological and emotional abuse that I endured as a child not only disarmed me of my normal response to defend myself but caused me to view myself as the source of all that threatened me. My dad teased me mercilessly and didn’t allow me to be angry or cry as a result of that teasing. If I responded to his teasing with anger or if I cried, I was demeaned and punished. His favorite form of teasing was to hold me so tight that it hurt and if I cried or got mad, he would squeeze tighter and tighter until I gave up. I learned to submit when threatened rather than fight. When others wanted something from me, I often would give in out of fear. My emotional responses also became inappropriate. For example, I often laughed at things that should have made me cry or made me angry. By the time I was a teenager, I was completely out of touch with my feelings and often, I had no idea what my feelings were. Emotionally, I was a tangled mess and until I learned to acknowledge my anger, direct it toward the correct source, and understand its purpose, I remained in emotional turmoil.

I was victimized and terrorized by my dad’s uncontrolled anger. I wanted no part of it but I grew up also, not being able to control my anger. I and those who love me and I love, were the victims of my bottled up anger that found expression in drug and alcohol abuse and rages triggered by reminders of past abuse. I was lost in this behavior and had no insight as to why I abused myself and raged or where it came from. Insight began with my husband telling me, during an argument, that he didn’t know who did those things to me but it wasn’t him. That was the beginning of my re-attaching my anger to hurtful actions by my dad. The process of untangling my emotions and learning the proper function of each response and the appropriate expression of those responses was long and arduous. Most of my work was done on my own and it began with redirecting my anger away from myself and away from those who hadn’t harmed me to those who had hurt me. I didn’t connect my drug and alcohol abuse with misdirected anger; but the last time I thought about drinking, I instead, poured all of the beer down the drain. This was a pivotal moment for me as before, when my husband brought alcohol home, I felt the need to get rid of it by drinking it all. As a child, my parents blamed me for their drinking problem and it was empowering to pour that beer down the drain, getting rid of the substance that I hated with a passion, rather than using myself as the disposal. It was the moment that enabled me to quit all substance abuse. It was the moment when my anger began to flow outward. I began seeing myself for who I am and not as my enemy and source of my emotional pain and confusion.

It was also important for me to learn the differing aspects of anger. Irritation is a common and mild form of anger and the extreme at the other end of the anger spectrum is wrath or rage. Somewhere in the middle is righteous anger and it is the anger that abused persons must find and utilize in order to heal. Righteous anger is anger in response to a moral affront and there is nothing more morally offensive than child abuse, in all of its varying forms. I think of my body as a temple and my temple was desecrated by those who abused me as a child and as a teenager. I was helpless to further abuse because I was disabled, through psychological and other subsequent abuse, of my righteous anger, when it applied to myself. Just as Jesus employed righteous anger to clear the temple of the money-changers and their desecration of that temple, I had to find and become righteously angry at my abusers in order to clear my temple and find my way toward emotional healing. It wasn’t enough to only stop seeing myself as my enemy and the source of my emotional confusion. I also had to direct my anger to its true source. I had to examine each trauma that initially triggered an angry response that was immediately stuffed, and place my anger on the appropriate door step of the one who had caused me harm. I had to allow myself to feel that anger, remove any inappropriate blame from myself and give it back to those who rightfully owned blame. I began to set personal boundaries and stand up for myself. It led to my confrontation of my parents with the final outcome of their ending the relationship rather than taking responsibility for their mistreatment of me. They prefer to be without me rather than meet my requirement of treating me with respect. I am happier being divorced from my family of origin, with blame being placed where it belongs, than I was carrying blame that didn’t belong to me and being emotionally confused by it. My righteous anger is the force that freed me from inappropriate guilt and inappropriate emotional response. I no longer carry rage within me and I no longer hate myself. Any angry response that I feel now is only about a current threat and less likely to come out of that deep well of stuffed, misdirected anger that I carried within me for so long. My life is no longer governed by bottled up anger and inappropriate guilt. I am no longer my own enemy and I love myself as God loves me. I am also, better able to love others. My temple is clear and clean and my life is changed. I am no longer living as a person desecrated by others and I owe it all to righteous anger.

Pam Witzemann

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is now 54 years old. She has been married for 33 years, raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for about twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

Related Posts by Pam ~ The black hole of Emotional Neglect

Forgive the Abusers ~ A bit of a Rant

 

147 response to "The Healing Power of Righteous Anger by Pam Witzemann"

  1. By: Pam Posted: 3rd April

    Aurele, I have had some therapy but most of it was directed toward keeping me on medications that treated my symptoms only. My faith has been a huge part of my recovery. I began to confront my past when I sat through a sermon series on how to confront the past Biblically. I also, went through a study on self-confrontation with some women who were hurting as I was. I did a deep Bible study on anger by myself and as I’ve used the model of how God relates to human beings in the Bible as a model for personal boundaries, the two merged and anger became a tool in helping me set those boundaries and protect myself. In short, I used the Bible to rewire my thinking. Most of my study was done with a topical Bible and concordance. I also, spent a lot of time looking at traditional teachings to see if they were based on the Bible or only church tradition.

    I found Darlene’s website just as I was nearing the conclusion of confronting my family of origin. She had traveled much the same path that I was on but was further along. She has been a great help to me. The story of her life and the stories of others, gave me the validation I needed at precisely the right moment. I’ve gained enormous confidence in my truth since spending time on this site. The articles I’ve writeen here and more recently on my own blog have solidified my resolve and given me clarity. It is wonderful that what I kept hiden in darkness for so long helps others now that I’ve brought it out into the light. It gives meaning to years that seemed only wasted on pain. There is a mighty force released here on EFB and it is released through the voices of so many victims. I am excited to see where it will all lead.

    Pam

  2. By: Aurele Posted: 3rd April

    I have also have to dealt with violent anger from my “father”, he yelled at me with all his forces…

  3. By: Aurele Posted: 3rd April

    Hi pam,

    I have a question : how do you succeed to acknowledge your anger ? with the a help of a therapy or alone ?

    thanks a lot

  4. By: Pam Posted: 29th March

    Pat, As an after-thought, I’ve written a few articles on abuse on my blog and one that might be helpful to you is on how to Biblically, honor abusive parents. Just click my name by the lady in the red hat.

    Pam

  5. By: Pam Posted: 29th March

    Hi Pat, You don’t know how it blesses me to know that by sharing my pain it helps someone else who has suffered the same kind of pain. Like you, I found little in traditional teachings to help me. It was studying the Bible myself and relying on the Holy Spirit to help me apply it to me, that helped me understand what God had to say to me,about my situation. I don’t think Bible teachers mean any harm but traditional teachings usually, only apply to people who didn’t grow up in highly dysfunctional families but I firmly, believe that God has answers for all of us but everyone needs to go directly to Him for themselves. My viewpoint is helpful to those who’ve lived what I’ve lived and not fit at all for someone who hasn’t.

    I so relate to your dad beating you and then demanding that you not cry. My dad would hold me too tight and when I’d struggle, he’d squeeze tighter. When I cried from the pain, he’d squeeze even tighter and would continue until I submitted. He would do this for no reason but now I believe it was a kind of grooming that taught me to surrender instead of fighting back. He also, teased me mercilessly and if I got mad or cried, I was punished. He insisted that I learn how to take teasing but I never really figured out what the response was that he wanted from me. I relate to your story in that you were taught to deny how you feel. I was taught to deny my anger and the natural ability to defend myself was taken away. God created all of us and He created us with anger. When I began to consider why God created us with anger and the good purpose for it is when I began to get that natural defense back and also, I began to express anger more appropriately. For years, I had problems with explosive anger that wasn’t porportional to the trigger. All of our emotions have a purpose for good and finding those good reasons helped me not only have more appropriate emotional response but use my emotions to help me heal. Righteous anger must be expressed appropriately, with purpose. Destructive, mindless, wrath only causes more damage.

    Thank you for your comment. Writing these articles for Darlene’s blog have gone a long way toward my healing. I locked it all away for so long and Darlene giving me a voice has not only helped me heal but made me strong in my conviction about what happened to me in childhood. That brings with it a kind of self acceptance that I’ve never known. I think that when you get to that acceptance, you’ll find comments easier to accept. I had the same problem. I didn’t think I was worthy and it also, made me feel that the one giving me the compliment must be up to something.

    I’m glad you’re on the path to wholeness.May God bless you and bring you to your destination soon.

    Pam

  6. By: Pat Posted: 29th March

    As a Christian I have searched the Net for about 45 minutes looking for how to deal with righteous anger. I am Pam’s same age. I heard years ago that one cause for an eating disorder could be anger that has not been dealt with. I never considered that I could be harboring such emotions (stuffing them to keep them at bay).

    Someone said something very positive to me a few days ago, and my reaction was to shut down my emotionally. I went into somewhat of a trance, kind of as a way to shield myself from such comments. It was like “does not compute.”

    This was such a noticable response within myself that I could not forget it. I started asking myself, why can’t I believe a compliment? As I thought more about the reason I may have responded this way, I realized that I indeed am harboring much anger, if fact, rage, at my father for the abuse he inflicted on me as a child. He is no longer here, and hasn’t been for over 20 years, yet the damage remains.

    I do understand, though, that I have a choice to be healed from this horribly dysfunctional way of reacting and behaving in my relationships with others and with myself. Thus my Internet search entailed. All the info I could find out there was of the Christian advise to be slow to anger and to forgive offenses, nothing about whether an abused individual has a right to feel anger and what to do with it. All I know (now) is that I have this explosive force inside me that needs to be released, healed.

    When I came to this post, this article, I knew I found a God-send of a tool (this article) assuring me that what I am feeling is real, that others have felt and experienced the same treatment and the same feelings.

    My story is the same as Pam’s (amazing) except my father would beat the sh** out of me and my siblings and then tell us we could not cry. I now realize this placed me in what I call a double-bind, being angry for the injustice inflicted upon me but not being able to express it, effectively keeping it locked inside. No wonder people drink excessively, binge eat, take drugs, etc., when treated like this.

    Then, as a Christian, when all I heard at church for years is that we are to be slow to anger, forgive offenses, I never considered approaching the subject of how I might be harboring a lot of anger, no not me, I’ve forgiven everyone!

    Thank you, Pam, for your wonderful insight and the words that have already started paving the way to my freedom. I love the example given of Jesus at the temple; it gives me a picture of the injustice that was done to my temple (my person) and shows me what God feels about such treatment. Because of this article, I am now on the road to conquering this hideous monster and erradicating him from my life.

    LORD, bless this woman for sharing Your Truth.

  7. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March

    Hi Everyone,
    What an excellent discussion you all have going on here!

    I wanted to welcome Jennifer to emerging from broken! (Jennifer, I am the main author of this site)

    I found myself catching up on everyones comments and trying to hit the like button! (there is no comment like button but I am liking the comments!)

    Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Mimi Posted: 8th March

    Pam,
    The last paragraph you wrote in #118 is so amazingly TRUE!! I can see my mother’s face. The only “real” tears I’ve seen her cry were when she was directly hurt in some way. Never tears of compassion for someone else. Although she loves to say “when my kids hurt, I hurt.” Bahaha!!

    Jennifer,
    Your last few sentences were like echoes in my ears. I heard the EXACT same words from my mother. There was never any mercy. Never any money either. Another favorite line was, “you made your bed, now lay in it.” Or, “well, I don’t know what you’re going to do!!” In other words, I could help you, or even offer advice, but, you’re on your own, because you really effed up!! She called it tough love. I call it tough. There was no love. I’ve longed for her love too. For a really long time. The more truth I uncover, the less I have that longing. And, for that, I’m grateful.

    xoxo,
    Mimi

  9. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    p.s. Jennefer, In reference to us being alike, that’s the amazing thing I’ve found here at EFB. When children are mistreated, they grow up having the same emotional difficulties as others who were also, mistreated. Abusers are pretty much all alike too. I’m not nearly as different as I believed I was and I now know for sure that I’m not defective.

    Pam

  10. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    Jennifer, I had to confront my family because I still needed to see the truth. I tried really hard to make excuses for the way they treated me all of my life.When I became an adult, they couldln’t treat me exactly as they treated me when I was a child but they still didn’t treat me as an equal and they continued to use me. In their mind, that’s what I was born for, to take care of them. They and the men that sexually abused me (my parents could have stopped this but didn’t, they blamed me for what happened to me)stole my personal dignity. When I stood up to them, demanded that they treat me with respect and begin by acknowledging that I was sexually abused and that they were guilty of child neglect when they did nothing to stop it, I took my dignity back. I don’t know if that’s how you feel but all of us have something stolen from us by those who abuse us and treat us as less than human. Righteous anger is a tool for getting back what was taken away.

    I quit longing for my dad long ago. In my early twenties, I replaced him with God, a father who is always interested in me, has my best interests at heart, and who’s advice is always sound. My longing was for my mother and I believe I’m finally, at peace there too. I’ve learned to be my own mom and I love myself as God loves me. My faith is the main vehicle of my healing.

    Pam

  11. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    SMD, You’re right that they can’t stand it when their preferred victim slips out from under their control for even a second. It is a big threat to them because they can’t afford to be exposed as who they really are. Threatening their pretense is a threat to their lives, in their way of viewing themselves and others.

    Pam

  12. By: Jennifer Posted: 8th March

    Pam, wow it kind of seems like you and me are the exact same person! Our experiences seem extremely similar. I have a question – I really want to confront my parents about what they did. Currently, they are not really actively abusive. My mother was always neglecting and abandoning, by dad was manipulative, emotionally abusive and also abandoning. Before I had even become a legal adult, they had both (and my stepmom as well) already washed their hands of me… as though I was so horrible… shame on me for not doing the dishes fast enough or not getting straight A+’s (my dad and stepmom’s standards)… anyway, currently, they aren’t even around much. My dad used to try throwing in his 2 cents, which turned into attempts to massively take over my life again, so when I decided to take a job as an exotic dancer 10 years ago, I told him this is my choice and I don’t care what you have to say so leave me alone. Ever since then, he has very much left me alone. Its relieving, but confusing, because I still deal with this longing for his love and attention, and this longing is usually masked by some massive obsession with some other man in my life, be it a doctor or co-worker or friend. It is a horrifically desperate aching longing that I can cry oceans about. Fortunately I know it is just displacement… Sorry I keep getting off track 🙂 My point is, when it comes to confronting them, what always comes to mind is, “what they did is in the past, and what they do in the present is not so bad.” They are barely even there. I kind of like it that way. But I do still suffer from the pain they inflicted on me in the past, although they insist they did no such thing and I was always a pain in their ass. I’m sure they would get mad at me and tell me I’m crazy, and I am ok with that because I don’t really care about making them happy anymore. I guess what I care about is what other people would think if I told them I don’t talk to my parents anymore because of how they treated me in the past. What about when they get sick or die? What should I do then? I feel like telling them, I hope you make a game plan for yourselves. just because I am your oldest doesn’t mean I am taking care of you. I will take care of you just as much as you took care of me – I will put you in a home or make you sleep in your car, I am not helping you pay for anything no matter how much money I have, and if you ask me what you should do, I will tell you that you got yourself into this mess and its your responsibility to get yourself out. Have fun dying alone.

    Is that righteous anger? 🙂 lol

  13. By: SMD Posted: 8th March

    Pam,
    I like what you said about anger. “Righteous Anger is anger used properly against evil actions”….Abusers do use their anger to destroy. There is a big difference in how anger is used. As victims, we do have the right to feel angry and we can choose to stand up to our abusers in a controlled/assertive way. I notice abusers hate when you don’t believe them. I have actually said “I don’t believe that” in a light way and “That’s far from the truth”, when an abuser says something demeaning or insulting towards me. My parents shut up when I say this. Anyway, don’t mean to give any advice just sharing…
    Peace Out,
    SMD

  14. By: SMD Posted: 8th March

    Hi Anetta,

    I can really relate to what you are saying about professionals. I had many things said to me over the years such as, my parents aren’t “that bad”, “your mom is trying”, “give her the benefit of the doubt”, “keep visiting your parents”. Sounds encouraging, however, it gave me mixed messages. I was confused & doubted my own feelings & thoughts.

    Now, I know what my parents are doing IS wrong. They are abusive towards me and that’s the Truth, that I was scared to face. I interpret what professionals say now, with a grain of salt. They are human too and have their own blind spots. They can put their agenda on you, because They value family. But maybe their family wasn’t abusive towards them?!…My point is, I now look at what is being said and decide for myself, Is this helpful?, Is this true? Do I believe it?…I don’t take what they say as gospel, just because they have a degree. I used to think they had all the answers because they are the “professionals”.

    Well, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and it’s paying off. Coming to this site, has helped me in more ways than any counselor could have. It’s inspiring to see the truth and the process many go through on the healing journey! Welcome
    Sincerely, SMD

  15. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    Mimi, I feel exactly the same way about, EFB. Most of the time when I used mental health professionals, I did feel looked down on, labeled mentally ill and beyond hope. Then when I came here, I found people who knew what I was talking about and I no longer see myself as mentally ill and beyond hope. I see myself as someone who suffered some severe injuries but with every hope of full recovery. I think I’m just about there!

    My parents fool a lot of people too. Narcissists are good actors and they know what a person with normal feelings looks like but they can’t really feel them. It takes a lot of time to begin to see that they only act human but are missing the compassion for others that makes us human.

    Pam

  16. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    Libby, Your dad sounds so much like mine and when I read about how he treated you and made you feel, I hear a daughter that was used up by him. That’s the way I was after 11 years of my parents sponging off of me. Used up. I got angry too, finally and I used it to change my life. I believe you are on the same path!

    Pam

  17. By: Pam Posted: 8th March

    Aneta, For anger to be effective, we have to harness it and choose to use it in a constructive way. It’s good to stand up to an abuser and demand they stop abusing you, that is using anger constructively and for its correct purpose. Abusers use anger to destroy another person and that is the wrong use of anger, as it is destructive only. Righteous anger is anger used properly against evil actions. There may be times when an abused person might have to destroy the abuser, in order to save their life but that isn’t the usual case.

    Your counselor was right in saying that you don’t want to be like your abuser and use anger the way your abuser uses anger. That counselor was wrong in coloring all anger as being wrong. There is a purpose for anger especially, in aiding an abused person to stand up to an abuser and set themselves free. We need our anger!

    Pam

  18. By: Mimi Posted: 8th March

    Hi Anetta,
    I have recently determined that the counselor who I’ve been seeing isn’t doing me a lot of good anymore. She served a good purpose for a while ~ counseled me (and my husband at times) when my husband had an affair last year.

    We’ve since moved into a different area of my life….. My mother!! She is around my mom’s age, has grown children, and her mother is still living. I remember she once told me it was painful for her when her adult daughter laid down some new boundaries. That should have been a HUGE red flag for me. She’s had trouble really believing what I’ve told her about my mom. She says she’s onto her now, but who really knows. My mom has perfected the art of attention seeking, sappiness, tears, etc.

    I used to worry a little about what my counselor believed. I worried she didn’t believe ME. I think I even continued going to her to prove my points about my mom, so she could effectively help her, and so she would be wise to my mother’s tactics. She was being snowed!! Now, I simply don’t care. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I know that for a long time I HOPED to be in a place where I didn’t care. Now that I’m there, I have designed something else to worry about. Is it “right” to not really care anymore? I don’t care what the counselor thinks of me, and I don’t care if she effectively helps my mother. Whew…. it’s even a little tough to admit. I don’t know why.

    Anetta, I totally agree with Darlene. It’s always been my viewpoint, but has been buried deep within for most my life. I believe we all have equal value… no matter what the education, lifestyle, who we know, wealth, etc. Many people don’t seem to accept that view. Especially the doctors I’ve worked with… haha!! The majority (mostly male ones) feel they are volumes above other staff. PFT. If any one of the more arrogant people needed my life saving blood, nothing else would matter. Just my blood. I wouldn’t be looked down on then.

    Finally, Anetta, despite all my time with my counselor, nothing has compared to the wisdom, insight, compassion, and understanding I’ve found here. The stories of other’s, Darlene’s wisdom and experience, my own typing and exploring, it’s brought me so much hope. I still feel like I’m in the beginning phases, but, I’m nowhere near where I was just 9 months ago. I have EFB to thank for that. I wish you the very best, despite what any therapist says. I agree with your last statement. Many of them are effed up. I believe what Darlene says too. They sometimes have their own issues that haven’t been worked through.
    With Hope,
    Mimi

  19. By: Libby Posted: 8th March

    Once again, this blog has spoken to me at the time I needed some positive in-put re: anger.
    It has been taking the longest time for me to get in touch with my anger. I knew it was there, knew that I was angry – but couldn’t FEEL it. That has been changing recently.
    A change of therapist has put me slap bang, face-to-face with my anger. And I am FURIOUS!
    I am angry with SO many men, I am angry in particular with my Dad. Actually, when I look back I have been angry with him for DECADEs, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t angry with him/about him. His neglect of me, his emotional abuse of me, set me up for the abuse of me by other men in my childhood and as a young adult – and even recently.
    My Dad was immature and narcissistic. He was jeaous of me when I was little and used to actively compete with me for my Mum’s attention….I experienced him as a threat to my well-being even as a 5yrs. He broke my toys, he broke promises – he broke my heart on more than one occasion. He was thoroughly unreliable and unpredictable. He teased me mercilessly and laughed when I would cry. I never said anything.
    Yet eveyone thought he was a nice guy. I know he had affairs with other women – my Mum’s snide remarks and jibes were evidence of that. When I disclosed about my abuse at school it was my Mum who took action – not my Dad – as far as I can remember he didn’t do anything, took NO action, on my behalf, it was all my Mum. I never said a thing.
    As a teen I was happier when they lived apart – he would come home only at weekends – but life was so much better without his presence…
    Later, my parents did live together again – I found this inexplicable, but whatever… After Mum died, I found it hard to visit him – I kept my distance – I was mad with him… He took no responsibility for himself – his health. He was diabetic, yet refused to take it seriously – so of course he got sick – needed rescuing on a couple of occasions – and I obliged. Angrily. I never said a thing to him. When he got poor care, I went in and complained on his behalf.
    Whe Dad got to infirm to live alone, my husband and me made huge sacrifices to move him in to live with us. All the old behaviour re-emerged – the attention seeking the competetiveness, the jealousy. When he got cancer and started chemo I knew it would be hard – it was. It was hell. For him and for me. I remember crying with sheer frustrationa and anger at the situation we were both in. I was SO angry with him for getting so sick and for being so helpless. I never said a thing.
    When he died I was beyond grieving, I was just relieved. He was gone, that was all I cared about – and I felt good. I had been a far better daughter than he had been a father.
    Last week in response to some other stimulus, I got angry – and really FELT it – and expressed it – talked a lot about how angry I was with about my new therapist and my Dad. I had so much pressure inside I felt I would explode. And tehn I realised I still had some of my Dad’s things in the house – even though I didn’t liek the stuff and felt no emotional connection to them/him. So I got a hammer – more of a mallet really – and smashed them up into tiny pieces. It felt good. My husband had found a piece of dad’s model train set soem while ago – trains were a major bone of contention for my Mum and me with Dad – and I took that model outside and pounded it to bits, followed by his favourite china mug and a favourite glass tankard. I have sold one of his paintings and the others are going to auction asap.
    Next week I have a plan to do some more work on this with my individual therapist. I also have plans to re-negotiate with my new (couples) therapist and if he doesn’t respond appropriately then he is fired!
    And you know what? I FEEL GOOD! (play music)

  20. By: Anetta Posted: 8th March

    I was said by psychologist that showing anger to my abuser is the same what my abuser did to me and that I have no right to show my anger to my mother because it is the same what she did it to me. So i I felt always guilty and couldn’t even defend myself because I felt that I’m doing sth wrong and like she said: in that moment I’m the abuser. It was horrible experience and I felt fever in my head in my body and ..I could’t do anything for myself, no fight for myself, no defence, beceause I felt that I,m always worst than she\or he is. First I recognised him/her but than I couldn’t react because I was scared and thought that – it was my fault.
    I think that many therapists like many people are really fucked!!up!!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March

      Anetta
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      Wow! What a horrible unhelpful thing to be told by a “professional”! I agree, there are many of them who are really messed up. I think that half the time they are unwilling to face the past about their own lives, so they can’t empower others to do that. Sad really! I am very careful to see people as people now and not respect or trust them simply because they have a degree.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Mimi Posted: 2nd March

    Pam,
    Thanks for your supportive statement. I’m not sure I’m quite ready, but I AM looking for that time to come with ongoing healing and more self love. I want to think that self love is the secret… I HOPE it’s the secret. I imagine in my daydreams that one day I’ll wake up and say, “I’m so done with gross cigarettes.” I really do think they’re gross, although I’m addicted!

    Sometimes I think that anxiety plays a part in binge eating. When I get full instead of satisfied, it makes me tired. It’s hard to be anxious when you’re sluggish and tired. Something I need to explore a little more I guess.

    Thanks for your post,
    xoxo,
    Mimi

  22. By: Pam Posted: 2nd March

    Mimi, When I poured the beer down the sink, I was finally listening to me. I wasn’t treating myself like a garbage disposal and I was also, saying that I wouldn’t have alcohol in my house. I still had a long way to go after that but it was the beginning. I had quit using drugs other than alcohol at that time but I quit on my own without dealing with why I used them in the first place. Listening to myself and standing up for myself was the key. I think you are at that place, also.

    Love,
    Pam

  23. By: Mimi Posted: 2nd March

    Thank you both for your comments. I’ve always thought I was just all out powerless over cigarettes, although I’ve quit a number of times. I long to quit for good. It has occurred to me over the past several months that when I get further into the healing work, I will love myself enough to stop self abuse. I completely understand that concept. I’ve always thought it comes from a place of self loathing…. the need to abuse my body. I didn’t know if my line of thinking was true. No one’s ever confirmed that self loathing is the root of it all. Am I correct in thinking that, with increased self love comes the desire to care for our/my bodies better than before? That’s what I’m hoping for. I have defeated myself in merely thinking about quitting smoking. History has shown that I’m unable to quit. I want to change that way of thinking; that I’m not hopeless, but strong. My hope is that more power and more positive thinking will emerge with continued healing.

    Pam,
    I do understand your story. It describes me with binge eating. It’s self punishment and self soothing combined. Sometimes it’s easier than others. I should try to be aware of what’s going on emotionally so I can determine what causes the weakness or inability to stop the binge.

    My HOPE is that strength and power will come automatically with more healing work….. enough strength and self love to walk away from these horrible habits.

    Thanks again for sharing,
    Mimi

  24. By: Pam Posted: 1st March

    Mimi, I wanted to add that I wasn’t an alcoholic either, I was a self-destructive drinker. When I drank, I always went overboard. My drug abuse was also, more and action of self-punishment than addiction. I did become physically dependent on some of the drugs I used but after I got past the physical withdrawls, I had no problems. I was able to quit with help from God but I never had any rehab. It was a long, hard pull to change my self-abusive behavior and healing came one layer at a time. I believe that all of us have our own answers but we have to face ourselves and then trust ourselves.

    Pam

  25. By: Pam Posted: 1st March

    Mimi, I think I not only had anger turned inward but my assigned role in my family of origin was “sin-eater”. I took blame for the others so that they could remain perfect in their thinking but also, solve whatever issue was at hand. I was blamed for my parent’s drinking, for my siblings bad behavior, for remembering the “bad” things while those who did them were never blamed. In regard to my substance abuse, it began as a way to cope with my emotional pain but when I wanted to quit and I began to struggle to do so, the sin-eater in me emerged. I didn’t want alcohol in my house and I, unknowingly, returned to my assigned role as sin-eater and I would consume it all to get rid of it. I never went out and bought it but if it was there I had the compulsion to get rid of it by drinking it. When I poured it all down the sink instead, I was no longer acting as a sin-eater and I no longer had the compulsion.

    All of that is very hard to put into words. I hope it makes sense. It’s really about beginning to see myself for who I really am and not who my abusers taught me I was.

    Pam

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