Anger – an emotion that I still so much struggle with. Not in the sense that I don’t think I should not be angry. Not anymore, thank God. I have come to realise that I have many good reasons to be angry. It has finally dawned on me that the way I have been treated while growing up was very unhealthy and dysfunctional.
Unfortunately, this continued in adolescence and adulthood. My dysfunctional family prepared me for abuse from others. As I came across such people they took advantage of me as I was an easy prey.
I was raised with having no rights other than doing as I was told. Disagreeing or having my own opinion was simply not an option. Consequently, I learned at a young age to simply disappear in my own little world for protection.
So I never really learned to protect myself. Leaving me wide open for abuse and bad treatment from others.
Anger has the function to help us turn away from that what is threatening us. It causes us to put distance between the source of the threat and ourselves. But if I get angry at someone who is supposed to take care of me, like a parent, I might have a problem.
In my case it was not safe to express my anger. I was not safe, period. So my anger went underground where it turned against myself. It has been one of the causes of my ugly and deep depressions. It is the reason why I have struggled with self-harm.
You see, in a healthy relationship between parents and children, there is room for the emotions of the child. The parent is able to acknowledge the emotion, to help the child to give words to it and to express understanding of the child’s frustrations.
Now, let me be clear: It doesn’t mean that ‘no’ turns into ‘yes’ to appease the child. By no means!
After all, the parents are responsible for drawing the line. Within the given boundaries applicable to the age of the child, he is safe. Without boundaries the child gets afraid and anxious as there is too much room for him to handle. Consequently, he will act out. With too many boundaries the child gets afraid and anxious in case it will cross a boundary by accident. Consequently, he will hide himself.
Because as a child we think that the way things are done in our family of origin is the norm, we are not able to distinguish between the good and the bad. As I was the one in our family that ultimately from a very young age was carrying the responsibility, I thought that was absolutely normal.
For me it has been such an eye-opener to realise that nothing that happened to me in my family of origin was my responsibility. It is something that I am still trying to grasp at a deeper and deeper emotional level.
It also makes me very angry as I had to live through quite an amount of abuse that carried on into adolescence. When I think of what it set me up for in my adult life – it is too hard to even contemplate.
Sure, I wish I knew how to deal with it properly, so it wouldn’t drag me into depressions time and again when something triggers my anger. But, I am working on how to express my righteous anger. And since I have come such a long way, I know I will get thru this too.
But please, rather sooner than later, pretty please??
How do you deal with your anger? I’d love to hear from you!