Right now I'm in therapy trying to deal with a lot of anger. (I was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused as a child and am still feeling the repercussions). Has anyone out there successfully dealt with their anger and if so, how and what happened afterwards. I don't understand the mechanics of it and I'm getting a bit angry (ironic, isn't it) with my therapist for suggesting that it is as easy as just letting it go. Of course, we must first understand why I'm keeping it in the first place.
I truly need some feedback here. For me, it's a matter of life and death of my soul.
09-03-2003, 02:28 AM
Wundawoman: I love your "location" ... Lawn Guyland, U.S.! :lol:
Anyhow, I don't have any answers that are as valid as a therapist and I applaud you for taking the step of talking to one.
However, as one with a lot of anger, I might mention something that helped me this year in dealing with some anger and the inability to let it go. Oddly enough, this came from Dr. Phil, who was doing a show about a woman who couldn't let her sense of betrayal from some person (I forget the specifics) go. She couldn't get closure. Since that is a common problem of mine, I remember what Dr. P told her ... that she needed to get that closure, whether it meant writing a letter or calling the person or whatever, but that she should do the least thing that would bring her closure ... e.g., if a letter would do it, she should stop at a letter.
I thought this made a lot of sense, but also that it opened up some issues of whether we should be contacting people who we are angry with and that are angry with us at all. Is it fair to pursue relationships that are closed for one person just to get closure ourselves? Isn't that a little like stalking? Dunno.
But the part about doing the least thing that would bring closure made sense to me.
I probably shouldn't post here because I don't know the answer and I don't think I've successfully dealt with my anger, at least in the sense that much of it is still there. I just let incidents and people go, but anger often remains.
I wish you the best! Maybe it will just take some time for the therapist and you to work this out. Maybe you need another therapist. It's hard to say, but don't give up on getting help because you are worth it. :wave:
09-03-2003, 03:14 AM
Yeah, I'm with Amarantha - I have anger issues as well and am still trying to deal with them. I also have no idea what I'm talking about (kind of), mostly because I didn't go through ANYTHING like what you did...
Kudos to you for seeing a professional about it. My concern is that it sounds like your therapist wants to boil down "how to deal" into one thing - let it go. How? Like you said, Why do you hold onto it in the first place? It's so much more complicated than just letting it go, though that is a valid and necessary part of it. But you have to be ready, know what I mean? That takes nothing but lots of time and lots of thought.
All I can say is that you're a courageous woman to face this at all. It's so easy to try and ignore it, so many people do because it hurts so bad, and you can't help but feel kind of "bad" for even feeling such "ugly" feelings.
Your feelings are good, and helped you survive - they continue to help and sustain you. All I can really say to you is Don't Give Up. All you can do to "fix" this is to think about it and live with it and talk, talk, talk about it. Over a lot of time. I found people that would sit and listen to me process the same stuff over and over. If your therapist can't do that, believe me, the person who CAN exists somewhere else. And just be good to yourself, be compassionate and loving to your soul. Make ceremonies and rituals for youself that help you get through your pain. Light a candle for yourself, make a pot of tea, anything that makes you feel good and special inside.
My warmest wishes and my greatest optimism that you'll survive and flourish...
09-04-2003, 11:30 AM
Wundawoman...I too at the age of 34 am still dealing with the anger/pain/resentment of abandonment and sexual abuse as a child! and it sucks!....I sometimes say to my self...Get over it!..but i never do?...I went for approx. 20 therapy sessions...which in the end if I am really honest with myself..did me more harm that good...and PLEASE don't think I think that this is the case with everyone ...Just me....The therapist basicly told me in a nut shell that my mother did not love me, did not want me and that's that!...problem solved..end of therapy..have a nice life..So I am stuck with that idea in my head to this day..while I try to have a relationship with her. I do feel their are good therapists out there in wonderland..finding them is the problem?....
Being sexually abused is a bad bad bad ugly ugly ugly hand to be dealt when you are only five?...What do we do...We eat..We balloon up...then the men won't look at us?...About six years ago one of my neighbors about three houses down was getting new roofing by about six men ..I drove by going home..and I immediately thought to myself...whewww!...I sure am glad I am FAT..because if I were not...one of those men might come down here and hurt/rape me..Sorry I did not mean to get sooo deep..I just realized at that moment how deep the sexual abuse runs 23 yrs later!..
Probably the best thing that has helped me mentally..is that I have focused on being the best "ME" I can be..I try to do for others (and it is hard)...I try to pamper myself..dress neatly..and I make it a priority or have very clean, neat, cozy surroundings...I pray, I lishen to music, I found things that I really enjoy..such as Antiqueing..and I READ ALOT of self-help books! The best person that can help heal us is inside of us!...and I have found that it takes ALOT of ALONE time for this to be accomplished..so if you are always surrounded by people..try to give yourself more me time!..I know it may sound silly but it does help!...
I think when sexual abuse is an issue in our lives..it makes us feel like we are broken..like we were picked from a pile of good seeds as the one bad seed because we did not matter enough to anyone in the first place?...But we do matter...We matter to ourselves..Their are so many unique, wonderful things about ourselves that is ours for the discovering...and as we discover these things it builds a person..Sometimes a person we do not even know?...Child abuse makes us different because we feel all our lives that we are a work in progress?...Will we ever be FIXED..Will the anger ever go away?.....Maybe thru forums like this wundawoman we can at least make a start...:)
09-04-2003, 03:08 PM
I also have no great answer.....
I can say I have sat in my closet and screamed at the walls.... I have cried myself to sleep wondering "why me"... dont we all blame ourselves at some point for things we have no control over????
I guess how I let my rage go was when I went through a cancer scare that at one point really thought was going to take my life at the ripe old age of 31.... very long story but it was truly touch and go for along time there.... when you go through that you start to evaluate your life....
1) You carrying around all the anger (which is really just pain in disguise) is hurting NO ONE but you..... and you deserve so much more than that....
2) By you continuing to carry that pain and anger you are letting the other person ultimately win.... because they are still being able to negatively affect your life..... and I decided that they would not continue to do so... that I wouldnt give them that power....
3) You also have to forgive yourself.... I know that you havent done anything wrong but there are still times that you think you have and you have to learn to forgive yourself....
4) Confronting the person was something that i had always wanted to do but he died before I had the courage.... so I did write him a letter telling him everything I had every felt..... I cried the entire time.... and at the end I vowed that I would never let that man make me cry again.....
Unfortunately I still do at times.... but not as often....
This is just some little things that I learned.... it is a journey I will probably never reach the end of.... I know that these all sound a little weak to some....
I also wrote in a journal.... I do think getting it out and not letting it stew inside you does help.... Each step I took took time.... I hope this helps you.....
I can say that I do feel more at peace now.... calmer maybe.... it hasnt fixed everything in my life but I am going in the right way....
I wish you all the luck and i will pray for you as I continue to pray for myself....
If I can help you please let me know
09-04-2003, 03:30 PM
Hey Wundawoman - seems like quite a few of us have anger issues, eh? I'm in.
I too was physically, sexually, and verbally/emotionally abused. And there is no way I would ever confront any of the men who did it, either. I'm 43 this year, and it has taken a lot for me to even admit to myself what happened, let alone actually start picking apart the emotions to figure what part was anger, what part was the little girl hurt, which part was righteous indignation, etc. There are so many shades of emotions. I think a couple of the most important things I realized which helped me "let go" of the anger were 1) None of it was my fault. Yeah, I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but untill I really believed that, I couldn't even go on to anything else. 2) I had a right to be angry. Also, sounds like a no-brainer. But you know what? I didn't really accept that till just a few months ago. I didn't have to feel guilty about what was done to me, or that I was pissed as **** that someone did it. It was almost like I had to really accept that yes, it had happened, before I could let it go. I think I just denied it for a very long time.
When all else failed, I usually went and worked out till I was about ready to drop dead. ;)
09-04-2003, 03:46 PM
Ladies, you've gone through some terrible stuff! I'm really interested in peoples' different ways to deal with your very painful past experiences.
I've not been through anything LIKE what you guys have. :no: I was never sexually abused. Physically and emotionally my dad got a little rough sometimes, but most of my past hurts are catalogued under the "Everybody has pain in their past" file. I don't carry wounds like the ones you guys have and don't pretend to fathom your pain.
I was attacked for sexual purposes twice, but in both instances fought them off successfully. And they can't have been too serious, those guys, because lots of women fight like lions and are overpowered.
Still, I have a LOT of anger and struggle with feelings still of helplessness when those red waves start to roll in again, grief for the little girl who got hurt, and mad, mad rage at those who hurt me.
I feel great pain at all of your stories. I weep for you and children and women who go through this. God bless you all.
I hope this isn't terribly inappropriate, but there's a book I read by Robin McKinley called "Deerskin" that deals with sexual abuse - a fiction/fantasy novel. It deals with a girl's pain most tenderly, and gives you a sense in the end of how women who have been wounded are still astonishingly powerful in their grief. Please don't look on this as an advertisement or a cure-all or anything but a friend's sincere wish that you enjoy a good book that made me feel a little more whole at the end. It's also just a good read, not overtly fantastic at all, really. Please PM me if you think this offering is way off the mark and I'll retract it, OK?
09-04-2003, 06:01 PM
I often think about children who are abused today in my adult life...where are they?...are they in my neighborhood?...did they sit next to me today in a restaurant?...I panic a little when I have these thoughts because I want to help them...because helping them would be helping the little girl in me! I would never pass up a chance to help a child if I suspected anything...It is sad to think there are children who report this and are not beleived???
Angel~~ I have really never thought about facing him (my bad monster is still alive)....He is a very old man now!..I have entertained the thought of telling his children (his wife already knows). But I don't think I ever will...even at a very young age I thought about telling his children only because I was worried he may do the same to his grandchildren.
Raventoy~~ Thanks for reminding us that we have a right to be angry!..angry for the innocense we lost! Just working real hard to get it all out so I do not pass any on to my future children. I have made alot of progress..just need to bury the habit hatchet of overeating!
Cerise~~ It is soooo true sometimes about wounded people evolving into powerful human beings...I am a over-achiever (despite my weight)...a perfectionist..sometimes a little anal..LOL..Purchased my first home at age 23..(no help from Daddy either) and have a tremendous amount of pride in myself! Maybe thru trying to fix ourselves so hard we end up being a better human being than we would have been..I am in no way saying that it is worth it..but if we must play the hand we are dealt?? I will look for the book Deerskin...I love to read! thanks....
Wundawoman the anger you feel does not define you as a person! Get out a piece of paper right now...write down all of your accomplishments...pull way back to your early 20's...small and large ones....Love yourself and the anger gets easier!
09-07-2003, 09:07 PM
Thank you all for your input. I know I'm having trouble recognizing what anger is doing to me, but I certainly know what the fear of being hurt again is. (Thank goodness my husband is patient...but for how much longer?)
I often thought I forgave my father (now deceased), but when the thought of the sexual abuse comes up, I want to throw stones at his grave and scream. And I want to scream at my mother (still around) for not protecting her children and giving us no tools by which to survive and for me, in particulary, whittling on my self-esteem whenever she could. I grew up empty, and thinking that the only truths about me were negative ones. (I grew up plenty isolated too -- my mom kept us away from relatives and stayed away from other people because she was afraid of what my father might do or say. (She was abused in her own way too.) But whatever she did, she did to protect herself, not her children. She always wondered "Who would want me" and "How would I support myself." She had no friends and wouldn't rely on her relatives (my uncles) for support. Weight was always a big issue for her but she never did anything about it -- probably to spite my dad.
I'm 47 and just want to have a good sex life. I've lost 60 lbs. over the past few years and have kept them off for about two (give or take 5-10). I need to lose about 20-30 more before I no longer feel like a "Parody" of a woman.
Again, thank you for your input. I feel less lonely.
09-08-2003, 01:15 PM
So throw stones at his grave and scream (bring a pillow, maybe)! Do it! Your rage is there for a good reason. I believe that though we must control it, sure, we should also look to it for guidance sometimes, as crazy as that sounds. I believe that your soul knows what it needs for healing and will tell you if you give it attention...my soul kept telling me to talk to whoever would sit still enough to listen - thank God for my partner Ramon - and it helped me, it really did.
I have no idea if asking your mother those hard and very pertinent questions would help you or not - the trauma of seeing the effect of your difficult questions on her might harm you, who knows. I feel like they must be asked, but when and where and to whom is up to you. Is it right to ask such terrible questions to an older person and cause them pain? I can't tell you.
I wish I could make it go away for you...
09-09-2003, 08:50 AM
I too applaud you for seeking help, but if you feel like you are not making progress with this therapist to deal with your feelings, find another one. Believe me, there are thousands out there and just about as many different kinds of therapy that they use.
I believe in the face forward approach and that is to go after what is making you angry, in this case your parents. Since your father is deceased, do what you need to. The only way to get rid of anger for good is to release it, if that means throwing stones at his grave, cursing at his stone, writing him a letter and shoving it in the ground in front of it, do it. In your mind, you KNOW what would really feel good because you expressed it so DO IT. As for your mother, CONFRONT her! This bologna about just letting it go is wrong. You cannot let it go if you do not tell the person. If your parent doesn't take it well, so be it. I cannot believe you have a good relationship with your mother if she is to blame or at least you feel she is to blame for not interceding to help you for all those years.
You are a courageous and beautiful woman and don't forget that. Through all this pain you have been able to lose weight, which is indeed a difficult task for those who do not have issues to deal with. You stand tall, be proud of who you are and not ashamed. YOU ARE TERRIFIC AND I APPLAUD YOU!
09-09-2003, 01:36 PM
Originally posted by gma2one
As for your mother, CONFRONT her! This bologna about just letting it go is wrong.
You're right, Faye, I think. Thank you for that. I couldn't be sure about the whole confrontation thing, but I feel better now that you've said, "DO IT."
Yeah, Wunda, what she said!
09-10-2003, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the "go ahead," ladies. I came close to doing that once, and I could tell my mother saw what was coming, so she detoured the "coup de grace" by saying "Look, we all make mistakes." But this was more than a mistake. (I did tell her about what my dad did when I was 12 -- a year after it started -- but she laughed it off then, telling me I was crazy, so I never brought it up again.) It burns me whenever my mom would say that my dad, despite his verbal and emotional abuse of her, was "a tender lover." I was always tempted to say "Yes, I know firsthand," but I could never bring myself to do it. Knowing my mother, she'd blame me.
I really have to think this one out. It may make me feel better for a while, but I wonder if it's worth destroying her or to have her call me crazy again. -- Wunda
09-11-2003, 07:43 PM
Yeah, I'd think you'd need to get some major inner serenity going before you could deal with someone who's probably going to defend themselves with EVERY weapon they have. It's a sad thing to say about someone who's your family, but sometimes it's true. Sometimes we'll even hurt our loved ones to keep ourselves from feeling pain or remorse.