The third and final step to Speaking Out mentioned in Loving Yourself – 4 Steps to a Happier You, is Expressing Anger.
First what is anger? It is defined as a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. And yet this seems like such a weak definition for what has been building up in me for so long. Maybe if I had been expressing my anger all along instead of repressing it this definition would fit. Now my anger has bloomed into resentment, indignation, rage and fury.
It’s interesting as I read more on the origins and definitions of anger; I find that it comes from an Old Norse word that means Sorrow. Truthful that is where all my anger stems from, the sorrow for what was done to me and the way that it was and still is being handle now.
So do I continue to hold in this anger? Do I let it fester and stew until my anger boils over? Do I wait for it to get to the point where it becomes “the flying of the handle, blowing your stack, raving, rip-roaring manic” anger or do I face it and try to express it with control. What do I seek with the expression of my anger? Am I unleashing it primarily to make myself feel better or am I trying to get someone to hear me and understand where I am coming from?
As I look at all the times I have repressed my anger, I realize that it wasn’t done so that I could avoid hurting someone else’s feeling but because I was afraid that by letting go of it, it would be unbridled and uncontrolled.
I need to remember anger is a beautiful emotion; it is not something to be repressed. It is there for my self-protection, as a way to take care of myself. Anger is the way we tell people when they have crossed the border that we have set up. The “you can only push me this far and no farther” border. The borders that establish our self-worth and the worth we want others to place on us. This is hard for me because right now my self-worth is at a low.
So how can I be angry and express that anger without losing yourself to the raving monster.
- Determine what exactly has made me angry.
- Express it clearly with conviction. This means making sure that I am calm enough to state it clearly. (if I need to, I will walk away, gather my thoughts and breathe, then come back to it)
- Lastly explain why this makes me so angry, why it triggers me – elaborate.
Right now I am anger with my mom and her continued need to speak with my grandmother. It seems to be an on-going fight with us. It angers me because on my grandmother’s bad days she calls and she will cuss my mother out and call my mother a whore and everything else despicable, after which my mother says she is not going to talk to her again. Then a couple of days will pass and my grandmother will call being all nice and my mom will talk to her. This angers me to no end because it’s like lying, breaking a promise. Honesty and keeping
your word are big for me. I feel that with each time my mother goes back to talking with my grandmother she is saying that her behavior is acceptable, that my mom’s and pretty much everyone else feelings on this matter are not as important as my grandmother and her feelings. Also it’s like she is agreeing with what my grandmother said. It also keeps triggering the anger I have from when I told about my abuse, and still my family had dealings with my grandparents. I feel that abuse was, maybe not condoned, but definitely excused/smooth over as not so bad because they were never made to face up to what was done to me, and there were no consequences to their actions. The bible shows that there are always consequences to your actions. It was what I was taught. It is what we are all supposed to believe, yet that is not what happened. We, as a family didn’t stand up and say there are consequences to your actions. Instead I was made to feel like, yes you were abuse, but its ok now because it isn’t happening anymore, and if we don’t talk about it, it will all go away, like it never happened. The only problem is, is that it did happen, it has not gone away or been forgotten. It has gotten worse with time instead of better, because it isn’t talked about or faced. I have been made to feel that because I did stand up and say I will no longer have anything to do with you, I was the bad person, the one who did something wrong. And now with each time my mother allows my grandmother to emotional abuse her, it is throwing me back into all this anger and emotion. It is doing nothing but making every day worst and healing so much harder.
Wow, as I reread this, I realize that I didn’t know all of that was in me till I started letting it out. By elaborating and examining my anger, I came to realize that it wasn’t just the now that was pushing my anger levels, but a long and twisted road of anger denied that is blowing my present anger sky high.
It is time to for me to really examine my anger, where it’s coming from, its roots, and to let it out. I need to allow myself to realize my pain and to love myself enough to speak about. I need to quit carrying this anger around with me, it is doing me no good, and without expressing it, it is doing the person I’m angry with no good either, because they either don’t know I’m angry or they don’t know why I am. By expressing it without self-pity and being honest, it allows that person to see where I am coming from. It allows me to look myself in the eye and have enough compassion to say “I have suffered enough and now I must/will speak out on my behalf.