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Anger

Anger and Violence are inseparable in some people’s lives and families. If you are living in a situation where you are experiencing violence or you are afraid it could become violent,

find a safe time and device to contact the Domestic Violence Hotline:

Voice 800-799-7233

Text START to 88788

Online Chat Domestic Violence Hotline

 

Contacting the hotline is a way to start understanding your situation and exploring your options.

This is not the same as calling the police.

If you are in immediate danger at any time, call 911.

Brandy’s confession: This was the last page on healing for me to write.  The rest were already finished and proofread before I even started on this one.  That says a lot.  Anger is a subject many of us would rather avoid or keep hidden. But, where there is sibling sexual trauma, there is anger.  Besides the obvious anger toward the sibling who is responsible for the trauma, there can be anger directed at parents, social services, legal authorities, other family members, self, therapists, God, the Universe…pretty much anywhere.  This page is needed, so I had to write it. 

 

Anger isn’t all bad.  Anger functions as a warning flag that alerts us to the presence of injustice, pain, or unmet needs.   Anger can give us the motivation, courage, and strength to protect ourselves or others, to put right what is wrong around us, to do what is required to meet our needs. 

 

Anger is tricky.  Anger often lies hidden, but it also hides other things.  Anger is like topsoil. It is messy.  You have to be willing to get dirty to deal with it. This topsoil is often covered with other things that are hiding it or growing out of it.  Underneath  the topsoil lies the ore–the injustice or hurt that is what we really need to find and deal with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Anger

Anger is actually very fertile topsoil.  A variety of emotions grow well in it.  Here are some emotions that often arise from anger or cover up hidden anger:

  • Bitterness

  • Resentment

  • Defensiveness

  • Depression

  • Denial/Suppression

  • Regression

  • Revenge

  • Redirected Anger

 

What Lies Below Anger

Anger doesn’t create itself. It is a secondary emotion. Sometimes the anger appears in an instant, sometimes it appears after years of transformation.  What might you find when you dig through the topsoil of your anger?

  • Injustice

  • Pain (both physical and emotional)

  • Shame

  • Humiliation

  • Guilt

  • Betrayal

  • Unmet needs

 

Hint: If the intensity of your anger doesn’t match what you first think is causing it, there is a good chance that there is more ore below.  You may have to keep digging to find the full source of your anger.

 

Dealing with Anger

Why bother dealing with anger when it is so messy? Because whether your anger is exposed or hidden, any anger you do not deal with will cause problems. 

 

You are the one affected most by your own anger.

As unfair as this might be, there’s no way to change the reality.  

  • Carrying long-term anger affects your body in many ways.  It raises your risk of cardiovascular disease, depression and more.  

  • As long as you carry anger or resentment, you are enmeshed and controlled to some extent by the one on whom your anger is focused.  

  • Anger you have not dealt with is much harder to control.  It may come out in ways you don’t want it to, towards people you don’t intend to hurt, at times that catch you off-guard. 

  • All of these can make your life and relationships more difficult, and this may create a cycle with even more anger.

 

Only you can deal with your own anger.  

  • You don’t have to deal with it alone [link: therapy/healing toolkit], but you can’t wait for someone else to do it for you.  

  • You don’t have to deal with your anger all at once–that would be impossible.  Dealing with anger isn’t a once-and-done task; it is more a process of learning skills that you can use for the rest of your life.

  • There are many options for dealing with anger.  The ones that are right for you will depend on the source of your anger, the nature of your anger, your own temperament, your present situation in life, the resources and support that are available to you.  You will probably have to use more than one, or try a few to find one that is helpful.

 

Examining your anger

 

Expressing your anger 

 

Experiencing anger in your body  

People who have been violated sexually are especially likely to carry anger within their own bodies.  Not only did they experience the violation directly in their own body, but they were unable to express the anger or fear they felt at the time it happened.  

Redirecting your anger, intentionally and constructively  

  • Direct your energy to healthy physical activity

    • Martial arts and Yoga can be especially helpful in engaging both body and mind

    • Any type of sport or fitness you enjoy

  • Direct your anger at the one who is responsible for the hurt

    • Write a letter or record a rant that you don’t send

    • Write a letter or leave a voicemail that you DO send

    • Destroy an image or symbol of the person who hurt you

    • Revenge fantasies are normal–you can even find them in the Psalms

  • Act to protect yourself or others

    • Tell someone what is happening; Get outside help

    • Take action to protect children who may be at risk in your family (talk to their parents, reach out to them, tell the one who may be harming them that you are watching)

    • Make a police report

    • Support or join advocacy efforts

    • Speak out publicly yourself

 

More on Anger

How Anger Can Help You Heal | The Younique Foundation

Anger and Aggression | 1in6 

Surprising Purpose of Anger: Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift (Nonviolent Communication Guides): Rosenberg, Marshall B.: 9781892005151: Amazon.com: Books

One survivor’s story: 1in6 Thursday: "I'm Angry a Lot" | Joyful Heart Foundation

Image courtesy Cari Gregerson

DBA Whiskey Grace Designs

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