Why? Because every time I would allow myself to feel angry, the sleeping beast, Rage, beneath it would stir...
I was afraid if I did, it would totally engulf my body and I would die. Really, I didn't know exactly what would happen, I was just afraid of the unknown.
All I know is that when I would start to feel angry, my body would tense up, I wanted to hit something, throw something, scream, just DO something to someone!!
I was not brought up that way. It was foreign to me! I told myself "You can't act that way!"
I was rageful in my dreams! I would scream, yell, and try to fight my abuser..but my abuser would still laugh at me and in the end, I had accomplished nothing..
and I would wake up in a sweat, feeling worn out and defeated.
This went on and on.
I knew that I had to do something about it.
My paintings were showing my Abuse-anger and my feelings of helplessness. Yes, I felt totally helpless because I was not expressing my Abuse-anger and rage in a way that was healthy. I was not getting it out!
It was still controlling me!
I, logically, as a therapist. knew all the RIGHT ways to deal with Abuse-anger, but somehow, none of them were working for me. I was desperate. I knew I had to get the rage out somehow!
I read everything I could find on anger.
Nothing seemed strong enough for me.
Then I just decided. I would do whatever it took, as long as I did not hurt myself or anyone else. That's it.
I needed a ritual. Then I decided to just let myself feel the rage in a safe place and no matter what would happen I would trust God that I would be alright.
I was living alone at the time, with my two cats, so I didn't have to worry about getting anyone out of the house.
I locked the cats in "their" room. I cleared out the livingroom of all glass things...or valuable things. I left only things that I wouldn't care if I destroyed them or not. I made sure that I would be safe!
I brought in pictures of myself at the ages of my abuse...along with a lot of pillows!
I brought in kleenex! LOTS of KLEENEX!
I put a chair in the middle of the room and decided that it would be my abusers chair. (this was my ritual part)
I made sure there was a rug on the floor (for fist pounding, just in case)
And, oh yes, I brought in my favorite stuffed animals. (yes, I had stuffed animals, I am not ashamed to say it. :)
Then, I was ready.
I sat on my sofa and pretended to talk to my abuser. I told one then the other exactly how angry I was for them hurting me and taking away my innocense and childhood.
The angry monster began to stir...
The rage began to come to the surface. I kept talking.. talking turned into yelling....
I started throwing pillows at the chair. I started hitting the pillows. I screamed at the chair. I pounded my fists on the rug. I stomped my feet...
I basically threw a temper tantrum....
It went on about 20 minutes..until I burst into tears..and sobbed...
I grabbed my stuffed animals and hugged them and rocked with them as I cried. They were my comfort, and I needed comfort.
I cried and cried. I can't tell you for how long. It seemed like days. I can say, I cried til there were no more tears.
I felt limp. No energy. No anger left. Just peace for the moment. I savored it.
It took me a moment to comprehend..but then I realized, I was still there!! The rage had NOT destroyed me!!!
I actually smiled, a tired smile..but a victory smile.
I had tamed the beast within. Just like the girl in my painting with the lion.
I had made peace with my rage.
Abuse-anger does not just disappear after one night.
I had made enormous progress however.
I knew that it was ok to feel anger and I knew that from that night on I could write about it and actually get it out that way a little.
There were other ways too.
Talking about it with friends and other survivors helped too.
Over time, my dreams began to change.
I began confronting my abusers regarding my abuse-anger, and began feeling stronger. I would still have nightmares however. Nothing changes overnight.
I wish it would!
Time is the key with healing.
I will mention that when I forgave myself, it made a difference. Also, like I mentioned on the forgiveness page, when I forgave my abusers, my dreams really made a huge change.
For example: When I would encounter my abusers in a dream. If they would start to belittle me, I would just say to them "I have forgiven you, so I have nothing more to do with you" and I would just walk away, feeling really good inside and in control.
But, like I also said on the forgiveness page, forgiving your abuser is NOT for everyone and it is not necessary for your recovery! I just needed to do it for ME.
How YOU approach your Abuse-anger and rage is very personal. There are many ways to deal with it. Some traditional ways DO work. If you are working with a counselor or therapist, trust them and do what they suggest. There are many books out there about anger because it is such a powerful emotion and honestly, it can control and actually ruin your life if you allow it to do so.
Don't let it! That is letting your abuser win! Take your power back!
If you have to go out to in the middle of a cornfield (I live in central Illinois) and scream at the top of your lungs, then do it! (Be prepared for people to come running, however!)
My point is, get it out in a way that doesn't hurt you or anyone else! (I think my cats might have been a little traumatized after my screaming episode but I loved on them and gave them some catnip and they seemed to forgive me!)
I listened to music.
Another thing I did was listen to women sing songs with angry lyrics for while. It really did help me. Alanis Morrisette, Amanda Marshall, Madonna...just to name a few. There were many artists I listened to. If there was an angry song out there, I found it and listened to it over and over and over..well, you get the message.
It was cathartic for me at the time.
For me, it helped get the Abuse-anger feelings out!
It is good as long as you don't stay stuck in the anger!
You need to move on!
Staying in the Abuse-anger perpetuates more anger.
It is imparative that you remember that!
Your goal should be to get it out and move on.
You too, can tame your rage and move on. It is like moving from victim to survivor.
You have it in you. I know it. It is a choice, just like recovery and everything else in life. You have the power and control to make that choice.
It is up to you. God bless you on your journey of recovery!
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