At one point I wrote an article for a woman’s website because they asked for entries about women and anger. So, I wrote about the price we pay as sexual assault survivors and the anger that goes with it.
When I shared it with a friend she didn’t care for it because said she doesn’t like to talk about anger. My thought was, okay, but hiding it won’t help because it will come out eventually, as I know first hand.
If we’re honest with ourselves we all have anger, and as trauma survivors, sometimes we tend to have more than others. If we’re not careful we take it out on people who don’t deserve it.
I have been known to yell at various people on the phone when things don’t go the right way. Especially with calls to the doctor or the cable company when I had cable. It gets frustrating when they don’t do the right thing.
However, I have begun to learn to stand back and realize taking my anger out on the person on the opposite end of the phone is not the right way to get anything accomplished.
Talking calmly and respectfully gets much more done and I don’t feel bad afterwards. I find the same thing when I drive. Honking or yelling is just letting out my suppressed anger.
However, especially when I first started having memories of my trauma I was so full of anger I didn’t know what to do with it. One day, early on, I was so mad I thought about going to kill one of my abusers and the rage I was in was not good.
Thankfully, I came to my senses, but the anger and rage were real, and the anger honestly justified. I truly believe it’s okay to be angry. Even Jesus got angry justifiably.
It’s when we act on our anger that we sin and things go downhill. It took me years to start channeling my anger away from people and I still fail at times. One way I channel it is to write.
Sometimes I’ll write letters to people who hurt me, abandoned me, and even doctors who didn’t help me. My “Dear letters” on my blog started out as pretty angry letters that I turned into helpful statements for those we encounter as trauma survivors.
Other ways I used to deal with my anger included pounding on pillows, screaming into a pillow, and pushing against a closed door with all my strength.
Usually, after several minutes of doing any of them I was worn out and my anger had dissipated. I still use one of them occasion when things come to a head for me.
Recently, it’s been anger over being over-medicated and not being able to remember a lot of the past ten years. I have basically no clue how I acted around people, or what I did. Most of what I know is from what I had written down in journals or records I kept.
I lost basically all of the friends I had from before I started down the path of recovery. Along with what my abusers did that altered the entire course of my life; leaving me with no kids or family. I get angry just thinking about it.
So, I begin to write. I’ve written many letters to my abusers and the people who did nothing to stop it. To people who left me, even if I wasn’t a healthy person to be around- it helps me process through the loss.
I am aware now I most likely wouldn’t have stayed by myself either if someone constantly talked about what happened to them, how depressed they are, plus I was extremely needy. Which is normal for trauma survivors, but I drained the people that were around me until they had nothing left.
Which is why it’s important to find a therapist who can handle all our crap. They are trained to take the load we bring with us as trauma survivors.
Finally, when I remember, I pray for God to take my anger away. I don’t want to be an angry person. I grew up around angry people and I don’t want to be like that.
So, I pray for God to take my anger and use it in positive ways. To not take it out on people who don’t deserve it. Yes, I still fail because I’m not perfect, but I just have to get back up and keep trying with God’s help.
We have a lot to be angry about as trauma survivors, but there are ways we can deal with it that won’t leave us feeling bad about ourselves and how we handled it. I pray you find ways to help you deal with the anger you have from your trauma.
Ultimately, realizing Jesus paid the price for all sin, so the price our perpetrators can’t pay us was paid by Jesus along with our own sin.
Let’s pray together today.
Help me learn how to channel my anger in a way that doesn’t lead me to sin. Help me step back and see how I’m acting when I get angry and call on You for help. Thank you for sending Jesus to pay for my sins and sins against me. Remind me, when I feel like justice needs to be served, the price has been paid. Use my experiences to shine Your light and bring You glory. Thank you for continuing to lead me toward healing.
In Jesus Name,
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.