The Last Hurdle - Recognizing Unhealthy Externalized Anger

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by jameslyons, Dec 13, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    Anger has always been a root issue for me growing up since a childhood rape and subsequent extended melodramatic depression that followed me for the next 14 years. Middle school and High school politics ensured extreme bullying that again compounded on the self-identity of victim. During those periods of heavy depression all the anger was directed inwards and self-destructive behavior followed me around, from physical burns, cuts, and bruises to extreme self-loathing, alienation,and social anxiety.

    Suicide attempts, social isolation, poor life decisions, and binge drinking all compounded the effects of recurring emotions and traumas. A year and a half after being treated as an adult for post traumatic stress, my internal self-destructive behaviors were curbed away and now I'm facing extreme anger at the society that promoted and supported the abuse. I hate them all for not having to deal with suicide or thinking the only true authentic end comes from the form of early death. They get college I get scars, they get careers I get ridiculed. It's just the next stage of surviving abuse to get passed but it's really hard. Because fundamentally there's a fear that if you give up the anger then you, the person forced to go through hell, are giving up the ability to mourn for your past. If you aren't angry than NOBODY will care about what happened to you, and you'll just the sap stuck with the scars.

    This righteous anger is used as a tool for externalizing the frustrations of abuse and rape, however, as you move from the abuser or the abusive environment you'll find that it becomes a ridiculously heavy load to carry about, and proves itself to be as self-destructive as self-injury or suicide attempts. During recovery my anger has become more volatile and wild as the direct circumstance for the anger are no longer present. The feeling of righteous indignation, then, arrives when you're in a situation in which you PERCEIVE a similar situation of either abuse or bullying. While the effects of abuse make one sensitive to these situations, rage at being disrespected is almost always A.) exasperated by alcohol or substance abuse and B.) totally socially unacceptable behavior in which you are protecting yourself by abusive, aggressive posturing that will further socially isolate you and fuel your feelings of victimization and thus external and internal anger.

    Here comes the great pickle then. People who remain angry at the world are fundamentally discarded by society and usually end up isolated where self destructive behaviors can run without social intervention -- dangerous driving practices, substance abuse, jail time, and extremely unstable relationships. However for all the negative effects of anger, there remains a sense of personal integrity -- you are behaving in a way that is socially unacceptable but you're also holding society responsible for creating the conditions that allowed and sometimes promoted your abuse. Your anger that is turning everyone away or getting you arrested is righteous because what happened to you was wrong and you need and deserve retribution.

    The unhealthy alternative is to ignore and separate yourself from anger. Be friendly and kind with people and lovers. You develop a friendly exterior and laid back personality that comes from not acknowledging the continuing mental effects of abuse and swallowing the toxic bile of resentment when observing what you feel is unfair advantages given to other people or illustrations of what you could have had if your life wasn't marred by abuse. Your friendliness creates social networks of respectful friends but create a schism in yourself that like politics divide and resent the other aspects. Socially your friends will always remain distant and your lovers alienated, by your inability to incorporate key attributes of your personality into your life and thus your inability to share yourself with other people; a social butterfly with the mindset of an apathetic loner.

    The result of this anger is a perpetually unhappy and incomplete social persona that has little validation from the internal self, but constant praise from external people who compliment you on your well-balanced disposition and calmness. The words feel however empty to you as you know the seething pools of self-hatred that are floating just beneath the surface. And sadly...the longer you remain friends or socially connected to a person, the more certain they too will discover that bile as it always surfaces during moments of temporary psychic weakness that let your self-pity, anger, and bitterness shine through. And as this behavior is more internalized than external anger, without counseling or talking to somebody this facade will promote a regrowth of self destructive behaviors that punish yourself for being abused and subsequently being unable to deal with it. The bitterness that you hide will always demand some form of satisfaction in either binge drinking, reckless driving, or what is commonly referred to a "foreshortened life expectancy" -- the belief that your life has gone through all the markers and now there's now only your death left to complete your life cycle. Foreshortened life expectancy is in many ways the internal abused persona's inability to incorporate itself with your overall ego and thus will feel (and produce feelings and impulses in your life) that there existed the abuse, the anger, and now it's time to be either punished by execution or released from its agony through euthanasia.

    Anger anger anger.

    Anger comes from recognition that something unjust happened to you and that you have a right to be frustrated with how the event or person negatively impacted your life. The strength of the anger is dependent on the influence of the instigating event. Anger is an important tool for moving away from the sense of victimization that plague so many of us who have been abused. However, once you get away from victimization it's important to not hold onto your anger as it will always remain an anchor to victim hood and past abuse.

    Forgiveness is the only way to move past the anger. But that is one giant mountain.
  2. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    have you ever tried to vent that anger in a healthy way? Like joining a boxing class, or a gym? Hitting one of those punching bags with all the anger you have inside could be very helpfull and relieving no??

    I agree with you about anger not being acceptable in society...the irony is that everybody gets angry, its a normal healthy emotion thats got a bad wrap...they should be classes to teach how to vent anger...

    being abused got me angry but I was in denial and refused to get angry at anyone, I took it out on myself alot...nowadays though I do get angry...I find that writing it out makes me feel better afterwards...
  3. mike25

    mike25 Well-Known Member

    From my position, that's a great post. As you say, forgiveness is easier said than done.
  4. TBear

    TBear Antiquities Friend

    I've had the opposite problem of not valuing myself enough to get in touch with anger at all. I had to find the anger in order to begin to heal; as you said the righteous anger. But always, it needs to be pointed at the specific ones who caused the pain - not society in general.

    Everyone has choices, it is the one who chooses to abuse - not the society that offers those choices - that is where the blame lies. Since it is not the society, but the abuser who is to blame... there is no requirement to forgive the abuser - in fact it could be a lack of self respect to forgive an unchanged or unrepentant abuser. I can however understand where unrecognized, misdirected anger can be a big problem - then it isn't forgiveness as much as recognition or understanding of the misdirection that is the key.

    Anger can be a valuable resource that will help to protect - because usually when one feels anger, it signals that a proper boundary has been crossed and personal respect has been violated. Anger is not the problem - it is what one does with the anger that can be a problem.

    Just my humble opinion, and what I have learned from working through a great deal of abuse and pain.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2010
  5. Vangelis

    Vangelis Well-Known Member

    My partner has this issue and I've been constantly working with her in finding outlets to let some of it go. She has external anger at the world....but there's another side also. I have internal anger, and I'm mostly angry at myself for a lot of stuff and mostly because I become my own enemy. I also have the habit of soaking up her anger and putting it inside of me. Result is, she feels better venting it, I fake happiness and enjoy the day with her. She doesn't know I do this and she doesn't know that I am taking her anger in.

    Slowly she'll learn how to forgive herself and look towards a positive light.
  6. mcviking

    mcviking Well-Known Member

    Holy shit man you just told me the story of my life, seriously.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.