Anger Is Not Always Bad
Hey folks. It’s Jade. I apologize for being AWOL. I’ve been working on DLO3, among other things. (Which, side note: it is now in the hands of the illustrator…this is the longest part of the process…I will keep you posted. 😉 )
My best friend, Robert, was sharing some of his thoughts about anger in light of some recent experiences we’ve had together. We’d like to pass those on to you in case you find them encouraging.
It’s the middle of the night.
I glance down at my phone because I woke up for some reason.
I see that my love is awake and active on messenger. Sometimes it’s kind of fun to interact a little bit in the middle of the night and remind each other that we are there and present.
This time, however, she is having nightmares.
I ask her if she’d like to share and get it off her chest.
She says no.
I know that she doesn’t take sharing her pain lightly. She never wants to hurt anyone else with her pain.
It is her sweet and loving way, but sadly it is also part of her programming.
Somebody taught her that she wasn’t allowed to share. This is the same as somebody teaching her that she isn’t allowed to reach for the surface and breathe when she is drowning.
This is evil.
With my codependent history, I am very wary of pushing too hard to try to fix anything. I can’t fix her hurt. I cannot repair what others did.
I close my eyes and say a prayer, asking whatever might be out there to help me know in some way shape or form how to look in the face of someone who’s experienced what no one should ever be forced to experience and to have the power from Beyond to meet her eyes with hope.
A friend reminded me yesterday but love is far stronger than fear.
I breathe in deep.
I decide to push. I want to know.
She lets me know that she is scared that I will be mad.
She doesn’t want to hurt me.
She is my love, my beloved, the only woman I ever want to be with for the rest of my life. In her I see the depths of all that is sacred and lovely shining out from two beautiful eyes.
Her heart is like living breathing poetry. The tragic and the Beautiful and mystery all rolled into a mess of Fire and Power.
No one who has survived abuse, whether psychological, sexual or any other kind, should have to protect others from hearing their story. It is a sad and sick cycle that some of us get in, where we wind up trying to comfort and protect the listener rather than being able to heal ourselves.
So I suppose what I’m really wanting to say to you, you the Survivor who is reading this:
It is good for people to be mad that you were abused and hurt.
I repeat, it is the proper and human response for us to be indignant and outraged at abuse and oppression. It is absolutely right for us to not tolerate the enslavement of another human being for the pleasure of others.
Anger can be a double edged sword for a lot of survivors. Anger can be very scary, because often we’re used to being on the receiving end of someone whose anger is out of control. We might believe that all anger is dangerous and results in pain and damage to ourselves or others.
But anger is not always bad.
Anger serves a very important and useful purpose: it energizes us to protect ourselves (or someone else) from harm, or to right a wrong. It alerts us to the fact that boundaries have been violated. It informs us that we need to either reinforce the boundaries, or take action to remove ourselves from the violators if they won’t respect those boundaries.
Anger is not always bad.
Robert continues with a story from his childhood:
The other day Jade and I were driving along on our way to visit some wonderful friends. We were each taking turns telling stories of our childhood. I often cannot remember a lot of mine, and I know that that is due to my own trauma.
But apparently that day my eleven-year-old inside was awake and wanting to share a story. It was very apparent that this story was pretty critical to the formation of beliefs about myself.
So I told it.
It was a story of being a child without any power whatsoever, being ludicrously accused of doing something inappropriate, and then being punished relentlessly for it even though I was innocent.
Looking back, I remember crying for weeks and weeks, desperate for someone to tell me that they believed me.
But no one ever did.
At the time I had been taken from my home and placed in the care of others. I had to ask to go to the bathroom or even for a glass of water. I had no freedom in any way shape or form.
And here I was, helpless and accused and I had no advocate.
A child without an advocate becomes a desperately and anxiously attached child.
Right there I learned that I should not believe my mind, that I desperately needed to prove to people that I wasn’t going to hurt them, and that it was likely that I was a monster and could not control that part of me. I learned to believe that I could not trust my reality but had to trust the reality of the authority around me, even if it was not worthy of trust.
As I told my story, Jade became increasingly pissed. Not at me, but for me.
At the time, it had not occurred to me just how messed up the situation was. I just felt my inner eleven-year-old wanting to tell the story.
Jade began to go on one of her beautiful rants; she was indignant. She threatened violence upon them as she does in such an eloquent and thorough way (with streams of F words 😉 ).
My heart rejoiced.
No one in my entire life had ever said these words about me.
At first I felt very bad for telling her the story because it seemed to be making her so angry. But I completely felt my little eleven-year-old watching her, hanging on her every word as she told him just how wrong it was for him to have been treated that way. I realized that her anger was not wrong. It was not at me, but at the situation. The injustice. The abuse. And that anger is very right.
That day she moved from being the woman that I pursue to being my truly best friend and advocate. My whole perspective shifted.
It was right that she was angry.
Her rage for me, her absolute ferocity over my situation even though it could not change one iota of what was done to me then, sparked healing deep within me.
Anger is not always bad. Healthy humans feel. They hurt, they get angry.
And that anger leads us to help one another heal, and to stand up for what is right.
J8 & Robert