My search for finding a miracle cure for anger continues within me. I am restless. I feel that I am not working hard enough otherwise, I would have “fixed” myself by now. I read books, I talk to therapists and I rummage the internet for the miracle cure for anger but nada!
One thing has been clear – My anger outburst didn’t help at all – When I blame and attack, things get worse because the lashee (the one who was just lashed at) lashes out with even more anger and when they don’t, any possibility of connecting with them at a deeper level diminishes manyfold.
I am part of many groups where survivors of sexual abuse share their experiences. There is an inherent need for us to be acknowledged and to be heard, especially from our parents (and for a good reason).
Sadly when survivors say to their parents “why didn’t you protect us?”, many of the parents lash back with “You have been behaving badly yourself… ” etc.
It makes me feel sad. Why would a parent say this?
In my heart though, I know the answer already. It requires great courage to admit “I didn’t protect my child”. Imagine how much shame and guilt, a parent has to deal with when acknowledging this in addition to the fear that the “admission” might lead to some form of punishment.
Maybe it’s about the questions we ask…
Maybe it’s about the way we approach our parents…
If we want understanding, we need to be open to receiving it. When we are angry and in a blaming mode, there is no space for such understanding.
Of all the people I have heard and worked with, Marshall Rosenberg has been the most influential in talking about anger. What he says makes sense to me.
Anger at my Abuser
There was a time when I thought of really really punishing the man who abused me and used me for his sexual pleasures. After all, only a monster could do such things. Sadly, due to the international nature of my sexual abuse, it was futile for me to pursue this line of action.
Punishment was no longer available to me. I needed to find a different outlet for my anger.
I wrote many letters to him, some of them via Automatic Writing. In these letters I embraced my anger and let it express itself. Of course, I never sent these letters to him or anyone else for that matter. But these letters helped me greatly in coming to a place of openness.
I then became curious. I was curious why would someone do such a thing. What I found both shocked me and made me sad at the same time. I started seeing their actions in a bigger picture than just looking at the abuse defining who these people were… I wrote about it in my blog Why people hurt other people, if you are interested to know more…
Anger at my Parents
Recently, my parents went through another one of their unhappy phases. As a child, these phases used to scare me and make me feel really unsafe. As an adult though, I can feel their pain and I gain a greater understanding of their worlds.
When I feel their pain, my anger no longer has a strong hold on me. It is sorta mixed with a compassionate understanding of the pain they went through while raising us as children and trying to make the best out of a horrible situation.
Suddenly my question is no longer “Why didn’t you protect me?”
The question is “What pain did you go through that took over your life?”
The later question fills me with curiosity and creates a space in me for understanding. I understand why they weren’t able to protect me…
And I can place many “they shouldn’t have…” on their behavior, it doesn’t make any difference. It has already happened and no matter how much I resist or get angry at… nothing changes.
The only freedom is in Acceptance.
The liberation lies in Compassion.
This acceptance and compassion create a space within me to have hope. It doesn’t make it right but I feel that as humans, our lives cannot be lived and judged in the light of right and wrong. As they say, to err is human but we forget that sometimes.
What kind of questions are you asking?
Are you getting the answers you are hoping?
May be it’s time you changed your questions…