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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Anger as a shield

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Author Topic: Anger as a shield
LifeEnColor
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Member # 51950

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I'm not sure if this is the right topic, so I'm sorry if it isn't.

Recently, I've felt more resolve and confidence with my ability to tell my ex and past abuser that I don't want to have any contact with him anymore. I'm not sure what sparked this, but one minute I felt like crap, and the next I felt strong and willing to do what needed to be done.
That was a few days ago, and the initial great feeling is gone, but I still stand firm in what I want and need to do. But I find myself turning to anger a lot. If I ever feel myself thinking of how upset I'm going to make him when I do this, I just think of all the awful things he's done to me until I'm well and angry, and I feel like my resolve is strengthened. I just want to know...is this particularly healthy? Should I be intentionally angering and upsetting myself daily so that I don't chicken out on this?
I've also completely stopped communicating this with my boyfriend. I've kept him in the loop ever since I realized what happened, and he's definitely been my main support system through all of this. But now I don't want to mention anything about my past abuse and assault to him. I feel like I've been weak relying on him so much, and now that I'm feeling a little stronger, I almost want to hog it all for myself and make sure I'm the only one contributing to that continued feeling.

Posts: 112 | From: Upperstate NY | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Anger, like every other emotion we can feel, isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Like all other emotions, it's mostly about how we manage it, and anger is one of those a lot of people don't manage well.

But using it as a means to motivate yourself for positive change? That's about the best use of it there is. You have a right to be angry at someone who abused you, assaulted you and is continuing to harass you: every right. That you weren't feeling angry before now was likely indicative of not fully acknowledging what this person did to you and how very, very not-okay all of that was and is. That you've gotten angry is great.

You're not taking that anger and looking to or aiming to do this person harm: that'd be an unhealthy way to deal with anger. Instead, you're using it to start keeping yourself safe from this person and to set healthy boundaries that need to be set for everyone. That's fantastic.

In your last paragraph, I think what you're expressing is wanting to be sure you feel a sense of real ownership with these actions: that you want them to be something you get the responsibility and thus, credit for. Does that sound about right?

I'm so very proud of you, by the way. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LifeEnColor
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Wow, that all really means a lot to me. To know that I'm finally taking steps in the right direction is a great motivator. [Smile]

I was just really unsure about the whole anger thing. I had just always thought it was a negative feeling and the fact that I was purposely bringing it on myself, I thought I was doing more harm than good.

And yes, that does make sense about me wanting to feel real ownership with my actions. I've always been the kind of person that does things on my own and have only recently started letting others in to try and help me. I like the fact that I can still do things for myself and by myself. Don't get me wrong, I love my boyfriend and my close friends for their support, but it's nice to know that I can still stand alone, you know?

Posts: 112 | From: Upperstate NY | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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A middle ground you can perhaps find with your boyfriend and others is to just ask them to support you in the things you are doing on your own.

For example, you take an action: so you share it with them, ask them to give you support and encouragement. Or, maybe when you do something like cut this guy off, you need a little extra care that night, so you can ask your boyfriend or a friend to go out to dinner with you and do something fun so you can destress. Things like that are ways to still involve people in the things you do like this, while still retaining ownership of them.

Another thing that can help with that is boundaries. For instance, it's okay to tell a partner or friend that you don't want them to tell you how to do something like this unless you expressly ask for help.

I don't think feeling what we feel and allowing ourselves to fully experience those feelings is ever harmful, and when we do that AND use those feelings to cultivate positive change, we can be 100% sure that ALL they are doing is good, you know?

And honestly, you starting to turn this corner is a major day-maker for me. It makes me feel really happy to see you feeling so capable and powerful.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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