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This blog entry is completely based on the point of view of my wounded (devastated) inner child, Annie. I cannot stop crying and haven’t for two days, and it is all because of Annie’s pain. The adult me knows that my actions and reactions are not “appropriate” ones for an adult, but Annie doesn’t give a shit. This blog entry is for her. I am posting it now, even though I have already posted today, hoping that somebody can get through to Annie because I cannot. All I can do is give her a voice. ~ Faith

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Everyone lied to me. They said it was all my fault, and I believed them. They said that they would be there for me when I needed them, but they aren’t mind readers – I have to tell them that I need them. So, I did. I told them that this period between the full moon and the summer solstice would be hard. I told them that I wasn’t sleeping and that, when I did, it was all nightmares. I told them that I was triggered by some day-to-day adult stuff that I don’t know how to handle – I am just a little girl who has been betrayed by everyone.

I thought there was someone in my corner, but they lied to me. They said that if I told them that I needed them, they would be there … but they weren’t. They said all I had to do was reach out and they would help me. I did reach out – I reached out to eight different people – but nobody was there. I needed someone to catch my fall but, as always, there was no one to catch my fall.

I have heard that, when you fall in your dreams, you cannot hit the ground because you will wake up first. That isn’t true. I do fall and hit the ground in my dreams, just like I fall and hit the ground when I am awake. There is no one to catch me. There has never been anyone to catch me.

I hate them for giving me hope. At least before, I knew I was alone. I knew it was up to me and me alone, as a little girl, to figure out how to be OK. They lied to me and said I wasn’t alone anymore, but I still am. All I needed was one person – just one person – to hold my hand, but there wasn’t a hand to hold … and I fell.

I am so tired of falling. I want to die, but Faith won’t let me, and I hate her for it. She won’t stop me from falling, either. Nobody can stop it. Nobody is there. I am tired of being all alone. I would rather die than keep falling, and I don’t want any more lies about not being alone because I am. I believed them, and they weren’t there. I won’t make that mistake again.

Everyone is always sorry after the fact. Sorry you were raped, Annie. Sorry I wasn’t there for you, but I am here now. I don’t need you now. I needed you then, and you weren’t there. Nobody was ever there, and nobody ever will be there. I hate all of you, including Faith. She’s the biggest liar of all because she said I would be OK, and she was wrong. There is only one way to be OK, and she won’t let me die.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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On my blog entry entitled A (Helpful) Christian Perspective on Forgiveness after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

I just wishi I could actually feel anger and hatred toward my abusers….at this point I just feel numb about it and frankly don’t even believe most of the stories the other parts of me tell. ~ Barbi

I was once in that same place. My self-perception was that I had a very long fuse. I would never stand up for myself or show any anger (or really even feel anger). However, about once a year, I would “blow up.” I now recognize that an angry alter part would finally have enough and express my repressed anger.

I told my therapist that I really did not feel any anger toward my abusers. I also felt very detached from the abuse, as you describe. My therapist assured me that I did have anger inside that I needed to express. When I was ready, I would experience the anger. I did not believe him.

I believe it is the book The Courage to Heal that calls anger “the backbone to healing.” That book, along with the Survivor to Thriver manual, provide good exercises for tapping into your anger. I was actually afraid to tap into mine. I knew that, based upon the memories that I had already recovered, the anger had to be intense. If I turned the anger “on,” could I then turn it back “off”?

The first step to tapping into your anger is believing your memories. Even though they might not feel like “your” memories, they are. You need to start accepting that those memories are of events that really happened to you. I know how hard that is to do, but it is crucial to healing.

Then, choose an exercise to give your anger a voice. I chose punching pillows. I felt an idiot for the first three punches, but the anger exploded out of me with the fourth punch. It was empowering to tap into the strength of that anger, and my anxiety symptoms eased immediately afterward.

I have heard many wonderful suggestions for processing anger:

  • Beat the ground with a baseball bat
  • Punch pillows
  • Take a kickboxing class
  • Throw objects against a wall
  • Visualize beating up your abuser
  • Write your abusers’ names on red balloons and pop them

I find that doing something physical is helpful when you are first learning how to tap into your anger. Invite your anger out, and tell yourself that it is okay to feel and express your anger. Then, give one of these tools (or something similar) a try and see what happens.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Hub and I had an argument over the weekend, and it got ugly. It needed to get ugly because he was being completely unreasonable. He also pushed after I told him to back off, so he got what he deserved. It’s about d@#$ time that he learn to respect my boundaries.

Let me back up … I used to be the world’s biggest doormat. I never stood up for myself; I just did what other people told me to do. My motto was “peace at all costs,” and I believed that conflict would lead to abandonment. So, I had no boundaries in place, and people constantly took advantage of me.

Hub had it really good back then because I was a “Stepford” wife. We did what he wanted to do whenever he wanted to do it. I asked for nothing. Until we had trouble conceiving a baby about five years into our marriage, everything was about him. He didn’t even see it coming when I started fighting back because I wanted a baby so badly and he did not want to go through infertility treatments.

Even though I had no boundaries, about once a year I would blow up and stand my ground. I thought I had the world’s longest fuse. What was really happening was that an alter part would finally have enough and would come out swinging. I would suddenly have this amazing strength that would protect me. I would hear the words coming out of my mouth and be just as shocked as the person who got the tongue lashing.

Now that I have integrated my anger parts, I have access to this strength, and I use it whenever I need it. That is what hub learned the hard way during this argument. He stepped over the line verbally. I told him to back off, but he kept pushing, so I unleashed. I could feel the fury from the very depths of my soul that I had been holding at bay. However, once he refused to respect my boundaries, he got what he got, which was a verbal tongue-lashing complete with expletives that he didn’t see coming.

When he would corner me like this in the past, it would trigger my head-banging alter part. Hub is an attorney, and a litigator at that, so he has professional training for backing people into a corner verbally. Feeling backed into a corner would trigger the part of myself that was forced to make a “Sophie’s Choice”. I would run out of the room screaming and then bang my head. That did not happen during this argument. Instead, I got really p@$$ed off that he did not back off when I asked him to, so I removed my filters and let my anger have its say. It was ugly. I spoke (yelled) what was deep in my heart with no filter to cushion the blow. That was when the tide turned in the argument.

Hub and I talked things out and made up, but I hope he will eventually learn that he can no longer treat me like the Stepford wife he once had. It is a shame that I have to get to a place where the anger must come out unfiltered, but clearly that is the only way to get some people to back off when they cross my boundaries. I am grateful that I finally have a way to protect my boundaries.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry How to Forgive an Abuser after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following question:

Yeah, I know there must be rage. It bubbles up a little now and again. I am scared of its depths. I want to find it, connect with it, but something is blocking me…perhaps fear? How did you get in touch with it? How did you find it? I find others’ experiences helpful.

Anger (or rage) was the emotion that I most deeply repressed. I felt so disconnected from my anger that I honestly did not believe that I even had any. My therapist assured me that I did and that I would process it when I was ready.

Although I felt no anger, I felt an enormous amount of anxiety, manifesting in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. I also struggled with depression on and off. I later learned that both anxiety and depression are a manifestation of repressed anger. Because the anger has nowhere to go, it turns on you.

I finally reached a place where I knew that I needed to heal my anger, but I did not have the first clue about how to get in touch with it. I decided to lock myself in a room when I had the house alone and invite the anger out. I thought I would punch pillows and see what happened. I was scared about how I would handle the anger if it came out because feeling anger was such a foreign concept to me.

I punched a pillow hard once, then twice, and then three times. Nothing happened, and I felt like an idiot. However, on the fourth punch, rage exploded out of me. It felt like releasing the force of a hurricane from inside of myself. For fifteen minutes, I screamed and cursed at my abusers. I beat, clawed, and mangled the pillows. I was scared, and yet it felt soooo good — like this was something that should have been released years ago.

After about fifteen minutes, I was spent. I was also relieved. Even though my anger/rage was powerful, it was not uncontrollable. It just needed somewhere to go, and it felt wonderful to pour that energy out of myself. Immediately afterward, I noticed a dramatic decrease in my OCD symptoms.

Since that time, I have used a couple of other tools. My ritual abusers used popsicle sticks to “program” me, so I fought back using popsicle sticks. I bought a box of them at a craft store. One by one, I broke the popsicle sticks and yelled taunts at my abusers. I saved the broken sticks and, when needing to process more anger toward my ritual abusers, I would throw the popsicle sticks at the wall. Hearing them hit the wall and watching the broken pieces fall to the floor was healing for me.

One other helpful tool has been visualization. I will visualize the child me about to be harmed. Then, the adult me swoops in and kicks some serious butt. I allow those visualizations to get as graphic as I need them to get. This has become my preferred method for processing anger.

Other tools that work for other people include…

  • Beating the ground with a baseball bat
  • Popping red balloons with the abusers’ names written on them
  • Taking a kickboxing class
  • Writing an angry letter that you don’t plan to send

Doing something physical is often the best way to get started with processing anger.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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