Thursday, July 25, 2013

What About Anger?

Hello ladies! When asked, some of you responded that you would like to see some discussion around the issue of anger. While I don't think I have any kind of magic potion to dissipate anger, I want to talk about what you all want to talk about. So here we go.

First the dry facts.

Anger comes from three primary sources: frustration, hurt, fear. Anger is not actually a primary emotion, it is something that happens over time when we fail to deal with what's really going on inside of us.

So, for example, you're frustrated with the adoptive parents, but take no action to change things. Or maybe you do take action to change things, but nothing changes. If you allow it, that frustration can turn into anger, which is a whole different animal.

Or take hurt for example. You were wronged by your boyfriend but have never dealt with the raw feelings that created. Instead you build a wall and get angry instead of dealing with your real issues of feeling unworthy or unloved.

And fear. This is a good one. Because I think we're all afraid of things that we may not recognize we're afraid of. We're afraid of losing what little relationship we have with the adoptive parents or our own birthchild or whomever.

So that's a quick review of what anger is. But what do we do with it?

I personally don't think we can live healthy fulfilling lives while we are carrying around a load of anger. In my own life I have seen the physical and emotional drain of constantly nursing those feelings, rehearsing the wrong-doers' actions over and over in my mind. Keeping those feelings of hurt or fear or anger or some combination of all three alive. It is exhausting. I know. I carried anger around in my heart for years.

Whatever frustration or hurt or fear you are carrying must be dealt with honestly and openly. Now I'm not necessarily suggesting you get alone in a room with someone who hurt you. That might work for some people, but could be a total disaster for others. Instead, think more along the lines of expressing yourself in a safe place.

  • Write a letter you never intend to send.
  • Talk it out with a trusted friend or counselor or no one. There are often times I speak out loud to my empty house just so I can get out of my own head and back to reality.
  • Cry, scream, bang things, throw things, have an all-out tantrum if it helps. But safety first; make sure you are in a safe place and there is no one else around who could be hurt with flying saucers.
  • Join a support group. Those people understand like no others some of the particulars of your hurts/fears/frustrations. Online and in person there are many choices these days. I have been pleasantly surprised this year to meet so many women both on line and in person with whom I can identify.
One of the dangers of anger is burying it so deeply that you become passive to it and don't even realize it's there. You have carried it around for so long that it is just part of who you are. That kind of anger is harder to see.

Ok. Your turn now. Start working on your anger by doing one of these things this week. If you are reading this and think that it doesn't apply to you, look again. Take a closer look. Maybe you have buried your anger in order to move on with your life. But something alive and kicking like anger doesn't stay buried forever.

Maybe you are genuinely healthy and have something to add to this list. Be sure to leave a comment so we can all glean from your experience.

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  1. I LOVE my anger! I get angry about adoption issues often and I gladly take that anger and channel it into something positive. I use to fuel my cause to write more about adoption, to be an activist for Adoptee Rights, to face the fears and move forward. Since 2005, I have been writing on my blog Musings of the Lame- Life as a Birthmother in Adoption, and the beauty is that my anger, has actually in turn gone on to help a countless number of other people. Plus when I write, it takes it out of my head, no more wallowing, not more tight feelings in the chest. It's like any feeling considered "negative" we cannot get past it, but we must move through it.

    1. I gotta second what Claud says here. I used to suppress my anger, completely denying it was there. Could it be from hurt? Absolutely, but the anger is very valid and I think it's a whole separate emotion for me on it's own. But, it's not a negative thing for me. My anger fuels me in my quest for adoption reform. It fuels most things I do, and positively believe it or not. I'm not saying I spend day in day out being an angry person, I don't. But it's there. Trick is using it to fuel something positive. Wasm't till I openly acknowledge, YES! You're DARN right I'm angry! This is WRONG what happened to my child and I, and I'm not gonna be silent about it anymore...that I started getting better in every aspect of my life.

      I have heard that statement that anger is actually just fear or hurt manifesting itself. And, for the most part, I agree. But in this case, when something SO traumatic happens and you kind of come to the realization that it not only happened to you, but your child, I think that anger is true anger. Hope that made sense.

  2. Thank you girls! I LOVE how you are channeling that anger and using that energy to do good stuff.
    Something which I totally forgot to mention. Good for you both. Thank you for adding your wisdom!