Like even over little things that would they have happened to someone else you'd ignore it or even say some uplifting or encouraging words? But you just can't seem to be able to do this for yourself. It just feels so different or wrong. Your inner critic comes up with some reasons why you *need* to punish yourself to learn...
Today we'll talk about a specific anger - the anger turned inward.
Anger often get's labelled as a bad emotional or feeling. But anger is only bad if it's destructive, like your environment or hurting another person or animal. AND it's also a destructive form of anger, if it's turned inward and it's hurting yourself. That's not okay either.
We need to shift this anger. I'm not sure about your story specifically, but I'd say it's valid to say that: while the trauma was happening, expressing anger was not an option or was not a safe thing to do.
Well, that unjust, abusive and criminal treatment would bring up anger naturally in everyone. But we couldn’t actually express it towards the person causing that pain, instead we internalised it ->
We took on-board all the blame, shame and guilt... this becomes really toxic internally and fuels our inner turmoil and chaos.
So, now it's time to give ourselves permission to direct that anger towards that person or those people who caused us all that pain.
I don't know about you, but I had lots of therapy sessions there. I used to think managing, dealing and redirecting all that anger is impossible. The first many session just talking about redirecting anger brought up that much anxiety that I immediately dissociated.
It was just too scary for me initially. Are you struggling with this too?
It's so important on our healing journey that we allow ourselves to feel angry with the people who caused us all the pain and suffering. What I noticed is that when I managed to do this (even if it was only for minutes) what also came up was that deep raw sadness and grief (How to deal with grief...).
And I found that just as overwhelming!
With cPTSD our emotions quickly escalate to unbearable intensity. Having missed the milestones in childhood where you learn how to regulate emotions added another huge challenge to my healing journey (here's some more info on this).
There is just so much to be angry (and sad) about like that pain it caused us, all the time that we lost, all our cPTSD symptoms...
Now in adult life we have to put in so much time, effort and determination to re-wire our brain (webinar on brain function with cPTSD).
We have a right to feel angry about that, but it needs to be directed towards the abusers not the self. Express that anger in non-destructive ways and replace it with self-compassion. (eeks something else I really struggled with!!)
I wrote a lot of angry letters to each one of my abusers that I never posted. Instead I had a little ceremony and burnt them – a long time later when I was ready to do so… Actually, no one ever read them – not even my psychiatrist. It was just from me.
Also wrote poems, played music, squeezed balls and exercise – punching bags were my fav!!
Giving ourselves time to heal, being patient and open to learning are all signs of self-compassion.
Shifting the anger to where it belongs in a non-destructive way is a skill. Like all skills they feel impossible difficult to learn initially, then over time with perseverance become easier and easier 😊 Trust that you got what it takes to learn this skill.
The more I could focus my attention on moving forward and creating a future that a toxic person can only dream about (possible try to sabotage you - how to spot a narc), the more energy and motivation I had to make it happen.
You are a caring insightful hard-working determined brave person otherwise you wouldn't be on the net reading blogs like this to the end 😊 You can show compassion to another person and show them empathy... now we must show some of that good stuff toward ourselves as well.
Having those qualities lets us create friendships and relationships at deeper levels so we can create that sense of belonging and connectedness. We can find a selected view people that we can trust enough to let our guard down little by little... Most my life I felt lonely and alien. So many of my clients felt just like that too.
When I catch myself ruminating about things from the past that I had no control over and were not my fault, I turn the anger towards that abuser and remind myself that what happened was wrong unjust and criminal, but I am safe now and gently re-focus my attention on creating a much better future for myself. (here's a video with what kept me stuck)
Please know that you are worthy of close caring nurturing relationships with others and give yourself permission to treat yourself the same way 😊
Until next time, sending you lots & lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little
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