Anger As A Helpful Tool

Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website.  Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new.  I have to copy & paste old entries manually.  I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea.  It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.

One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me.  Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact.  It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.

I don’t like feeling anger.  In fact, I really hate it.  When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible.  Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while.  At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did.  Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.

The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents.  I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health.  That anger helped me to maintain my distance.  And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time.  In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life.  (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)

That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents.  We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist.  This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life.  I experienced this in 2016 & 2017.  The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.

The anger I felt also helped me to think logically.  That was very helpful, too!  If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship?  What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me?  Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.

I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon.  So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin.  While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger!  Anger isn’t a sin.  It’s simply an emotion.  What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything?  Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.

Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively.  Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it.  Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation.  Maybe it will help motivate you to change.  Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.

While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you.  Don’t let it be a waste.  Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can.  It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.

6 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

6 responses to “Anger As A Helpful Tool

  1. Every morning, I read from a daily devotional book that was written by Paul Meier, MD, the Christian psychiatrist who diagnosed my PTSD eighteen years ago. The book, entitled Free to Forgive: Daily Devotions for Adult Children of Abuse, is out of print now, but I was able to buy a good used copy on Amazon.

    Yesterday’s reading, on the topic of anger, focused on Matthew 18:21-22, where Jesus told Peter that he needs to forgive ‘up to seventy times seven’. Under the daily scripture reading, Dr. Meier wrote several paragraphs on the subject. The last paragraph reads as follows:

    ‘When friends you love are grieving a loss, whether it is a current loss or the severe loss that comes from childhood abuses, help them break through denial, weep with them when they weep, then help them talk about their anger and rage. They can’t forgive until they get in touch with and verbalize their anger. The healing is in the forgiving. They need to turn vengeance over to God.’

    It sounds to me like you handled your anger correctly, Cynthia. Which isn’t an easy thing to do!

    Like

  2. ibikenyc

    “. . . we just need to ‘let go’ of the anger. Well that sounds all nice, but it’s also impossible unless you feel it first. Feeling means you can process it & only then can you let it go.”

    Amen to that (nudge-nudge 😉 😉 )

    (And it ain’t just Christians who so insist. Lookin’ at you, Pseudo-New Agers.)

    Liked by 1 person

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