I Have Unresolved Anger And It's Hurting My Health
I grew up in a crazy household. My Father's emotional loyalty lay with his birth family, whom he could never tolerate a word against, never mind that their words & actions would often seem interfering & hurtful to my mother. He would fly into a rage if she spoke up, he would get drunk & he would physically hurt her. When I got old enough to understand & I'd try to protect her, he'd come at me too. I hated him & his birth family.
My mother would take her anger out on me. When I was younger, it was just a beating or two for not behaving right. Then as I grew & understood what was going on & tried to stand up for myself, tried to defend myself, it got worse. She would hurt me more for trying to defend myself. She'd hit me harder & would also call me names & say things to hurt me, to beat me down emotionally. I hated her. What kind of a mother could ever do that to her own daughter?
I got married at 23 & I thought I was done with all of it.
Walk into my life a few more crazies. My in-laws who think they are holier than The Divine Creator, and my husband's childhood friends who think they're the coolest people ever. None of them know how to listen. All they do is either constantly state their own opinions about everything on the face of this planet & beyond & it's usually something they read. Hardly any of them have the guts to actually go do something & then talk from personal experience. Vicarious living is the name of their game. And I don't do that too well. So I never win at their game. The other thing they excel at is to constantly criticize people who are different from them, for being different.
So as if it wasn't enough that I was physically & emotionally abused for not being a robotic, emotion-less slave to my parents while growing up, now I had to undergo regular ostracization from these new people in my life. And saying anything in my defense was treated in almost the same way as in my childhood. Thankfully, there was no physical abuse. But the emotional abuse was right there, just better masked & garnished. There was one girl who especially caused me a lot of grief & hurt my sense of self & self-pride with her constant putting me down.
My anger & resentment grew over the years until a year and a half ago, I told my husband I was completely done with his friends - no more meetups, I'm just done with those people. I told him that he needed to pick his priorities - its either me or them. He picked me, however it hasn't changed my resentment much. I'm still pissed off as hell that I had to put up with all that BS for years as an adult, for no reason other than the fact that my husband didn't know how to pick his company wisely. I'm livid that he was so blind to his friends' BS behavior.
Also, last year I pretty much pulled the rug from under my parents & brother & told them I'm taking some time to focus on myself for a while & won't be available to talk to them or deal with their problems in life. The less time I spend with them, the more clear it becomes to me that I really am happier on my own.
As for my in-laws, they've always been in some kind of holier-than-all-that-is kinda balloon. They can stay in it & rot in it for all I care. I am struggling with my resentment towards them for how they've spoken to me over the years. When I was a kind & nice person, they were not nice to me. Their words eroded my sense of self-esteem & self-confidence, all the while pretending to be oh-such-nice-people. I now hate them. I absolutely hate them & haven't talked to them in over a year & plan on keeping things that way.
How can I heal all that bottled-up, unresolved anger inside me?
It has started taking its toll on me, especially physically with chronic pain & I really would like to heal from it.
Having grown up in an angry household, I had sworn I'd never get angry & I'd never hurt people with my anger. I'm now questioning the sensibility in that decision. I wonder if it's even humanly possible. I may not be physically violent towards others, however the pent-up anger inside me is hurting me and I'm violent in my mind, I find it hard to even think of any of these people in a humane way. I am verbally abusive towards them in my mind, & it is hurting me. How can I heal from this?
I'm also beginning to wonder whether with some irresponsible adults, is it appropriate to allow anger to show so they know to back off & re-evaluate their behavior? Thereby protecting myself from the effects of their thoughtless behavior?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Smita, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell you're having a real hard time with your anger. You certainly have good reason to be angry, but that's not really the point right now...you're writing here because your anger is starting to hurt you. I'm glad you're concerned about yourself enough to take this positive action.
I strongly encourage you to read and follow all of the suggestions you will find on this FAQ page. It will help you to understand, heal and manage your anger. Keep in mind, Smita, these are powerful tools...but they only work if you use them. And the more you use them, the more they will help you.
Regarding your question about irresponsible adults, I encourage you to keep your focus on yourself. As long as you pay attention to the bad behavior of others, you will stay angry. Your focus needs to be on your own health and healing. The toll that your anger is taking on your health is significant, and it needs your attention.
If you follow the guidelines I've recommended, you will start to feel better, and you'll begin to shift your attitude in ways that help you. Do this for yourself, Smita. You are worth it.
My very best to you,
P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission to help you become your own best anger management resource.