Deal With ItbyMagicaPractica©
There are times in our lives when most of us have tried to run from painful things. I've buried myself in work and distracted myself with food or buying things I didn't need. Sex and alcohol are major distracters for many. The problem with burying pain and anger is that it leaves them intact to rise again, like an evil spirit.
Pain and anger stay with us, ready to be dug up again when the next thing comes along. They magnify what's currently happening through the lens of what happened before. Pain can be magnified into a deep depression while anger can be magnified out of all proportion to the situation.
I think it is a well-established fact by this point that the abused child often becomes the abuser in the future if something is not done to break the chain by helping the person deal with the pain they carry with them.
I'm sure everyone has heard the term applied to kids, "acting out," by now. The child is hurt about one thing and displaces that pain into inappropriate activities that they shouldn't be doing. The child needs to be appropriately punished but he or she needs more than that. They need to be given the tools to express themselves appropriately so it doesn't continue. It can continue into adulthood.
My mother would often erupt inappropriately. She had a lot of anger and pain that she carried with her like a banked fire in her belly. When something happened to make her angry she would tap into it and react out of all proportion to the incident, taking out her anger on whoever was handy.
It was a sort of terrorism to never know when she was going to erupt but knowing that she definitely would. It was absolutely terrifying to watch her eyes bug out and her neck veins strain as she yelled. Knowing what I do now, I think we were very lucky that her reactions were mostly verbal, but that made them no less terrifying at the time.
A side note about yelling. If you think your kids aren't scared when you yell at them in anger, think again. They might have a blank face or even yell back, trying to defend themselves, but they're either scared or have moved beyond it into pain, resentment and anger themselves.
My brother has a rule of no yelling in his house. Yelling doesn't really solve anything. If you're that angry, find a better way to let the anger out then come back to the discussion when everyone can be calm about it.
Yelling can also cause physical pain. Someone yelling at me hurts my ears. I'll walk away. A child may not feel they have that option. Children also often get nauseous when feeling fear and worry. Seems like we're getting further and further away from the probable goal, getting a point across, by yelling.
Pain and anger can go hand in hand and the way we deal with one can be helpful with the other. I learned to sit with the pain, to cry, to grieve, to write, to let it out. It doesn't get rid of it completely but when it does come back, it's a little less intense each time, like the waves of an outgoing tide, further and further away. I've used that same technique when I was angry, writing a letter to the person I was angry with to let the anger out because I simply couldn't deal with the person at that point.
Carrying around pain and anger takes a tremendous amount of energy. It can be draining. Just feeling pain and anger can have a detrimental effect on your body. I'm not going to claim that it causes tumors or illness because it hasn't been proven, as far as I know. Just think for a minute about how you feel when you're angry though. Your blood pressure probably rises, you might get a headache, or be nauseous from extra acid in your stomach. We know that high blood pressure is bad for us and extra acid can lead to ulcers. Isn't that bad enough?
So what do we do when we're angry with someone for a good reason? Forgive. Forgiveness isn't about the other person all the time. You don't even have to tell them. You may not be able to if they've already passed on. Forgiveness is about letting go of the pain for yourself. It might require a simple decision inside or it might require writing a letter to the person, whether or not you mail it. It's all about what will work for you. You'll know when you've really done it.
If forgiveness isn't an option right now, for whatever reason, doing something constructive with the pain and anger seems to help some people. It's how a lot of legislation and victim assistance centers have been started. Not everyone has those kinds of resources but volunteering time to a good cause can help both the person receiving and the person giving the time.
In the end, whatever the pain or anger, you've simply got to face it and deal with it or it's never going to get better.