Healing your Anger After Abuse
If you have recently left an emotionally abusive relationship, you may find yourself struggling with a lot of anger. This may surprise you, because often victims don’t feel angry while they are with their abuser. They may feel sad, scared, worthless, or any number of other feelings. It isn’t until they leave that the anger hits. Sometimes they find themselves so angry, their anger scares them. Since this is often a new emotion, feeling this burning anger can be very frightening, especially if they were trained as children to never show signs of anger, because of abusive or harsh parenting.
If this is you, what do you do now? Do you stuff this emotion, hoping it will go away? Do you let your anger scorch everyone around you? Do you feel bad about yourself, and turn the anger inward, (which is depression)?
No to all of the above.
Instead, may I recommend:
Accept you have a reason to feel angry.
Tell those you care about that you are going through a period of great anger because of your abuse, and you will do your best not to let your anger flow to them.
Be honest with God about why you are angry. Possibly, you are angry with Him.
Give yourself a break:
You have every right to feel angry. This is a valid emotion, based on what you have just gone through. Possibly your anger has built up over many years, and you could never show it before. Anger is a healthy emotion for someone who has had their boundaries trampled for a long period of time.
It is OK to be angry right now. This is only a season of your life. You can decide to work to ameliorate this anger, and it will begin to dissipate.
What can you do with your anger until you are able to get past it?
Use the energy of your anger to make needed changes in your life:
- Do you need to find a new place to live, or a new job?
- Do you need to find counselors for you and/or your kids?
- Do you need to make new friends?
Realize anger is a natural reaction when your boundaries have been trampled, and set up better boundaries with others:
- Do you need to get a restraining order?
- Do you need to change passwords, and/or get new bank, email, and other social media accounts?
- Do you need to reevaluate friendships with unhealthy people?
When you are ready to give up your fierce anger, check out this blog for some ideas of how to do this.
And remember, God is always on your side, no matter how you currently feel. Hebrews 13:5 promises us:
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
If you are angry at God, check out my next blog for ideas on how to deal with that anger.
Question: If you experienced great anger upon leaving an abuser, how did you deal with your anger? Your suggestions might help another.
I pray God will walk beside you while you deal with your justifiable anger.