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Anger without Rage

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by Duckysmom » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:18 am

So, I'm feeling a bit of a failure right now. My last assignment from my therapist was to write a letter to one of my abusers. I did that well even though I didn't want to. My new assignment is to write a letter to the same person and get in touch with my anger. In my last letter, I touched on the anger, but mostly the confusion and sadness. I sort of glossed over the anger. In her terms, I turned somewhat clinical, like a therapist saying, "You must be very angry about that." Well, yes, I must, but I don't feel it. Not towards this particular person.

So I haven't started it. A million excuses why. Have to take care of Auntie while Bill's away. Laundry needs to be done. Bathroom needs to be clean. I need to vacuum. I really should vacuum Auntie's bedroom. I need to trim and paint my nails. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Couldn't do it during the work week because it could effect my performance the next day. On and on.

If you're still with me, and I'm not boring you to tears yet, I'll try to get to the point. I see my tdoc tomorrow and fear I will have nothing in hand. I know she's not going to be angry with me, but I fear it. I know she will say, "You're not ready yet. That's ok. Let's talk about . . . " maybe we'll talk about why I'm afraid.

I actually looked up the definition of anger. Yep, that's about it.

In my manic stages, I rage. Horribly so. Damagingly (is that a word?) so. Not just smashing things, throwing things, slamming things, but I shriek and scream and my tongue becomes a sword. I have the ability to cut someone to pieces with words. But that's when I'm manic. I'm stable now.

Stable, I get irritated, annoyed, miffed. I speak my mind, but I don't scream. (Except in certain cases, like my sister's death - that fury I can feel, but I shove it down most of the time.)

I was the bullied kid on the playground who would turn around and loan a pencil to the bully in class just minutes after he bullied me. People pleaser much?

There was so much anger around me in my life. And that anger most often turned abusive. I felt it coming from others and I watched it play out. I felt rage in my manic states that scared the hell out me let alone the people around me.

If I open the scab, even peel it back a little, is the rage going to pour out of me again like it did a couple of weeks ago? I don't want to go there - to that rage. Tdoc and pdoc both agree that in my manic states I rage partly because of that underlying anger using it as an outlet not just because I'm a raging bipolar having an episode. I'm stable now, but I know what that rage feels like. I don't want to go there now. I know, logically, in my grown up head there is such a thing as a healthy out put of anger. I know, in my grown up, logical mind, that I should be angry about the abuse. I know I can't heal without letting go of what's hiding underneath the scab. But, damn, I don't want to pick at it!

I don't think I made a point. I think I just rambled. I think I went in circles. I think I'm not making any sense at all. I think I will look up the definition of anger again. And I know I appreciate you reading my ramblings as if it was the most normal thing for me to do.

Time to make Auntie breakfast. Maybe I will talk to her about my problem with this since she has become so open with me about my illnesses and has been trying so hard to be helpful and really understand. Being 89 years old, she has some wisdom I don't have. She has offered many times to be my sounding board recently, so maybe that's what I'll do. Maybe.

Thanks for reading. Some insight is welcome.
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by AvantGarde » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:30 am

I know about this! I know about this! :D

So, there's a huge difference between tapping on the anger you feel towards your abuse versus the anger/rage you let out when you're out of control. And you're not going to go out of control in showing that anger if you tap on it in therapy, you're not in that place anymore and I highly doubt you would go to that place again, because now you're treating it. So, first off, they're separate things and second, you're not going bonkers over it.

What might happen is you get a bit emotionally dyregulated, lashing out a bit here and there but under control and just annoyed, not overwhelmingly angry for sure. The overwhelming anger will come out as other things, such as confusion, dissociation, headaches, etc. Somatic things, probably. For me it was complete lack of focus and just a feeling that I could lose control, but never did actually lost it.

Once you tap on that anger, you resolve it in therapy and you let go of it, you move on to other things you need to feel. It's really a process of grief, you'll grief for the past you had and the one you didn't have. And that makes us angry.

Hug! You got this.
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by Duckysmom » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:29 am

Thank you, AG. I really thought I was losing it, going in circles in my mind and in my post. It's so comforting to know that I'm not alone in this. Your insight helps a great deal.

Surprisingly so, Auntie's insight helped as well. I decided to test the waters and talk to her about it. She suggested going upstairs and speaking it out loud instead of writing it down, where I could edit it and hold back. She said if she hears me yelling, she'll just turn the TV up and feel proud that I'm doing my homework. She was very gentle, very sweet and very understanding. She said once I say it out loud, it won't be so scary and repeating it will be much easier. So I can take my homework in, just not on paper. She also said that she will understand if my mood drops a bit after and she will help me not let that get out of control by bringing me back to the present in whatever way she can. I think our relationship has turned a corner.
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by Spm24 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:32 am

Not being able to complete your assignment is not a failure. It might be that your mind is not ready to take this step. But I don't believe it. I think it is just your mind trying to play tricks on you because it is afraid of what comes from getting better.

Auntie has sure done a one eighty turn around.... Which is nice to have an additional resource to go to for help...
Snowflakes gently floating from the sky just dusting the ground. Then it picks up bigger fatter flakes cascading from space at a faster rate. From a dusting to a trace. Then the deluge comes. Oh what joy. Watching everything slow to a crawl, then a stop. Step outside and even with things moving it is quiet. It is a giant muffler the earth is wearing. Causing everything to be muted.To be calm.
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by AvantGarde » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:40 am

That's a great idea she had! Now saying "You're being such an Auntie" can actually be a good thing :lol: I'm very proud of how you both handled turning the corner of your relationship. It's a well earned turn around, and she's actually being very insightful and helpful. Wow!

And no problem at all. My own assignement is to write a love letter to myself as a 5 yo. Maybe after you write the angry letter you can write a love letter to yourself too.
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by Pancake » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:16 pm

Ducky, I don't have your trauma, but I do understand having a screwed up relationship with anger. Wishing you luck and love.

Also, :shock: on the auntie turnaround. She seems to be maintaining her new attitude, too. That must make home a much nicer place to be.
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by Duckysmom » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:41 pm

Well, I completed my homework. I went upatairs to the family room alone and just started talking as if that person was there. I cried a little, yelled a little, then sat down at my laptop and wrote it all out, repeating everything I said. Auntie's suggestion worked. But my memory sucks so I had to put it in paper so I didn't forget anything. My memory sucks these days and I'm soooo good at disassociation that I was afraid I would block it during my session with my tdoc. Printed it out.
Not down, not up, feeling flat like an empty balloon. I think I'm already in disassociation. But I'm also feeling emotionally drained. Tired. Exhausted really. Thanks for the support, everyone. Means the world to me.
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