I think this has been my biggest hurdle to overcome. After dealing with a sociopath, I have had so many horrible, horrible things happen to me–from the abuse by the sociopath to the abuse by his enablers to watching my false friends fall under his spell and stab me in the back. I have had to endure all this while I KNOW the truth, while I have tried to show people all of the facts only to find that his charming lies override my ugly truths.
I have found that more people were angry at me for showing my anger than they were angry at the narcopath who abused me. People gossiped about me right in front of my face saying I must be the problem since I was so mad. A religious person told me I was the problem for not forgiving. Another person who agreed that my ex was an abuser said that I was still the problem because I was “attacking” him by telling people what he did to me and so many others. A pastor told me I was the problem for airing “dirty laundry” that should remain private. If I showed anger, that made me the bad person–even worse than the person who abused me until I was angry. I had more than one person tell me that, even if he did abuse me, I was still the problem because I continued to be angry. (Funny, because he’s continued to abuse more women, and they aren’t concerned about that!)
Of course I am angry!
I’ve had well-meaning friends tell me I have to stop being angry and being upset. I know that’s true, but after someone has desecrated your life, your self-esteem, your feelings and your character, it’s hard not to be angry. You can’t just wake up and not be angry. And that is okay. Just like forgiveness takes time, (if you choose to forgive,) so does getting past anger. You have to live through the anger. There is nothing wrong with feeling it. There are good and bad ways to express it, but the anger itself is a natural and very valid emotion. And yet, people fear it and consider it all bad–or have considered me bad for feeling it or admitting I feel it.
Anger is a valid emotion!
My anger is well-deserved. I put up with a lot before I finally kicked the abuser out of my life, and I put up with more after he was gone. I know it’s okay for me to feel it, but at the same time, I knew at some point I had to figure out how to escape it and get to the next step of recovery. At some point, once I’d stewed in my anger enough, I had to make a conscience effort to say “no more.” Of course, it still comes back some days when I’m reminded of something horrible, but it doesn’t rule my life anymore. I don’t wake up angry and go to bed angry like I did at first.
It was never a raging anger. It was a mixture of hurt, sadness, disappointment, anger, depression, confusion, stress and more. A darkness that took over every single day. I had the weight of knowing how dangerous this person was, how much he hurt me and others, the possibility that he’d hurt me again, and the sick feeling of knowing that, not only was he not held responsible, but he was getting all the sympathy and support by pretending he was the victim while I was the one suffering. What frustration.
When I decided it was time to stop being angry, I had to purposefully change my thoughts, refocus and redirect them. The reality is, that bad things happened to me. I could easily dwell on them, but now I say no. I’m not pretending nothing happened or denying reality, but I am accepting that I can’t control what happened or how others treat me. I had to accept the things I couldn’t change and start focusing on something better.
But I don’t feel guilty for feeling angry….