Why I Went to Anger Management and What I Learned

You went to anger management??? But you’re a Christian! and… you’re like 5’2! No offense but I don’t see you ever being able to “take anyone down”. Why would you ever need to go?

If you’re wondering, this is usually how the conversation goes when I start to tell people about why I went to anger management (and if you’re wondering.. No, there’s no way I would last two seconds in an actual physical fight.). I think most people think of anger management as a room full of uncontrollably irate people or a therapy session where a scruffy looking man is wearing a “wife beater shirt”. The “perfect candidate” is probably at least 6ft tall, spits on their counselor, smokes in a grave yard (oh wait that’s Wolverine), throws beer bottles at their neighbors, and generally has a bad reputation.

We have an idea in our mind of who these angry people should look like and expect for them to fit the general stereotype. But anger is an emotion that we have all felt at some time and truthfully anyone can let it get out of hand if they are not careful.

If you’ve read My Sexual Abuse Story and How I Forgave My Abuser and Healing from Spiritual Abuse and Forgiving My Abusers you will know that I have had to go to counseling and therapy for many different things. You will also know there was a season of my life where my walls were up so high it nearly destroyed my marriage. Not only was I loosing my marriage, I was also loosing myself.

While I understand everyone’s experiance with anger management or reasons for going might be dfferent, in today’s thinks I want to talk to you about my experience of going through anger management and the importance of getting help.

When did you realize you needed help?

I wish I could say the answer was immediately, but truthfully it took several months from my first initial outburst with my husband to seek help (My Sexual Abuse Story and How I Forgave My Abuser). My blood pressure was getting out of controle, a Dr. even tried to prescribe me blood pressure medication, and any little thing or bad memory would set me off into a state of rage. Seth had asked me to get help many times but I was too proud to admit that my anger was getting out of control. I was also terrified of what others would think of me if I got help.
Would people judge me?
Would people think I was a bad person?
Would it ruin my future?
Would I be diagnosed as “crazy”?

So many questions flooded my mind. I remember my husband having to drive me to my first counseling appointment because I was completely petrified with fear.

So, were you always angry?

To that question I would have to say yes and no. I had never had an outburst like I did when my flashbacks started happening, but it doesn’t mean those things were not always there. Suppressed anger can be some of the most dangerous types of emotions that someone could ever carry. You are literally a walking human time bomb only waiting to explode. This is very common with abuse victims that do not receive help. The scarier part is the “explosions” will usually occur around the people that you love the most. It’s a terrifying experience for sure.

Wait, but wouldn’t that be your abusers fault?

I want to take a moment to talk to my fellow abuse victims here for a second. You guys are my support army and many of you have reached out to me already, shared your stories, and encouraged me to keep going more than you will ever know. So thank you so much! What happened to us was wrong. There are no excuses for the treatment you received. You are not in any way responsible for the other party’s actions. Regardless of what kind of abuse took place, there are no reasonings that your abuser can hide behind. They made a choice, no one (not even you) made them behave the way they did.
With that being said, it is sadly not uncommon for an abuse victim to look at their life in complete brokenness and say something along the lines of, “I became the very person I hated the most.” But why is that? Does that make them a bad person or just someone that  made some mistakes? Both are valid questions.
Please know that I am not scolding you in any way, so I am sorry if I come across as blunt or harsh.

At some point in our lives we will be given the chance to choose our destiny. We will be given the option to become the very evil we hated or commit to become who we are meant to be. The division between the two is a distinct difference that requires deliberate choices, and sometimes they can be extremely difficult ones.

 

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Let me put it this way. There is not going to be a single judge or a jury member who will excuse a child abuser who has disfigured a child’s face because the abuser had an abusive childhood. The abuser may have had a horrific childhood (and usually they have) but there is no mercy in court for these types of actions. And rightfully so, justice must be served and the child must be protected.
While you are never (Can I please stress NEVER) responsible for what happened to you, the emotions that flow out of us after are ours. Taking ownership of our emotions in no way justifies the abuse that took place or somehow gives the abuser the right to do what they did. It just means that you love and respect yourself enough and the people you love around you to purposefully choose your life’s outcome. It also allows you to take back control from where your abusers may have planted seeds of bitterness or anger in you. You are now the one driving, not them.

But I’m human… I’m going to get mad

There is nothing wrong with having emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, etc. These are all natural responses to events in our lives. However, processing these emotions in a healthy manner is key to any recovery. Without processing these emotions, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. We are only a matter of years or months away from someone “setting us off.” The more we understand how to take control of our emotions, the less they will take control of us.

I know I need help but to be honest… I’m terrified

My friend, I can honestly say I completely understand! Going to anger management was probably the most humbling but liberating thing I have ever gone through. Having to talk about my past was even scarier. I had to be real with a counselor and completely honest with myself. Admitting things, forgiving people, remembering things… things I thought I forgot… They all had to be brought into the light. As mortifying as that sounds, I am forever grateful to my counselor and to my husband for helping me with this process. I was no longer a prisoner to my past and healing could begin. It wasn’t an overnight journey for sure. It took months of exercises that my counselor gave me (including writing a letter to my sexual abuser My Sexual Abuse Story and How I Forgave My Abuser ). Some of them felt impossible to get through. But you will find that when you start your journey, you will realize you are so much stronger than you thought you were. You will not only climb over or walk around the walls in your life, you will run right through them.  Your journey will probably be life long (I know it will be for me). But trust me, there is nothing like being alive in freedom.

But what if I’m, you know… too far gone?

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If we let anger go for too long, it can cause some serious damage. Relationships might already be broken or consequenses may have to take place for our actions. However, I want you to know there is no one alive on this earth that is beyond God’s reach. No, we may not be able to take back years or erase things we regret. However, if you have any ounce of wanting to receive help, there is still hope. Even the most tragic stories can be redeemed by God’s grace. The first step is acknowleging the need for help and having the courage to cary it out with counseling. I don’t know where you are right now. You may be sitting in the waiting room at family court for your hearing, you may be in high school angry that your dad never cared to meet you, you may have hurt someone you love, you may be terrified that this side of you even exists, but please don’t give up on yourself. There is still hope, I promise.

 

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Thank you so much for reading this weeks “thinks”. I know it might have been a difficult subject for us to talk about, but I hope it has inspired you in some way. Please don’t hesitate to reach out too. I love hearing from you guys! Life is so much better if don’t walk alone. And if you have no one else to walk with, come walk with me. We’ll do this together!
Love you guys,
Joy

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