I told a story on twitter yesterday about how my dad used to give me ‘joke’ spankings for things i ‘didn’t get caught at’, that actually hurt, in front of other people, and people laughed instead of standing up for me. And a twitter friend said something remarkable in response, “you have a right to be angry. That’s awful.”
She affirmed my anger. And the power of that was huge.
People often push others to forgive, to reconcile at all costs. They think separation is some sad thing, when, as Caleigh says in this great blog post, “We need you to stand beside us and to be angry at the abuse…”
The abuses that some of our parents put us through are worth getting angry about. I often couldn’t ever be angry when I was young, because it wasn’t safe to be.
Alice Miller, In The Drama of the Gifted Child describes what happens when old repressed feelings resurface, “they are accompanied by intense pain and despair. It is clear that these people could not have survived so much pain as children. That would have been possible only in an empathetic, attentive environment, which was lacking. Thus all feelings had to be warded off. But to say they were absent would be a denial of the empirical evidence.”
So I’m remembering and feeling angry now, and I need support in that. Going through this anger, to come into my true self and my true emotions, is hard work. But the anger must be felt for healing to progress. By feeling angry with me, and confirming my anger, you help me work through it.
Don’t shame the hurt people in your life for feeling angry, instead get angry at injustice with them, because some things require your indignant anger.