Affirmation: "I can control my anger & find healthy outlets for my aggression."

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C.

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Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

STEP TEN

I can control my anger and find healthy outlets for my aggression.

Step Ten is similar to Step Six in that anger and aggressive or abusive behavior are intricately connected.  This step focuses on mastering control over your abusive behavior and establishing safe and acceptable methods for discharging your aggression.  Anger may be a natural emotional response to your childhood abuse, but aggression and abusive behavior directed at others repeats old patterns. You need to manage these emotions carefully to avoid hurting yourself or someone else.  Becoming an abuser would obviously set back your recovery because, in so doing, you would undermine the compassion you are developing for the child victim you were and the adult survivor you are. Remember that feelings of anger don't have to be expressed as aggressive or abusive behavior.

Aggression is both learned and a product of physiological factors, mostly hormonal.  By aggression we mean abusive or domineering aggressiveness directed at other people. Children often learn from their parents or guardians to respond with aggression towards others during stressful situations. For this reason, many survivors get stuck at this step because their aggression has such a firm hold over them. Survivors can learn to respond aggressively to conflict situations very early in life. This is then reinforced by the relationships they attract and enter into, as well as the influence of an increasingly violent popular culture. Boys may be more likely to identify with their fathers and girls with their mothers because they are the same sex. However, this is not always the case. Many survivors identify with and learn violent behavior from the parent of the opposite sex. You can't change the past, but you can develop new strategies for controlling aggressive behavior in your current and future relationships.

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Kizzie

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For me it's never been about turning my anger outwardly, I direct it inward and that's something I am working hard to recover from.  Techniques - hmmm.  I guess I am being mindful about what I say to myself more and when it is negative and angry to practice being more self-compassionate with myself. 

I seem to have gotten to this point (being more self-compassionate) by accepting that anger is a necessary thing in recovery through Pete Walker's book "From Surviving to Thriving. " I took away from his book that anger is  akin to an act of compassion towards the younger us who went through so much and never got to express it, but stuffed it down and turned it on ourselves.  Believing finally that it is ok to direct that anger where it belongs and not at myself is a bit of a struggle still, but I do know clearly that it is what I need to continue to do until my ICr quiets. 

It's a bit of a twist on anger I know (i.e., that it's compassionate to let yourself be angry), but that seems to be the route I'm taking through it.

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VeryFoggy

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Kizzie - Sounds like you are doing the right thing. The first time I read quickly through this workbook? I did not see a problem.  But now I do. And that is that we are the OPPOSITE of what they suggest. We are not too angry?  We are not angry enough.

I totally get what you are saying.  That we need to feel sorry enough for OURSELVES to become angry. At the right people and all along we have directed it at ourselves. And that was not right either.

I don't have any magical answers. But what I do know is if bad behavior towards me is still in the present? I will say no. No more. Until you can treat me as an equally valuable human being? No more.

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Kizzie

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I know, it's interesting that we seem to have a different take on some things than the book isn't it VF? It's neat although that we do take issue with some things (e.g., it does not capture emotional abuse very well; many of us with CPTSD actually don't become outwardly angry, instead we turn it on ourselves), and that we believe in ourselves and our experience enough to say "Nope, that's not how it is for me." 

We are empowered - yay!     :applause:
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 06:59:44 PM by Kizzie »

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C.

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Great points about self-directed aggression, and verbal/thought form of the aggression. 

I have some more I'd like to mention about myself and this topic but I'd rather post it in a PM.  I'll do so when I have a little more time tonight or tomorrow.  Nothing extremely serious, but I was aggressive in my past when I felt I was protecting my kid(s) from verbal abuse by N dad (my ex). 

I can tell from this workbook that it's directed for all people and some, especially men, are more likely to be aggressive.  I'm also thinking of the "outer critic" that Walker mentions.  This topic reminds me of the Outer critic concept.

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VeryFoggy

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Aw C. I am looking forward to your post but for me?  All bets are off when it comes to my kids.  I am and was a tiger when it comes to my children and I would have done anything or said anything to protect my children, so that's not really fair is it?  To yourself?  I mean think about it.  If you came from an abusive home yourself?  And if you had made up your mind when you had a child that was never going to be their experience?  Then what else could you have done?  If you were with a PD, which calling him N dad indicates that you were, what else could you have done?

To this day my daughter does not know my ex-husband wanted me to abort her.  To this day she does not know that he would not speak to me for two weeks after I found out I was pregnant.  Even though I announced to him that if we had unprotected sex I would get pregnant.  Even though I walked to the store that afternoon and bought spermicide and told him I had it, and if he did not want to have another child, then we needed to use it.  It was laying next to us easily accessible, and he chose not to use it. I am weird that I KNOW, have known when I get pregnant. I FEEL it happen.  I know when it will be most likely to happen.

Nope my children are not up for discussion or your manipulations. I can't tell you how many fights I had with my own father about my children.  Because he wanted to snap at them, and squash them and be his nasty N self to my children.  NO!  Not allowed! Somebody, as in my children were going to be allowed to have some freedom and the right to be kids. We were at lunch at The Hard Rock Café once.  And the kids were dancing around the table.  Being kids.  Having fun.  Being real.  Not bothering anybody.  And he snapped at them.  And put them down and humiliated them.  And then I snapped too.  Drove home tense, and angry. Furious with him for trying to do to them what he did to me.  Even today he calls me an unreasonable tiger about my children and they are 31 and 29. Yep that's right.  Not yours to warp and destroy as you did me.

So that's not fair.  To beat yourself up about protecting your children as best you could against something damaging and hurtful like an N. We will do a lot of things for children that we would not do for ourselves. Because we so wanted that child to have something we did not have. You were being the best Mommy you could be, based on your own past.

So please forgive your aggression if it involved a child. They deserved it. And we just wanted them to have something we never had.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 03:49:53 AM by VeryFoggy »

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C.

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Hi VF,  Wow.  Just wow.  Your compassion and understanding of my experience really hit me last night.  I decided to read just before falling asleep.  It was perfect timing.  The tears started to flow, and still are, but it'll subside w/time and as I process this new awareness. 

I thought about how much I wished someone had wanted to protect me from the hurtful words as a child yet it never happened.  And the fierceness with which I refused to be present while my son was harmed w/his father's words w/o defending my son.  So I defended. 

I also remember being physically aggressive a couple of other times and I cannot remember why, I know a couple of times it was out of the sheer panic of being abandoned.  I still don't think physical aggression is acceptable and I wouldn't do so now.  I would defend in other ways.  But I am starting to question intent.  In the law where I live intent does't seem to matter much.  However ethically and value-wise, I'm starting to see that it does.  I do think I wanted a form of vengeance or justice, I wanted him to hurt as much as I or my child hurt.  It's rather primal.  I'm still a bit foggy understanding these memories, but I know that my aggression was to defend my son/my daughter/myself or to avoid abandonment...

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VeryFoggy

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I am glad it was helpful to you C.  And I hope they were healing tears.  I am sorry nobody ever stuck up for you.  Nobody did for me either.  But to this day I can't stand to see children treated the way I was.  It flips a switch inside of me, and it makes me become strong and determined, and I am fearless.  I become the mother I never had.  My dad was the abuser, but my mother silently acquiesced. And I won't be that mother.

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C.

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Thanks VF.  They were tears I needed to shed.  More of an opening to a bigger flood than I've experienced in a while.  I cried in front of my son which I haven't done in many months.  It's been a rough week for me.  A few extra stresses added to my plate.  But I've been pro-active, seeking out help from my T and my doc.  And here.  Your words were reassuring and eye-opening.

In my situation my father was verbally abusive until I was 19 y.o., then he stopped for good, but switched to sometimes (maybe once per year? or during a period of grief or family drama) "confiding" in me about his own emotions which has been uncomfortable in a different way.  My mom stood silently by during those times in my childhood. 

In her own right, my mom was also fakely attentive.  She'd act like she heard or was trying to help me w/emotions but it was always really about her.  I was too young to understand that at the time. 

And I have memories of my parents "ganging up" on me when I'd lash out at my brother, simultaneously insulting me. 

I think what's hard in my situation is the consistent inconsistency.  Like the rat that sometimes gets the cheese keeps going back.  I sometimes felt like I was getting a need met (even within the past few weeks) so I'd let my guard down a little and hope, but then the truth would loom up as my parents individually or together show the true agenda to take from me emotionally.  How do you get mad at sometimes?  Just when I flare up, they come back with a different mask.

My ex was the same way, consistently inconsistent. 

I realized today that the only way my parents way of relating would be appropriate would be if I were their parent, and they were my child.  Now, if I'd had good enough parenting and the tables started to change in their old age it would be ok.  But I didn't, it's simply a continuation of the pattern of forever, probably since at age 3 I became the one expected to be the confidant and emotional caretaker of my parents.  There for their agenda and to make them happy.

As for my kids, I am a lioness.  My first reason to divorce was for my children's well being.  I saw the emotional incest w/my daughter, his neglect of our son and I knew that as long as we were together it would continue and I could not support someone harming my children.  So I left.  I put myself in the rawest, most painful place of abandonment in order to protect my children.  I think that my tears are a newly awakened compassion for myself.  And respect for my decision.  I willingly sacrificed my security for their well being.  I will never regret that decision.

Finally I'd like to say that for me this week the awareness about my history of "aggression" regards my children and self-compassion has been my lesson.  It's bittersweet how life provides what I need at the time if I keep my eyes and heart open.

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Kizzie

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In order to honor our group process we ask that only current ASCA workbook group members post and respond here please.  If you would like to join in at this time or a later date please send the moderator a PM.  Thank you.

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All bets are off when it comes to my kids.  I am and was a tiger when it comes to my children and I would have done anything or said anything to protect my children, so that's not really fair is it?  To yourself?  I mean think about it.  If you came from an abusive home yourself?  And if you had made up your mind when you had a child that was never going to be their experience?  Then what else could you have done?  If you were with a PD, which calling him N dad indicates that you were, what else could you have done?

 :yeahthat:  Thanks VF for your words of wisdom, we can all stand to benefit from them but I'm so glad they resonated on a deep level for your C, it sounds like they have been quite healing. 

I too was and am a tiger when it comes to my son.  In fact that's when I really began to find that righteous, healthy, clean kind of anger we've talked about in various threads and which Pete Walker talks about as necessary for every human being to protect themsleves and those they love.  I remember one incident with my M in which I was supremely angry at some PD behaviour around my S and I was able to tell her in no uncertain terms that she had to stop or she would never be allowed back in my house - same for my F now that I think about it.  It felt right to be angry and I did not second guess myself, worry about my NPDs wrath, feel guilty, or turn it back on myself.  And it felt good, so good  :yes:

We are meant to be tigers sometimes C, and I think you did what you needed to for your children.  I am sorry they weren't any tigers in your life, in yours Vf or in mine.    :hug:  all around.

This has actually been a wonderful topic, much more positive than I had thought it would be  :thumbup:
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 04:20:46 PM by Kizzie »