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#68157 - 11/05/03 05:52 PM helping him with his anger
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
A few days ago when discussing the whole issue of anger in our relaitonship, I asked my partner if he had ever directed anger to those who actually hurt him (parents for creating an environment where he sought out support from someone outside the family - a "mentor" who turned out to be a pedophile.. you all know the story).

And I was curious because he has a lot of anger in him, that it leaks out all over, and that for a long time he vented it at me (which was a BIG problem in our relationship until lately) but I have never heard him direct a harsh word of hate or anger towards his mother or his perp. Which I think is REALLY strange - how could he have gone through what he went through and not hate the perp? I see all you guys on here sooo angry at your perps... a reaction that I would think would be natural reactions to being sexually abused. But it is so bizarre that my fiance has never really vented it in the direction that it belongs - at the man who molested him!

Anyhow last night after his SA group T meeting my fiance was spitting angry - he found that he was thinking of my comment/question about directing anger at his perp all night and also blocking out his feelings, that he let the opportunity of his group meeting pass him by and he didnt even speak of his issues. He was very angry but at that point it appeared it was being vented at himself... again he was not directing this anger towards the person who actually hurt him!

My question is this - how can I help him on this? Or can I? Should I even try? Last night all I said was that it's ok that he is feeling anger, that its normal considering what he went through, that he has had a long history of being told NOT to express anger (he had a very emotionally restrictive growing up) and its really hard to get over that. And to have had something bad like being molested happen to him and then not be encouraged to express his anger must have made it *really* hard.

I then suggested that maybe he should go home and totally blow up and freak out and let go and lose control and see that nothing bad will happen! I will still love him, his family will still be alive, he will still have a job, etc. I reminded him at that point that the only thing about this anger that bothers me is when it is repressed and then it winds up being vented at me in inappropriate and abusive ways.

And then I gave him a hug and wished him well in his venting.. and he went home. I reiterated that being angry about all of this is totally OK with me. (I have a very wide range of emotional expression so this is totally ok with me as long as it does not turn abusive to "innocent" bystanders).

Well at least last night he went home and got angry and nothing bad happened. I think he bashed the shit out of some pillows with a hockey stick, then worked through some workbook (the courage to heal) exercises, etc. I was glad for that!

My big question now is this: is there anything else I can do to help him with his anger? Also I do know that anger is just a "smokescreen" for other emotions is kind of eating at me. Should I have (or should i sometime in the future) encourage him to go deeper than the anger and think about what emotion the anger is really hiding? Is it grief over the "loss of his innocence"? Is it fear? Is it acknowledging the loss of control about that part of his development? I almost wonder if he is somehow protecting his perp.. thats what it seems like to me. But I guess those are questions for him to answer eventually.

Anyhow just rambling but if there is anything I can do to help then I would appreciate some advice. I hope I did the right thing. At least we didnt argue about it and he was able to keep things civil between us - that was a major miracle. Until recently when he got angry he got angry at ME and that was so damn destructive to our relationship and to my mental and emotional well being.

#68158 - 11/05/03 08:15 PM Re: helping him with his anger
stpbb Offline

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
I think pointing that out & supporting him to know it is OK to have bad feelings about stuff is wonderful. We end up talking about anger so much as something that has to be controlled. I know for me it is something that has to come OUT. And I think finding the right place to direct it is pretty difficult when you are afraid it will spiral out of control.

My ex also has been more angry at other stuff than at his perps. I don't know if that has to do with his lack of memories or if he is hesitant to open up that emotional pandora's box. But he has become much better at finding the right targets for anger most of the time.


#68159 - 11/05/03 10:16 PM Re: helping him with his anger
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
My big question about the emotional pandora's box - do you think that he has to go there to heal? And if he is not going there is he really healing or just "coping"?

Anyhow I'm not going to push him there until he's ready ... thats the last thing I'd do.. but just wondering if he will be spinning and spinning until he really dives into that pain?

Just wondering as the only way I finally made some headway into my own anxiety disorder (abuse history too) was to get down into that pain and acknowledge what it was, what happened, and do some serious "releasing" work...



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