We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.
– Henry Cloud
At some point, denial starts not to function, and a new and powerful emotion erupts. This emotion will propel you forward, for action and change. That emotion is Anger. If you haven’t read the previous article entitled How Narcissistic Abuse Leads to Denial please do so as you will better understand this one. Just follow the above link.
When you start to come out of the “spell” of Narcissistic Mother, her “gas lighting”, you begin to notice that certain account of events don’t match. You start to realize that there are alternative narratives for what happened; what you experienced did really happen; you were not imagining things; nor your reason and conclusions were wrong.
When you realize that you have been fooled and abused for so long by the person you held dear in love – The Narcissistic Mother – anger kicks in. At this stage most people search for facts from different sources, different people, to reach to their own conclusions, and have a taste of truth. The trust in The Narcissistic Mother is shattered as you are now confronted with deliberate cruelty that you can no longer avoid. The trust in The Narcissistic Mother will be severally damage and very difficult to restore from that moment onward.
There is also the eagerness to confront The Narcissistic Mother with the new found facts, and inconvenient truths, in order to restore justice in the relationship. The Narcissistic Mother will not comply nor will accept a redefinition of her narratives of lived events, and reality. In general it is her way or the highway.
At this stage, boosted by anger, most will spend lots of energy either attacking or defending The Narcissistic Mother, and quickly get energy depleted and tired. A good and efficient strategy at this stage would be to redirect all the anger energy towards factual research into the issue and begin to draw new conclusions. This is an effective way to maintain your sanity.
To continue we need to have clear definition of what anger is.
What is Anger?
Anger is the strong emotion that you feel when you think that someone has behaved in an unfair, cruel, or unacceptable way.
– Collins Dictionary
Anger is your first warning emotion. Anger tells you that you are being mistreated, exploited, or abused. That is why it is important to accept the emotion of anger as normal and useful in our lives. Anger can save us from harm or harmful situation or persons.
Unfortunately, even today, many treat anger as a substandard emotion to be avoided. Doing this their experience of anger is distorted, ashamed, and avoided, leaving the door open for future abuse, and trauma.
Accepting the role of anger in your life helps you to prevent being used and abused, even taking action and avoid future abuse. Anger gives you this energy and awareness to defend yourself by acting, by saying something.
To help dispel this erroneous idea of anger let us see the difference between the emotion of anger and the behavior of anger.
The Emotion and the Behavior of Anger
They are two distinct qualities. One is the emotion of anger and the other is the acting out of that emotion.
Be mindful that the emotion of anger can be a warning sign for difficult situation in your life.
The acting out of the emotion of anger can lead to rage, violence, and negative results, mainly injuring yourself or others.
You see, the emotion in itself is valuable and the acting out of the emotion not so much, unless you are defending your life and you have to resort to all means possible. So, how can we use anger in a useful way to protect ourselves from a Narcissistic Mother?
What to do with Anger?
You have 3 option to deal with anger with obviously different consequences. Let’s approach each one of them:
- Let it all out
- Take all inside
- Motivation for change
1. Let it All Out
This option will let the steam out and reach an inner state of peaceful balance, but the cost is high, not just for you but also for all others around you. You might leave a trail of wreckage behind you, and in plus be labeled and punished by what you done fueled by anger. This path of action might appease your Ego with the “revenge done” but it didn’t solve the previous problems, moreover creates new ones.
If at any point you need to let the steam out, do it in a safe environment where you and others will not be hurt. You can gather old objects to break (old dishes) or throw (clay and thick paint works very well). By using your physical energy to break or throwaway objects you release the anger out. Can be very cathartic.
The problem of this option is that releases the anger on short term but doesn’t solve the problem, in plus, it dissipates anger energy and will lower your motivation for purposeful action.
The only good thing that this option has is to avoid later psychosomatic problems as the anger energy is moved out.
2. Take All Inside
In many situations anger is not freely accepted to be expressed or validated by the social group that you are in (family, school, and others). If you express anger in an environment like this, you might be punished to do so, creating a problem on top of the previous one that created the whole issue.
For many, the option to “Take All Inside” becomes their primary option, maintaining a “happy face” on the outside and have an “emotional steam cocker inside”. At the same time you learn that the environment you are in is a toxic one, where you can’t freely share your thoughts, opinions, and needs.
By not expressing your anger you avoid external conflicts with the Narcissist, but on the internally you are overloading your emotional and immune systems, creating the predisposition for future psychosomatic problems and illnesses (developed sinus at a quite early age, with huge headaches which suppressed emotional and psychological awareness of the situation I was in).
3. Motivation for Change
This last option is for me the most useful as you are able to void the problems of letting anger loose and the psychosomatic problems. This option although entails some delicate usage.
The delicate usage is that you have to be in charge or your own anger, and not the opposite. On this option, anger fuels the mind, giving you the mental energy to break old patterns of abuse and conditioning, and the capacity to think things over in order to improve the situation. Also on this option the mind has to be able to steer anger’s energy in a purposeful direction. What I mean is that the anger must be directed by the mind towards a purposeful goal (and not revenge for the sake of revenge), a goal that entails freedom, autonomy, integrity, authenticity, and self respect for YOU.
Anger will help you to change the situation and yourself also. You will have to learn when is the best time to let anger loose, and when is not. You will use anger tactically, under your control, to change things for the better. Anger will change you from the role of unknowingly Victim to the role of aware Warrior. The fight you are going to fight is YOUR FIGHT, to restore your personal boundaries, your respect, ownership of your ideas, emotions, and experience.
The energy of anger can be used to help you to:
- Set your boundaries
- Boost self respect
- Stay present and grounded
- Tap fearless energy to defend yourself when needed
- Move from the Victim role to the Warrior role
- Take action
To better understand this last option please read the The Art of War by Sun TzuIt will give ideas in how to confront a more powerful foe “without losing the war”: the foundations of the guerrilla war tactics. This is special relevant if you live with the Narcissistic Mother’s house and you have no means to sustain yourself.
How did your anger help you (or not)?
PS – Next post will address the next stage of the process: Bargaining.
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu https://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Sun-Tzu/dp/0981162614 ↩