“The death of idealized versions of our parents, teachers, and mentors—a stage in the journey—is always scary because it means that we’re now responsible for our own learning and growth. That death is also beautiful because it makes room for new relationships—more honest connections between authentic adults who are doing the best they can. Of course, these new connections require emotional and physical safety. We can’t be vulnerable and open with people who are hurting us.”
Brene Brown, Rising Strong
At the end of July of 2015, I had what many would call a breakdown.
It was bad.
I got into a messy verbal altercation with a family member and reacted in a way that would be viewed by some as monstrous. I mean, I completely lost it. It was the culmination of years of being hurt, demeaned, shamed, and humiliated by someone harmful. (In the past, it brought me to the edge, and almost got the best of me.
After the July incident, I started going to therapy, again. In session, I figured out that my horrifying outburst—that anger—gave me strength.
I told my therapist, “I feel strong and brave when I remember what was done to me and what was said to me. When I forget about her cruelty—that’s when I let my guard down. That’s when I live without boundaries, and let her back in.”
My therapist nodded in agreement. “People underestimate anger,” she said.
They do. And I most certainly did! I underestimated how far it could take me…towards getting my life back and truly living it.
My anger serves as my armor against an unrelenting villain—like Cinderella and her evil stepmother!
You should never forget a person’s viciousness, and what they are capable of unleashing. Protect yourself, always.
We are convinced that anger is toxic. (And yes, this can be true, if you use anger in a destructive way.) But anger can be used as a reminder to guard yourself, to live life on your terms, to set up firm boundaries!
Yes, anger did cause me to lose it—but it also led to positive action:
Anger pushed me to start therapy again.
Anger pushed me to go ‘no contact.’
Anger pushed me to announce my freelance career, boldly and without fear.
Anger pushed me to finish writing two novels (so far)—a lifelong dream.
Anger helped me to stop being a people-pleaser.
Anger helped me to stop caring about what other people think.
Anger led to what Brene Brown refers to as the uprising 😉
These were byproducts of my anger. I used it in a positive way, and I will keep using it in that way for as long as I need to.