At times we are driven by our emotions, which often times not good. For victims of domestic violence one of the emotions which prevails, is anger. Why? I believe that you put out what has been injected you.
Example, I know that as a survivor of domestic violence, I had to use anger as a motivator to take the next steps in my life, while living in an abusive situation it was anger which allowed me to gather the strength to leave and reclaim peace. Ironic? Years later I find myself on edge and still living defensively, as though I am still being assaulted on a daily basis. Realizing that this has been affecting my ability to maintain the peaceful life which I have often envisioned I began to research the cause of my continuous "fright or flight" response, which anger is apart of, what I found was I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, as it is termed in the medical community.
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.
In his updated article (5/14/2014) titled "Constructive vs. Destructive Anger in PTSD", Dr. Matthew Tull, writes, "It is common for someone with (or in recovery from) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to experience anger. In fact, because the experience of anger is so common among people with PTSD, it is actually considered one of the hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD". With this knowledge and understanding I began to ponder my quality of life. Do I want to exist, always mis-firing? Or, do I choose to real peace. Of course, real peace! Who wouldn't choose it?
What I have done to begin my road to saying no to anger and yes to peace, has been applying the following and I share this with those of you who are tired of being labeled as rigid, restricted, aggressive and all the other labels that you have heard others used when speaking about your character. Allow me to share with those survivors, that can relate to this blog, domestic violence was a very real and traumatic experience and more than likely if you have anger issues it is in response to the abuse and all the other situations you suppressed during that period of your life. You will need therapy to go through each of those layers to address them.
1) Relax and receive what situation is playing out in front of me.
2) Avoid the rapid build up, you know, the pressure cooker effect, of blowing your lid.
3) Re-think your response and breathe.
4) Feel safe, I am learning that "it really isn't personal"
5) Choose the response which will create peace, peace is created through the "offering" of the olive branch.
Remember to be patient and kind to you while healing, even though we have survived, we now have to do the work to be well. Those are my suggestions, they are working well for me and I hope that they will serve you!
Write me and let me know how these are working out or even feel free to suggest strategies that you use for abating anger. Happy Healing!
Stay in the Light - Alarice Vidale de Palacios