Spiritual Non-Fiction posted March 13, 2018 Chapters:  ...31 32 -33- 34... 

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A chapter in the book Beauty for Ash and Stone

Day 32 - Anger at Abuser

by MelB

Christian Devotional for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Day 32

~ Anger – Abuser ~
It’s normal to be angry at your abuser, but many survivors also carry unresolved anger at themselves and God.  Strong feelings of anger occur from sexual assault, being manipulated and abused; feeling no one cared; betrayal of trust; failure of family members to protect you; no consequences for the abuser; that no one stopped it; injustice of the court system; and living with the memories. 
Anger is a normal emotion and reaction to an injustice and can mask fear, weakness, inadequacy, sadness, powerlessness, and distress.  Anger can impact relationships negatively and push others away.  It can also be destructive, causing fighting, depression, anxiety, increased blood pressure, tension, rage, and loss of control.  Transference of anger occurs when a person close to us reminds us of someone who hurt us or when a similar situation is “triggered” which caused us pain before.  Anger is a problem when it festers into resentment and bitterness, and in some cases, contributes to cancer. 

After years of pent up anger, survivors walk into my office and say, “I’m not angry” or “it doesn’t affect me” or “I’m fine.”  My response, “If you’re fine, you’d be the first one I’ve seen who isn’t affected at all by sexual abuse.”  After many years of suppressing or stuffing their anger, they are numb, but it’s hiding under the surface.  I remember my counselor saying our anger is like an iceberg, the tip is what everyone sees, but ninety percent is below the surface.  It takes some chipping away, but eventually, it’s like opening the dam to a river—a rush of anger flows.

When sexual assault occurs by a stranger, it’s easy to get angry at the perpetrator.  However, most sexual abuse is not at the hands of a stranger.  It’s difficult to get angry at someone we know, particularly if the abuser is a family member.  If you were molested by a parent (the worst form of betrayal), you may have been afraid to tell, worried something bad would happen to your parent, or felt responsible to hold the family together.  This might have overshadowed your anger, and it may have been transferred to others, God, or self.  That doesn’t mean the anger at the perpetrator isn’t buried deep inside your heart. 

In order to truly heal, anger needs to be released.  You’re not angry?  Are you sarcastic?  This is repressed anger.  Do you suffer from depression?  This is anger turned inward.  Do you hate men?  This is transference of anger.  Notice a pattern?  Friend, I was the Queen of Anger!  “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” - Anonymous 

Write a letter to your abuser on a piece of paper.  You won’t send it, so say whatever you want.  Get in touch with your anger, and get it all out.  Hold onto this letter.  We‘ll come back to it later.

“For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  James 1:20


Next Up: Anger at God, Anger at Self.
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