She came into her marriage believing they would work through anything. She thought the times they were immature, or selfish, or careless would simply be the things anyone would walk through as they got older and wiser. She thought surely God would not allow him to feel okay about raging, deceiving, or dismissing and belittling her. She did not expect a pervasive, steady path toward death of her joy, her hopes, her motivation, or her sense of what she had to offer to the world.
Maybe her story is your story.
You wake up to what you’ve endured and, often unknowingly, enabled. You feel horrified at your naivete and the years that have been wasted because of it. When that happens, you are likely to find yourself angry.
Although you have probably been taught that anger is a sinful thing, if you are this person, I think you’re right to be angry! Your anger is a direct response to the dissonance between what is happening and what has been written on your heart about love.
What Does Anger Accomplish?
There was probably a time when you believed your love would change them; that speaking life over them, sharing your vision of their “good heart,” steadfastly forgiving every wrong against you would shape them into the kind of person you thought you saw.
But, you’ve seen how well that has gone. Your anger won’t have any better results. Punishing them to change won’t be any more effective than loving them to change. It won’t make them see what they’ve done, or help them understand you, or invite them into a better relationship. More than likely, it simply reinforces the passivity, or aggression, or passive aggression. And leaves you feeling like the wretched being they’ve been defining you as.
Use Your Anger to Move You Forward
Here are some practical actions you to allow your anger to move you forward, instead of keeping you stuck:
“Character” Write out a list of the character qualities you long to be known for. Some of these may be qualities you already exhibit, some are what you’ve admired in other people but may not have yet learned how to live out. Regardless, include whatever resonates with who you want to be. This becomes a bullseye – the grid through which you filter whatever comes across your path in a day and respond to it in such a way it keeps you moving toward that bullseye. “Courage” Let your anger, instead, bolster your courage to stand up against the abuses in the here and now, to take action immediately to consistently hold to your boundaries that enable you to stay in character, and to keep you from shrinking in fear. “Change” Use your anger to motivate you to change the way you do things, and to keep you from ever going back to tolerating what you put up with before, walking out the difference between letting life happen to you and you happening to life. “Check In” Check in with yourself, and consider asking someone to hold you accountable. Are the things you are doing keeping in step with the kind of person you want to be? Take a pulse check with the question, “Are my actions in line with the kind of person I want to be known for?”
Taking the Next Step
Are you finding it hard to move out of anger? We understand that this can be easier said than done. We offer programs and counseling services that can help you move forward! If you would like to learn more, contact us here, or call our Client Care team at 206.219.0145.