One of the strongest feelings I cope with, in recovery, is anger. Anger was once associated with rage. Rage is anger out of control, without regard to boundary or concession. Rage is an abusive and destructive control behavior. When the anger I'm releasing (expelling) is connected with the need to have control over the person I'm angry with, I know I'm going into rage.
The need to control abusively (rage) stems from the fears of feeling helpless, controlled, and injured. Anger is a secondary emotion. By secondary, I mean that anger is derived from hurt and fear. When I feel anger, I know that somewhere preceding the anger is hurt or fear, i.e. when I'm feeling angry, I'm feeling that my security is somehow jeopardized. I feel trapped; and chose to become angry instead of being vulnerable (hurt or fear). Being vulnerable and allowing my fears and my hurts to surface in a nurturing environment, allows me to practice those feelings instead of choosing anger every time. It's like trusting myself and other people to be angry without getting controlled (abandoned) or controlling (abandon), so I may move on into the hurts and fears.
I need my anger, but I can choose to use it as a tool to expel and to set boundaries; instead of a reaction to controlling hurt and fear or someone else. I can choose to allow anger to protect me and not control me (or someone else). I take the control and the terror out of the anger in order for it not to become rage. Anger and Boundary setting is discussed in Section III.
Anger is also an avenue to grief
Grief has it's own natural progression. The progression of grief is:
- Denial (filtration)
- Hurt, Sadness
Acceptance is the next and last section of this guide. Acceptance is love.
Sad to say. . .
One of the fantasies that adult children of addict parents hold onto is that someday their addict parent, (brother, sister) will understand how we feel, see how they've injured and terrorized us as a child, "finally" love and accept us as we are, be supportive after all these years, and stop lying, denying, and rejecting us. As painful as this is to say, "I'm sorry this isn't going to happen." I'll never get the things I needed as a five-year-old, or when I was little, . . . . today. . . I'm sorry there's been a tragedy in the family. The tragic loss is that I'm not going to be able to have the relationship I needed so much with my parents or siblings when I was little.
"Grant me the courage and love to accept the things I am not supposed to change (the past),
The love and support of myself and other people to heal in the present,
And the gentle wisdom to go on (to the future of my life)."
"So you choose to exist here. It is not linear."
Aliens. From: The premier episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. "Emissary" January 1993.
"Before we can go forward, the cycle must end."
Picard. From: Star Trek: The Next Generation. "Time Squared" April 1989.
The story of Moses, as told by Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 remake of "The Ten Commandments," tells of a metaphoric death. The death is of a false Moses. A mythical idea. From birth, Moses is separated from his true or actualized self, or origin, and raised in an environment which is false to him. He becomes what he thinks he needs to do to become safe or survive. However, in that process he is lead to believe that he is something or someone that he is not. His true self (identity) is kept from him by his mother, brother, sister, and his surrogate parent during the time he grows up and develops a sense of safeness in his false environment. Everything "looks good" to Moses at this time.
Eventually he is made aware by accident that he is not who he thought he was. As a result of this he tries to find out who he is. And as a result of trying to find out who he is and where he comes from, he is cast out into the desert by the people in his false environment and abandoned to die. After many months of agony in the desert, he finds water, food, and shelter with people who nurture and accept him as he is. Dwelling in this nurturing environment, he is able to define himself and discovery a destiny for him which was obscure to him up to now. He is then able to return to the false environment without being afraid of losing his true self again.
This metaphoric death (of his false self), discovery (that he is not who he thought), and rebirth (the discovery, development, and formation of his true self) is a travel guide for adult children raised as objects of addiction. I must psychologically and emotionally trade my perception of, (by using a type of planned change), the old relationship of addict-parent-object-child with nurturing-parent-nurtured-child in order to develop any new relationship; whether that relationship is with myself, my children, my sister, my brother, my partner, my therapist, my counselor, my minister, my rabbi, my guru, my grocer, my teacher, my grandparents, my boss, my doctor, my lawyer, my clients, my friends, my sponsor, my lovers, my dog, my cat, my goldfish, my parents, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my higher power, my neighbor, my dentist, and so fourth.
End Section II.
Staff, H. (2008, December 15). Anger, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/articles/anger