Why Sustained Anger is not a Protector
Years ago, my therapist friend conducted group therapy for survivors of abuse. She was saddened by the abuse that they had to go through. She was also saddened by the prison that many survivors kept themselves in.
The majority of the victims did not want to let go of their anger. They were afraid that if they let go of their anger, they would invalidate the gravity of the abuse that they suffered. They also carried the misconception that their anger motivated them to vigilantly keep strong boundaries. They were afraid that if they let go of their anger, they wouldn’t be able to be strong enough to keep harmful people out of their lives.
Many people believe that in order to maintain good boundaries, they have to stay angry. They believe that their anger pushes them to say things that they would otherwise be too week to say. People often tell themselves that they cannot forget what they are angry about or they will not have the strength to keep harm at bay.
Boundaries can be fought for using calm confidence. Anger does not have to be used. Ghandi liberated India from England without throwing a single punch. He believed that he could stand up for what he believed in while not losing his sense of dignity through the use of violence. He never complied with something he did not believe in. He used dignity, confidence, determination, and love to motivate himself to maintain the boundary.
Harboring anger destroys the harborer. Anger is like a fire. It has to be fed or it will die. To keep anger alive, a person has to remind themselves of the injustice that was done to them. Utilizing dignity, confidence, determination, and love builds a person up. It requires that a person constantly evaluates their self-worth. It requires that a person maintains their dignity despite how others have treated them.