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Aug 16

Warning: Anger Can Become Toxic

Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Values

Monday I began this dialogue with Olympics: Judge & Jury, and continued it yesterday with “Caution – We don’t know the whole story.

One gracious reader read and replied, “I was raped by a guy when I was 22 I would judge him and say he needs help…because he did. (He victimized) 5 other women…but he is and was aware of what he was doing so I wouldn’t feel sympathy.”

As someone who has never experienced a rape I cannot begin to grasp the depth of how that would affect a victim, all I can say is “Wow, thank you you for your humble willingness to add your perspective to our dialogue.”

Let me explain a bit of my perspective on dealing with people who bullied me.

My Bullies

As I mentioned yesterday, “Rage against my bullies was warranted”. You can read the whole story here in Jerks & Bullies Are Near. Embrace Your Need To Be Heard. I expanded on the theme in Drowning Man Saved!

When I was thirteen I was held underwater by a gym-class bullies. They held me underwater in the depths of the deep end of the pool. As much as I struggled and fought to break free, I couldn’t.  I still remember the taste of the chlorine-filled vomit.  

It’s been more than twenty-five years since that day, and when we were Hawaii in February I didn’t want to learn to surf because I am still afraid of drowning.

Sometimes fear runs deep.

Yesterday I wrote that having been wounded by others “some of it may still be hidden deep within me.”

It’s true.

Earlier this summer in Remember Me, I Want Revenge (Justice) I mentioned some of the details of when other bullies abused me.

I wanted then, and I want now, my revenge.

My Revenge?

That might surprise you. Frankly, it surprised me.

One night as a teen in one of our TreeHouse support groups was explaining her bullies’ behavior — without a single moment’s notice — I had a very vivid, emotional and violent fantasy run through my head.

In my fantasy I held in my hands a school lunch tray.
In my fantasy I swung the lunch tray violently.
In my fantasy I hit her bullies across the face.
In my fantasy I provided her with the protection no one offered me.
In my fantasy I exacted revenge.
In my fantasy I was judge, jury and executioner.

My Fantasy

My fantasy lasted less than a second.

I was stunned by it’s sudden arrival into my thoughts.
I was stunned by it’s violence.
I was stunned by it’s deep and lasting emotional energy.
I was stunned because it must have been planted in some deep soil within my mind.

Anger like a seed has potential life in it.
Anger like a weed needs to be removed.
Anger like the roots needs to be dug out at the deepest points of the roots.
Anger watered grows into bitterness.
Bitterness can spread far and wide, visibly and invisibly, and develop into resentment.

Anger untamed builds into resentment.

I had no idea how deep the roots grew.

Let’s guard our hearts against the toxicity of unresolved anger.

Bring on the comments

  1. Interesting how anger can morph into something even more toxic if we are not cautious. Thank you for being so genuine, and vulnerable in your writing.

  2. Are you going to write on the how to get rid of anger next?

    I loved the post and felt inspired to change, but didn’t hear how to go about it.

    Thanks.

  3. You’re welcome.
    I appreciate the people who are grateful and not creeped-out
    if I try to be, as you said, “genuine, and vulnerable in your writing.”

  4. Yes, thank you for the preview!

  5. Hahahha I was going to ask the same thing that Amy did, but she has more courage than I.

  6. [...] I was so very, very scared and angry. [...]

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