The third stage is commonly anger. Anger comes when the person acknowledges not only that something happened but that it was abusive and harmed them. It is the beginning of the phase that what has been done to them matters. For many this stage is a welcome relief. The anger gives them a sense of power and energy over the abuse. Becoming angry is the first stage to accepting what has happened and it is also the start of becoming a survivor and not a victim. Anger has been titled ‘the back bone of healing’.
When you have trouble getting in touch with your anger think of someone you care about who is at the age you were when you were abused, such as a son, daughter, niece or nephew, and imagine that child being abused. Sometimes just saying ‘I am angry’ over and over again can help with the process of finding your anger.
Anger doesn’t have to be confused with violence. some people are afraid of showing anger for fear of becoming aggressive or violent. Some people are afraid that if they get angry they may hurt themselves or others. When these people experience anger for the first time they are surprised that no one got hurt and realise that the two do not necessarily come hand in hand.
To get in touch with your anger try writing a letter to someone stating what you have to be angry about, write how it has effected you and how you have been mistreated. If you have a revenge fantasy, write about it. you will get relief and at the same time no one will get hurt or frightened by your anger or thoughts.
The dangerous thing to do to anger is suppress it. Release it any way you know how, for example smashing glasses, tearing paper, working out, punching a pillow/punch bag etc.
Some victims become angry with everyone except the abuser. this is whilst they are coming to terms with feeling anger and testing it out. It is important for that person to rationally work through their feelings and direct their anger in the right place.