Killing the Messenger: A Closer Look at Anger


Last week in talking about forgiveness, anger and violence frequently came up. Even though I normally would do something lighter after such a heavy topic, I feel I need to cover my position on anger to try to clear up the misunderstandings. To be honest, I’m not even sure how much of this is original to me or to another psychotherapist because it’s a topic that we’ve covered in depth several times. Then again, how much of an idea is ever original to anyone? All ideas are formed based on our interactions with others. Therefore, here is my spin on what I’ve come to understand about anger through the exchange of ideas with very wise others.

I suppose if you weren’t shocked about my previous post, you won’t be shocked to learn that I’ve come to see anger as healthy. I lost count of how many times I said…

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6 thoughts on “Killing the Messenger: A Closer Look at Anger

  1. Cynthia says:

    I think that one of the most difficult parts of this journey is realizing, deep down in your gut, that you never deserved such abuse. Peeling off the layers to get to that, means overriding their message (justification and denial). When abuse happens at a young age, those messages go deep to your core. It’s like you know nothing else. So it takes much courage to let go of that garbage. It needs to be gone, for the sprouts of the new you to emerge, but it feels so raw, so much newness, that it’s scary. In times of despair, you ask yourself, why on earth do I have to do all this work, to undo what was unfairly and unjustly done to me…when they seem so unscathed in their obliviousness (or so that is their stance). At times I feel like giving this struggle up…it seems like they will always have the upper hand, be better off, not feel these difficult feelings, like God is rewarding them…and sometimes I turn my anger inward, take it out on myself…bcs of these feelings, and at other times, when in a better state, I assess my growth as being truly remarkable. I want so badly to feel better about myself and I get impatient. I guess I have to be patient with the process and not rail against God and the nature of healing. It’s been a long four years of digging out of a scary black hole. My hope is that the healing will bring me to a much better place than I have yet experienced. Thanks for listening!


  2. Cynthia says:

    I feel as though their knee jerk reactions, and inability to put on the brakes with their abusive behavior, is an unconscious response to what they read in us…that we have developed strength of character and hence a more authentic personal power, and that is very threatening to them. They fear that if they don’t destabilize us, that we will see through their bullshit…which could be true…so they strike at our most vulnerable wounds, recreating that childhood sense of powerlessness, in relation to power abusing authority figures from our past. Their MO is so habituated that healing cannot occur. Take away that ingredient in our lives, and we can heal. Thank you for allowing me to put my thoughts down here. It helps me in my healing process.


  3. Cynthia says:

    That is why healing is so paramount, to get to the place where triggers don’t hijack the healthier defense mechanisms underneath. Those mechanisms may lie dormant but are there to be used, once we work through and release those feelings that get triggered. My thought is that narcissists sense when they can no longer wound you, and move on to other victims…quickly I might add, in fear that you might be on to them and might in fact dish it back to them (which supports your notion that they know what they’re doing, and that they falsely believe that all people operate like them, thus their need to do it, to gain false power over…to one up others before they get one-upped, to control and manipulate, etc.).

    In therapy yesterday, I expressed my very real anger over my recent narcissistic treatment from my ex-boss and ex-therapist, and it helped to strengthen me. Each day I get better at letting it go, because I see that when I am in the here and now, good things begin to happen. I now know the difference between feelings that need to be addressed, and habituated thought processes that I need to lend zero energy to. My mind muscles are getting stronger. Thank you so much for this support along the journey.


    • Evelyn Ryan says:

      Yes, again. Narcs NEED us…they are permanent parasitic codependents and cannot generate their own power otherwise they would not bother with us. They use love and relationships as camouflage to project “normalcy” to the world. They use us to mask their true intent. When we heal, they also fear us because now they know we can expose them for who they REALLY are and they have toxic fear of shame. So they move on to get new supply AND start their character assassination attempts to discredit us in case we do.

      WE cannot forget how weak they REALLY are….and easy they are to manipulate. They are aggressive and bold because they lack strength of conscientious to put on the brakes however they are very very weak without others’ energy and can be readily defused.

      Since they also do not work for anything that humans need to build integrity of character and essentially steal those things….they become developmentally stunted.

      They can learn to “fake” it but they cannot be cured.

      We on the other hand can heal. Our brains can rewire and we can change our faulty beliefs.

      Theirs cannot because the parts of the brains that control compassion do not function properly.

      They are permanently broken.

      We are just wounded.


  4. Cynthia says:

    Couldn’t help but notice the layout of this blog post, as it relates to anger and forgiveness. The theme is to rightfully legitimize that socially demonized feeling of anger, yet if you want to click on “blog” you can travel underneath to another posting on forgiveness. The message I got is this- feeling your anger is front page necessary to healing inner wounds, moreso than attempting some nebulous act of forgiveness. Imagine if the post was arranged in opposite form. Then you would gain a better understanding of how the “should do” act of forgiveness dominates the very real need to feel one’s anger. This is how we have been programmed, to not feel our difficult feelings, and thus not fully heal our wounds. Thank you for posting this!


    • Evelyn Ryan says:

      Excellent comment…healing is all about dealing with emotions we were never taught to regulate especially the “pain-based” ones that exist to protect us not harm us.

      Being vulnerable to our emotions makes us vulnerable to those who trigger them who we readily can give up our power to.

      Yes. You are totally correct. WE have to learn how to tap into, embrace and release repressed pain we feel powerless to including anger….…of course we are not but this is the paramount damage done to abuse victims.

      Anger comes from fear and for abuse victims, from believing falsely we are powerless to our pain and those who trigger our pain are the ones who have the power. I write about this frequently to help us learn the difference between harm, fear and real dange. Our filters for these become skewed in exploitive relationships.

      We learn to believe lies our abusers want us to believe so we continue to give up our power to them. Top of the list is that we are powerless and defenseless to our pain-based emotions.

      Abusers know this and trigger our fears and put us on an emotional “defensive” that causes us to let down our protective boundaries.

      This is why I titled my book “Take Your Power Back” and wrote it not only to expose the lies but also to teach us through self-care and self-compassion and self-forgiveness how to embrace our emotions, release the shame-based pain of betrayal, learn to become our joy-filled, not pain-seeking/avoiding selves, and become the authentic “perfect” versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be.


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