IT SEEMS SAFER
to turn the anger inward
PREVIOUS: Categories (Part 1)
2. MOST HARMFUL
SELF-ABUSIVE/ S-H anger (80-90% of ACoAs)
This form is anger at ourselves (self-blame) for not getting our needs met – being abandoned in one or more PMES ways in childhood. All children automatically conclude they caused their pain (especially when it’s continual) because they naturally assume they’re the center of everything, & therefore everything that happens to them is about them.
A child’s logic says that “if I had been ‘good enough’, my parents would have provided enough of what we needed – acknowledgment, comfort, encouragement, safety, information, love, support….
This anger is most harmful because it not only undermines the self-hater, but poisons everyone & everything around them. While it underscores all damaged people, it’s the least acknowledged since most suppress the awareness of it in themselves
• It is expressed in all 3 T.E.A. forms – hurting ourselves with cruel, self-torturing Thoughts, excruciating self-loathing Feeling, & Doing self-destructive things or letting others harm us. In it’s simplest form, self-hate (S-H) is the
— child’s belief that “everything which caused me pain in childhood – was my fault.”
— As adults, because of low self-esteem, the person decides it’s ‘safer’ & easier to be mad at oneself than at others.
• FROM the CHILD: S-H can start in infancy. Babies & young children have all kinds of habits, needs & emotions that parents prohibit &/or punish: being angry, demanding, greedy, jealous, needy, sloppy, ‘thoughtless’ …. which teaches us that parts of ourselves are unacceptable & have to be cut away. This creates a rejection of our True Self. “I’m not good enough, & never will be” becomes a core belief
• FROM the PARENTS: Very damaged family members actually tell the child outright that they’re unlovable, too much trouble, worthless…. Parents who are rejecting, neglectful, shaming, over-demanding, overprotective, overly punitive, overbearing…. insure a child’s S-H.
This kind of mis-treatment can result in a child being compliant (‘good girl/boy’) or rebellious. In either case, it inevitably leads to depression & rage, which mask a deep fear, with a feeling of emptiness, drowning out other happier emotions
The LIE: S-H is a way to not feel powerless & vulnerable, starting at a time when that was our reality in life. The child decided, consciously or not, that “Since I caused the thing or person to hurt me (somehow my fault), then I can/have to change myself & them, so I can feel better.” Not being able to change the people or situations in our environment compounded the S-H, seeing ourselves as total failures! However, we did NOT cause our early suffering, & so could not have cured it (the 3 Cs).
✦ Dorothy Block, in the intro to her book “So the Witch Won’t Eat Me”, explains how children turn their rage at their abandoning parents in on themselves, assuming that simply having the emotion of rage will kill them, as punishment for being potential ‘murderers’!
✦ Dr. Rubin, in “Compassion & Self-Hate” gives a detailed picture of the many ways this anger is used against ourselves, as well as the opposite.
Self-INJURY : One form of turning anger on ourselves is physically harming our own body (the A of TEA) – such as cutting, overeating or starving, pulling out hair, hitting ourselves or banging our head….. in order TO:
😶 feel something, because having shut down on all the agony of childhood abuse & neglect, we go numb, & that’s as unbearable as the pain we’re trying to avoid (consider how upsetting numb hands or feet are)
♨️ to punish another person for causing / triggering our abandoned pain, to show them how much they’ve hurt us
🦠 to punish ourselves for something we’ve done wrong (getting angry, making a mistake, upsetting someone, not being able to control an outcome….)
BUT what we believe to actually be ‘wrong’ – is being born!
NEXT: Anger categories (Part 3)