Estranged parents are angry. And the anger can persist for months, years, decades.
We think we deserve to be angry.
It's a commonly stated, accepted-as-truth idea to defend our anger. We're angry, and we're justified.
There's nothing "wrong" with anger. It's a human emotion we'll all have in life.
In estrangement, anger can help us heal. It can help us see the facts of our circumstances. Facts we moms might otherwise rationalize or ignore.
But it's important to know that we're not required to be angry. Anger is a choice.
Which is good to know because sometimes anger causes more suffering. It can hurt more than heals.
We know that with chronic anger there are health and quality of life concerns. Changes to the immune system and increased risk of disease. Addiction, depression. Negative effects on relationships, lowered productivity at work.
Here's the truth: When we have persistent anger, it's only effecting us.
It's normal to think anger is necessary for protection and control when we've been "wronged."
That is an option.
Another truth: We can protect ourselves and feel powerful without anger, if we choose to.
To me, that's what we deserve.
Because persistent anger is inner turmoil. It doesn't feel good.
I've never heard anyone say, "I want to be angry for the next ten years."
It can seem righteous to stay angry. It's tempting to use angry words and actions to put our pain on someone else or "get back" at our estranged child.
A third truth: Unloading anger on others doesn't work. We can't make anyone feel the anger that we're feeling - it's all ours.
I'll give an unrelated, but I think relatable, example:
Suppose you're in a relationship with a fellow you're really interested in. So much so that you're pretty sure this is it, this is the one love for you. So, you do the obvious - you tell him you love him. Repeatedly. You do loving things to show the depth of your love. How could he not feel all of your undying love? Well... he doesn't. His thoughts and feelings aren't on board. He might think it's funny that you're so head over heels. He could feel sorry for you. Maybe he's confused about why you feel so strongly when he doesn't think he's deserving of it. Maybe he's annoyed.
We can't put our emotions on another person -- well, we can, but we can't guarantee they'll feel what we're feeling, or even understand what we're feeling. It can be satisfying in the moment to let it all out, but it's almost always worse after. You're probably had that experience, too.
If you've been stuck in anger, that's OK. And if it's working for you, great. There are no right or wrong feelings or paths in estrangement.
If you're tired of anger or suspect it's not serving you, I can explore that with you. Here is the link to a free consult to see if you're ready for coaching -- click here.
No matter what, the goal is this:
Live forward, with any emotion, to get to the life you want and deserve