Anger – Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 2

Sandy can’t remember not being afraid of her father
He used to crash into the room and start yelling at everyone.
It was okay for him to get mad and hit her, 
but if Sandy ever showed anger,
She was told she was being a bad Christian.

anger, traditions, dysfunctional family, narcissist, survivor, narcissism,
Photo by Jeffrey Wegrzyn on Unsplash

Narcissistic parents are often given to raging. Rageaholics can be just as damaging to young minds as alcoholics. Many of us grew up walking on eggshells and waiting for the other shoe to drop and while we were jumping to get out of the way of the belt, we were careful to never express our anger. Well, I think it is time for a little anger therapy.

It was not alright that you were yelled at or went to bed without supper or were hit because your mother or father was in a bad mood. This was child abuse and it is okay to get mad about this. Anger is not wrong when it is a response to injustice. The wrong form of anger is what you experienced as a child and if your narc parents get mad because you remember the past, it’s their problem, not yours.

Many of us were raised to think anger is wrong, but we all get angry sometimes and we need to learn to deal with it in healthy ways. Such lies about anger have destroyed entire families and enabled domestic violence because the practice of never getting mad, keeps women from leaving their abusers. Victims remain victims and create more victims because in order to stop being a victim we all need to get angry at the injustice of abuse.

I think we all know narcissistic rages are not okay. What is more difficult is acknowledging the anger of what happened. This type of anger does not damage any walls or windows or people. It simply helps us think more clearly. Sometimes we can’t make the right choices in our life because we have lost touch with our anger and don’t  how to stop the abuse. So here are some tips about healthy anger and ignoring that Christian mantra that states anger is a sin. If anger were a sin, then Jesus sinned when he cleansed the temple. It’s not the anger that is the sin, but what you do with it and if someone uses their anger to hit a child, they are sinning. If your anger is aimed at making your life better or creating a better society so people are safe, then let your anger guide you.

Anger is NOT a sin, despite so many Christians growing up being warned about it. It’s true, the Bible gives us examples of people whose anger was out of control. Like Jonah who got mad because God saved Nineveh and Balaam who got so angry he beat his donkey. But there are other examples in the Bible where good people got angry and took action. Moses was angry when he saw the people worshiping the golden calf, Paul got angry over false teachings among the Galatians and I doubt anyone would want to call Jesus bad for turning over the tables in the temple.

Anger is not always wrong, but the Bible warns about the ways we use our anger. To not let the sun go down on our anger means don’t go to bed hating your spouse or children. When we clear out our anger, we can all start fresh in the new day. It also tells us not to sin in our anger. This is where most dysfunctional families suffer because members hold grudges and wish to get revenge on those who hurt them.

Trying to control others might be the short definition of sinning in our anger. And such anger quickly sparks into violence. Some members of dysfunctional families express their anger in violent ways, while others ignore their anger. Both patterns are unhealthy. In childhood, we learned it only takes one sarcastic word followed by another just a little more belittling building on another angry word and before we know it violence happens.

Healthy anger is expressed by restorative action, while unhealthy anger is destructive toward a person. Many children in dysfunctional families live in fear of a violent parent. When anger is directed toward children or a spouse and it harms their mind or body it is definitely sinful anger. Ironically, if you are a victim, or have been a victim of sinful anger, you will need to find your righteous anger to counteract it.

Healthy anger is not about getting even or doing harm to your abuser, but rather getting angry enough to change your own thinking into a healthy pattern. If you don’t get angry, you might keep putting up with the same abuse over and over.  Jesus doesn’t ask you to do that. He has given you free control over your own life so don’t give up that control to others whether they are a spouse or parent. Claim your God-given right to make your own choices.


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