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What's "acceptable" anger?

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Mrs Panda posted 3/15/2013 21:42 PM

One thing I have is OK to argue. I was always afraid to disagree...easier to stifle it. Now I have seen that my BH can be angry...but still loving.

But I see on here all too often situations of emotional and/or physical abuse.

So what is acceptable?

Where do YOU draw the line?

I always felt I had strong boundaries against physical abuse. But 1 in 4 women, it is estimated, will be in an abusive R in her lifetime.

I had a sensitive, vegan, hippie boyfriend for a few months in college. But he got mad once and slapped me. It was almost funny, because he was a rather effeminate guy. I went from laughter to shock to back again. I dumped him on the spot, only to take him back after begging and pleading. It was never forgotten although it never happened again.

My BH has never lain a hand on me. Because real men don't hit.

During the so-called anger phase after DDay, he raged, he drank, he raged some more. He never called me "whore." He called me a bitch once or twice. And I made sure he knew that he can yell as much as he wants but that was a line with me.

So where's your line? What's just anger? What's abuse?
What is anger with love underneath? What is anger with intent to punish?

My thoughts for the night.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 3/16/2013 08:57 AM

Mrs. P, interesting topic worth discussing!

I've seen several threads over the years when the WS talks about his/her BS's anger and it quickly turns into a discussion about abuse. I need to say that I take abuse seriously, however under the umbrella of infidelity I believe their are several factors to consider before one can determine whether or not their situation is indeed abusive.

Whenever I read any thread, I keep in mind that I am reading it from that person's perspective at that time in their R, S, or D. For example, 6 months into R is still very early times. It is highly doubtful that the WS has been able to work through all of the issues and have healthy perspectives. There could still be a lot of blame shifting, defensiveness, and the like clouding judgement. At this stage a WS might be happy to latch onto an idea that could take some blame away from them or at least take a small bit of focus off the real issues at hand. There could also be a tendency to blow situations a bit out of proportion, especially if a thread is started and fueled by others.

I feel it's very important to take the BS's previous behavior into consideration. For example, HT has always been a really nice, very reasonable kind of guy. He never said anything cruel, rarely raised his voice. Since DDay, that had changed. He has yelled, thrown things, made purposeful digs at me, and punched walls. Completely out of character.

One if the things we say is that in a normal situation that sort of behavior would be unacceptable. But this is not a normal situation. I don't believe it would be reasonable of me to throw out a shit storm of emotional abuse and expect perfectly reasonable behavior in return. It would not be fair of me to say that I am finished behaving like a child and now I need you to be grown up too.

I do believe that continued anger is a problem. If at almost 3 years out, HT continued to throw anger in my direction I would need to address it. If he had ever laid hands on me, I would need to address it. But he is doing the work and so am I. There have been times that an outside observer who did not know our situation would have certainly thought of HT as a total ass. But the same could be said for me, right? So allowing some leeway seems reasonable to me as I get where it is coming from. And quite honestly, I could have spun my story in such a way as to get sympathy not 2x4s. But it wouldn't have been honest. Just my sick and twisted perspective at the time.

I know that what worked for us will not work for everyone. I know there are very serious problems between couples that are better off ending it. I believe that physical abuse is a hard and fast line that should never be crossed. I just feel that emotional abuse has a vast amount of gray areas that it really needs to be taken on a case by case basis.

OktoberMest posted 3/16/2013 09:17 AM

For me physical abuse is a no-no.

The key for me in what is acceptable anger and what is not, is not what is actually said, it's about persistance.

I have had relationships previously where persistant behviours resulted in huge damage to my self-worth and I came out of that an emotional wreck. He never called me a whore, or any other bad words...but what he did and what he said still managed to wear me down until I was a shell of the person I was - shaking each time the phone rang; full on panic if i saw missed calls. Something my BH even notices to this day - I still start the conversation after missing a call with: Hi sorry I missed your cal;, but I was......with a long excuse so he'd know I wasn't just ignoring him.

My BH never called me foul names that I recall, except for one night when he was really drunk. I called myself names for him.

People say things in rage and anger. They are hurting and projecting that hurt back at you. If I'm responsible I'll take it and accept it at face value. If I'm not, then it is squarely their issue, not mine.

So for me I'm ok with anger. But prolonged and persistant attacks, constant belittling and unermining in front of others or in private; and anger directed at me at things that are not my fault falls into unacceptable.

ladypersephone posted 3/16/2013 09:31 AM

WS only

[This message edited by Deeply Scared at 9:53 AM, March 16th (Saturday)]

ladypersephone posted 3/16/2013 09:59 AM

I am a WS... Why this edit???

Deeply Scared posted 3/16/2013 10:02 AM

You were sent the madhatter rules on 3/6.

The stop sign threads are strictly for WS's Only.

I have also already answered your PM, so please do not continue to post on this thread.

Thank you.

uncertainone posted 3/16/2013 11:30 AM

"Acceptable" anger has nothing to do with how others "spin" their stories or what is in threads.

The discovery of a level of betrayal as horrific as infidelity is catastrophic. I understand that very well. To react strongly and harshly to that kind of assault also understandable.

Doesn't matter if it's hours after or years. You are still responsible for your actions. Rage and the freedom to lash out and express it can become addictive and change a person forever.

I posted in the evil thread about the Stanford Prison Experiement. The psychologist Zimbardo headed this little gem that sought to see how so much abuse was reported in prisons. Was it the guards they selected?

They took undergrad volunteers that were carefully screened and background. No history of abuse or any forms of mental illness or PD.

They seperated them randomly half inmates half guards. The experiement had to be stopped in six days. Six days. By just the second day many showed sadistic tendencies including Zimbardo himself. Several of the inmates were scarred emotionally. It got very real and very exteem very quickly.

That was when you have no reason for animosity or hostility. Now, many times you have a WS that's experiencing very intense shame and guilt, understandably. You have BS that's experiencing blinding rage and pain. Think there could be some real problems with this that have nothing to do with "spinning" for sympathy?

There should be no "leeway" given by the person lashing themselves, forget the WS. Just like the affair has nothing to do with the BS neither does verbal, emotional, physical inflicting of pain have anything to do with the WS. It has everything to do with the BS and how they choose to respond.

"I can't control my anger" is bullshit.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 3/16/2013 13:02 PM

There should be no "leeway" given by the person lashing themselves, forget the WS.

As a WS I am asking the very person I have lashed out at, disrespected, and mentally abused for forgiveness. So yes, I give my BS "leeway" for lashing out in reaction to that. His anger was atypical of his nature, as my A was atypical of mine. I have never felt abused as he has never said anything that wasn't accurate in regards to my behavior.

Acceptable" anger has nothing to do with how others "spin" their stories or what is in threads.

Say HT and I get in a heated argument. I begin to push and hit him. He restrains me to keep from hurting him. But in doing so, I flail and get hurt in the process causing bruising only on my part. I then come on SI and say I don't know what to do. We got in a fight and now I am black and blue. I refrain from saying anything that led up to the altercation other than we were fighting and he grabbed me and now I am black and blue. In truth, he never would have touched me had I not attacked him. But because I still have a wayward mindset, I must protect how I am perceived because I really want to be seen as someone working to better themselves. I don't want a 2 by 4. So now my fellow SIers tell me how unacceptable his actions are. Subconsciously I'm excited because I have felt shame and guilt. Now I have something to be "right" about. He has hurt me now. Now we can even out the score some. This hasn't happened to me, btw. Just an example.

Here is something that has happened to further demonstrate how what we hear and how we perceive things are not always accurate. One morning I was leaving for work (pre-A) and leaned over to give HT a kiss goodbye. He was sleeping and I thought as I turned away he said "fuck you" to me. I turned around and immediately starting fighting with him. He was taken aback because never in a million years would he have said that. I believe it now, but in that moment I was certain he said it. I read a lot into things he said. Things that are completely out of character for him.

I can also say that prior to DDay I was known for suppressing my anger. I grew up in a household where anger was bit permitted. Look at what a healthy individual I turned out to be. I feel that over time (provided both parties are doing the work) that a couple finds ways to express anger in healthier ways. Those who don't, perhaps are better off to S or D.

uncertainone posted 3/16/2013 13:48 PM

Woes, what you choose to accept is up to you. My post was in answer to Mrs. Panda's question of what acceptable anger is. That's my view.

Not interested in playing competitive remorse. I don't believe an affair is atypical of anyone's nature nor do I believe the displays of anger I've seen posted on here are.

They just are toggles that weren't hit yet. I'm sure many have read stories of people that perform amazing acts of courage when under fire. "I never knew I had that in me". Well, same shit works in reverse. We always did. Just didn't hit the right combo to "pay out".

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