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How does anger and rage heal?

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unforgivable5 posted 6/7/2013 12:59 PM

I ask this because my BW has had several instances of just going off into fits of what I would call "controlled rage." Just going through what I have done and how bad it all is. Through what I have learned on SI and IC, I do not try to turn this into my feelings, but understand her pain in all of it. But at the end of it all, she admittedly feels better and apolologizes if it made me feel worse. (Which she really shouldn't worry about but she does because thats who she is.) To me, her rage is her saying "you did these horrible things that I will never get past and how dare you think I ever could". I am learning I guess, that's not what she is actually saying or meaning, I just wonder how does its actually heal the BS? I would think it would make her/him more pissed and say F you, I'm outta here

tired girl posted 6/7/2013 13:12 PM

Do you not think you would feel rage if the shoe was on the other foot? Do you not have the ability to put yourself in her place?

tryingmybest2011 posted 6/7/2013 13:19 PM

I've been through the anger and rage phase. Looking back, it helped me move forward in my own healing, in that my WH was bearing witness to my protest. My rants (and sometimes blood-curdling screams between sobbing in the middle of the night - it was awful) were about protesting the injustice and horror of it all.

I did get wound up in a sort of rage spiral for a time. It felt better than being lost and sad. And it might make her more pissed and finally leave, and that's a really reasonable consequence. From what I've read here and experienced however, it's more often a natural phase of mourning the marriage, and an expression of pain and injustice.

unforgivable5 posted 6/7/2013 13:19 PM

Oh, TG, I'm certainly not questioning the rage itself. I completely understand it. I guess I'm just asking from a BS's perspective HOW it makes them feel better. Because like I said, I think after the rage you'd want to say go Eff off

[This message edited by unforgivable5 at 1:20 PM, June 7th (Friday)]

Aubrie posted 6/7/2013 13:25 PM

Have you never had the feeling like it's all just too much and you loose your crap for a bit then feel better? (Doesn't have to be about infidelity. It could be the idiot in the Kroger parking lot that won't pull out onto the main road. It could be stress from work or family issues.) Now. Multiply that by about 50. Same idea for your BS.

SuperDuperWonderboy posted 6/7/2013 13:28 PM

It's not really a choice unforgiveable.

No BS wants to feel the rage, it's terrible. And yes, it often made me think F you, I'm outta here. Hell, I still sometimes feel that way, but normally it's fleeting.

But did the rage make me feel better? No. It's terrible, it's uncontrollable. You don't want to feel it (I have already committed to trying to R..why would you want to scream and rant at the person you are trying to stay married to).

It's really a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, you are trying to re-build a marriage (if in R)--and on the are so f-ing pissed off at the person who destroyed your world. My wife hurt me more than any person in the world ever has. And yet there I was trying to love her and feel safe with her. It's a real mind-bender.

As far as how does it heal? No clue. During the initial phase after Dday, I was super controlled with my emotions, stuffed everything down so that I could do immediate triage. Some time rolled by, and I found myself less able to control the it manifests as anger and rage. Maybe it helps you heal by forcing you to examine your emotions and by releasing some of the pain.

Either way, anger and rage sucks for both the BS and Wayward.

[This message edited by wonderboy at 1:29 PM, June 7th (Friday)]

tired girl posted 6/7/2013 13:30 PM

I didn't rage at Hlessons in the typical way that most Bs's do, but I would tell him often that what he had done was the worst thing that he could have done to our M. I would tell him quietly all the things I felt. And he listened. And it made me feel better that he sat there and listened and didn't argue or protest, and that he finally got the enormity of what he had done to me.

She needs you to get it. That is how it makes her feel better. And every time that you sit there and take it and agree with her and tell her you are sorry, you let her know that you get it. That is HOW it helps.

hardlessons posted 6/7/2013 13:34 PM

Why is your focus on her anger and whether it benefits her or not. You are the suspect #1. Your focus should be on You getting Your shit together. Where are you at with that?

crazyblindsided posted 6/7/2013 13:38 PM

an expression of pain and injustice

This is what my rage and anger stemmed from. I wanted WH to not only witness, but feel the pain and horror that I felt from his infidelity.

There were times I had no control over it. One time I crossed a line and have been getting help through IC and meds to calm my moods. I was never like this before the A.

The anger and the rage needed to come out of me. I have never felt such rage in my life. My WH said he could see the hate in my eyes.

unforgivable5 posted 6/7/2013 14:07 PM

Tryingmybest... thanks for your response. As a WH, its so painful but necessary to see the destruction we've caused to our BS's heart and world. I hate the fact that you're right, she may just get through it all and leave. And that is a consequence of my actions. {heavy sigh}
Wonderboy, thanks for your insight. I'm curious, you said you don't know if it heals. Do you still feel it sometimes and is it as intense?
Aubrie, yeah I get what youre saying. But at Kroger you don't have to follow the idiot all through town. You can lose your shit and then they are gone out of your life. But I do get how a fit of rage can make you calmer
TG and crazblindsided, thanks for your insight. I get it. I truly do. thank you.
And Hardlessons, come on man... you know I am working on me. I'm working hard on me. I was just looking for some insight. I care greatly about what my W is going through. I admit that it does drop me back a step or two in my own self but I'm getting better

[This message edited by unforgivable5 at 2:09 PM, June 7th (Friday)]

Faithful w/Love posted 6/7/2013 14:09 PM

The anger and rage came and still does at times (but I can control it now)from no where. I could be fine one minute and something would would remind me of the A or him and her or just OW. I would blow up and then feel awful.. not for my feelings but for losing control like that.

It is awful. Alot of us don't even know who that person is that is coming out. It is scary to us. All the emotions that were placed on us when we never asked for them and then for some wh's to not want to understand or can't handle the emotions of us is so fustrating.

Time will heal her, your understanding will heal her, seeing you do the actions to heal yourself and her will heal her. Listen to her, let her vent, let her cry, let her do what she needs to do to heal.

Remember, this is something you brought into her life she did not ask for this drama and life shattering experience. Be fair to her and love her.

Heavy Sigh posted 6/7/2013 14:15 PM


The anger phase helps the BS move beyond fetal position on the floor and suicidal thoughts.

The anger phase doesn't help the marriage, per se. It does keep the BS alive, if nothing else, to stop from crying so much she accidentally drives into a tree from vision impairment.

Think of the first months as extreme grief, the second half of the year as extreme anger. The second year is a leveling off stage as things work back to normal.

SuperDuperWonderboy posted 6/7/2013 14:22 PM


Oh I still get pissed at times. But not to the level where I lose control. Instead of the outward screaming, it's more of an internal "fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" And now I am able to rationally express how I am feeling with my wife. The communication between her and I about affair stuff is actually strengthening our bond, because it gives us more insight into how each other thinks and feels.

So, I guess the real rage/anger stage is gone, the effects of the affair remain a part of me/us. I expect that they will always be there, but will be more of a background noise.

hardlessons posted 6/7/2013 14:37 PM

lol, man I know your talking about it, I know we have. I know we have talked about keeping a laser focus on us as the wayward. It doesn't matter what her rage is saying to you, that is her stuff to manage. I know that I always try to bring things around back to you because that is what has helped me. Your posts seem to be always about her or how she affects you etc. I was hoping to see a post about you and only you, how you read a book or went to IC and had a Holy SHiza moment. Much love Holmes

HeartInADustpan posted 6/7/2013 14:56 PM

Interesting this topic came up. I am having to deal with it right now. I've had a "controlled rage" this week. As well as a couple doozy vents (at least for me). Did it make me feel better, yes absolutely!!

As tryingmybest2011 mentioned, it is helping me move forward I think. I still feel way better after my episodes than before.

All it cost us was 4 flower vases and a lot of typed out bad words.

numb&dumb posted 6/7/2013 15:04 PM

Not that this was behind it all the time, but sometimes I used it to judge how willing my W was to stay in the M.

If I verbalized my anger and she listened and did not run away I felt she wouldn't run away when things got tough.

Anger is a secondary emotion. It usually is driven by fear, pain, sadness, or all of the above.

It was important for me to let the anger be expressed as it cleared the path for the underlying causes or primary to be brought to the surface. Anger sometimes has to be expressed so you know what is feeding it.

It can very, but that is how expressing the anger helped me. It was not the anger itself did anything positive, but expressing it so I could focus on other things was invaluable. Too many times did my anger morph into sobbing uncontrollably. I was really sad and kept it in. Like WB said, it comes out in other ways with limited control.

My IC told me that I have to deal with it or it will deal with me. It made sense, still does I guess.

Skan posted 6/7/2013 16:54 PM

Anger and rage needs to be expressed. And I do mean needs as in when magma starts flowing and the volcanic pressure builds an explosion needs to happen. Needs as another word for must. Better out then in, because rage and anger unexpressed WILL express itself one way or another. The pressure is too great for the earth to bear and too great for a BS to bear.

Expressed rage can indeed make a BS even more pissed off and allow them to tell you that they are outta there IF and ESPECIALLY if the WS throws it back in their teeth, minimizes it, or tells them something like get over it. Those types of reactions are like throwing gasoline onto a burning fire. It sends it up into an inferno. However if a WS uses the rage and anger to express their remorse, validate the BSs right to feel anger, and tries to help the BS through the rage, it can actually be a bonding experience, even if it doesn't seem that way to the WS.

A personal example and from not more than a week ago. I had totally lost it and was raging at him. He acknowledged my feelings and apologized for what he had done that set me off. I stormed off to bed alone. He settled on the couch outside our bedroom door. My PTSD kicked in and I started crying. He got up from the couch, came in and comforted me, and unfortunately made a move while trying to hug me that set off my PTSD even more and I flinched off of the bed and onto the floor, telling him that he was NOT going to hit me (no, he never has, this is a PTSD reaction to former abuse that has gotten tangled up with the PTDS from the infidelity and it sometimes just overwhelms me). He pulled away, but stayed with me talking soothingly until I was able to get off of the floor and go back to bed. He went back to the couch. I started sobbing again, he came back, I raged at him, he held me and apologized and stroked me, I relaxed, he left me in bed. I calmed down and in an hour, got up and asked him to come to bed.

This experience allowed me to release grief, anger, and rage, instead of bottling it up and having it blow even worse later down the road. He dealt with it by giving me space when I needed it, specific apologies, coming to me when I needed him, and letting me know by settling on the couch that he was nearby if I needed him. When the rage was gone, I was comforted enough and comfortable enough to invite him back into my personal space. It helped us to bond. While I was enraged, I was also as a sub-text asking him if he would be there to help me, if he was committed to staying the distance, and if he truly was remorseful. His sub-text by his actions was that he was there for me.

I hope that makes sense to you. If he had come back at me with rage or apathy, it would have built another wall between us, vice tearing one down. It really is lancing an abscess. You have to release it before it gets to the systematic infection stage.

LosferWords posted 6/7/2013 17:04 PM

To turn things around, I think it would be even worse for your wife if she kept all of this anger inside and internalize it.

When I was going through the worst of my anger and rage, my wife compared it to food poisoning. You've got all this nasty shit inside of you, and it has to come out one way or another. Afterwards, you feel a little better, even though the process of letting everything out was unpleasant, to say the least.

Teach8 posted 6/7/2013 17:26 PM

I know that rage. I still feel it and express it. Just a thought but...if every time your wife does that you can take it, comfort her, console her, empathize with will help her feel worth it too. Help her to know she is the one you really want, and in turn, help her build a bit of trust back in you.

DixieD posted 6/7/2013 17:31 PM

So many insightful responses on this thread. I don't have much to add.

Like Skan mentioned, PTSD and prior abuse or trauma can add a whole other level to all of this. It's not easy to explain to someone whose not been through it or not witnessed it first hand, or how to react to it, although she did a very good job.

EMDR helped me with the worst of my PTSD/rage stage. I really don't know where I would have been without that.

Anger is a secondary emotion. It usually is driven by fear, pain, sadness, or all of the above.

So true!

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