Dealing With Toxic Emotions

Every once in a while I will read an article that triggers a reaction that starts deep inside and builds until I want to explode. I had a dream about JC last night, I don’t even remember what it was about now. I didn’t wake up crying or anything but then I read this morning in the Huffington Post about the effects of toxic emotions such as anger and how they can cause heart disease,  

When I read the title I thought, “Oh, hey, this might be a good article to share with my readers, maybe there will be a nugget of information to help everyone (because lets face it anyone who has come out of an abusive relationship is packing some anger) deal with their suppressed anger.”

It starts good, The opening paragraph sounded familiar, I’m not proud of it but I will admit to tossing the odd object in anger, mind you I never tossed it AT anyone and I had things actually hit the back of my head or if I didn’t duck fast enough the thing (usually his fist) would hit the front of my head. But I was never proud of those kinds of fights. I had never been one to throw things at people and I was surprised when not that long after we moved into the house at Hatzic our fights escalated to that level. We, the perfect couple who always discussed things calmly and rationally, who never raised their voices at each other; were screaming at each other over stupid things.

I got to #2 and nodded in agreement, anger often comes from some other emotion like fear, insecurity or self-defense and they suggest looking deep inside to figure out exactly where your anger is coming from. OK that makes sense, and then you kick the SOB to the curb and solve your anger problem, right ?

But no. Obviously the writer has not been in an abusive relationship because the rest of the article reads like a “Survival Guide to Living With a Narcissist” and tells you to do exactly what most victims of abuse have done for far too long.

Ok #3,go off on your own and calm down, is not always possible when you are with a Narcissist. In the beginning when we fought I would take off to cool down and it never took me long, maybe 5-10 minutes; I would calm down and not angry any more. Just being able to get away from the heat of the moment would be enough for me. I am a very forgiving person and really hate unproductive fighting, I see no point in going toe to toe with someone and having a “fuck you” fight. You know where you stand there screaming at each other, he says “Fuck you!” and you go, “Well FUCK YOU.” and he goes “WELL F…U..C..K.. Y..O..U..!  and you say” NOOOO …. FffuuuUUUCKK YoooOOOUUU!!!!”

JC hated it when I would leave a fight, I would walk away from his badgering about something, get in my car, leave a little rubber sitting on the road, get around the corner and realize how much I loved him and go back.  He started doing things like rip wires out under the hood of my car so I couldn’t leave or he would rip the keys out of my hand. I remember one time about a year into the relationship after my car had been “stolen” and returned by the police. The ignition had been punched out of it and I had to start it with a screw driver. JC and I were fighting and I ran out to the car and he reached in and grabbed the screw driver out of the ignition and went into the house (he wouldn’t want the neighbors to see him doing anything violent) As I went running up the stairs behind him what do I see? laying on the steps, (because he never put his tools away) but a screw driver. “Ha!!!! I laughed to myself too funny!!! I grabbed it, started my car and took off.” just as I rounded the corner I see him in my rear view mirror standing on the porch with the screw driver in his hand, helpless to stop me. Only problem was, as soon as I was away from the fighting I calmed down and wasn’t mad any more, in fact I was in a pretty good mood because I had out smarted him. I parked just out of sight and started laughing at how stupid the fight had been and was envisioning me going back and us having a laugh over the whole thing, he didn’t see the humor in it.

#4 is where we get into the danger zone. Resolve the issue and if you can’t, change how you feel about the person.  Victims do that all the time. They can’t resolve the problem so they change how they feel about it and start to accept things they would never accept normally.

Then we have #5, talk to people about it. Most of us have tried that at some point and learned to keep our mouths shut because no one believed us or wanted to hear it.

That brings us to the last suggestion for dealing with anger #6,, retrain your brain to think more positively and see the good things a person does and not focus on the bad. Oh how I know this tactic inside and out. I was the master at number #6!! I was able to retrain my brain so well JC didn’t have to do anything except not be miserable and I was so appreciative it makes me sick. JC used to always say I was too negative, that I was looking for a fight, that he couldn’t stand my negativity and I never saw the good things or appreciated all the good things he did or we had in our life. So I tried to see the cup as 1/2 full instead of 1/2 empty. Instead of being worried about being homeless or living in subhuman conditions I tried to accept things and be thankful for what we did have. One of his favorite sayings used to be, ” At least you are fed and watered.” I used to HATE when he said that!! fed and watered, I am not a horse!! and there was no reason for us to be homeless.
We were both capable of making good money and living comfortably but I am sure now he kept us that way because then I was totally dependent on him for everything. He always seemed the happiest when we were the most destitute, mind you he never let up on me, it just gave him more reason’s to blame me and made it impossible for me to leave. A typical tactic of an abuser is to create a situation where the victim is totally reliant on him.  Nothing kills a person’s spirit faster than making them accept  unacceptable treatment. 

Now I know the writer was writing about normal healthy relationships where perhaps a person is being nitpicky, but it also shows how easily a victim can lose their independence and end up allowing boundaries to be broken because they do what any healthy person would do in a healthy relationship. It doesn’t start with accepting the person hitting you or denying you your freedom, it starts with small disagreements that normal couples have all the time and it builds to totally unacceptable behavior and treatment on his part.

The article is the same “feel good” advice we often get from people who know nothing about dealing with a toxic person like a narcissist and advise victims to “try harder” or defend the abuser. I ended up retraining my brain alright, it was the only way I could survive the horrendous treatment and insanity I was living with daily. And then society blames the victim for allowing it to happen. It’s no wonder the victim ends up confused and wondering what the hell happened.

By the end of the article I had this rage building inside me, I wanted JC in front of me, with a couple of really big Harley riding type dudes on either side of him ready to stick something in his mouth (their fist) if he even attempted to talk over me and then lay into him about how I really feel about the hell he put me through. I know I could never get it out if those big dudes weren’t there because he would sneer and interrupt me, twist my words and get me so flustered and frustrated I’d end up in tears and I know also that even if I did have the opportunity to speak my mind and scream in his face all the things I was forced to hold inside all those years it would not mean a damn thing to him, he would learn nothing from it, would not admit to anything or feel bad. I know he would come away from it calling me a crazy psycho bitch. But every once in a while I day dream about somehow showing him how it feels to be scared, unable to defend him self, while someone screams in his face about what a horrible person he is. He would have to have feelings for that to have the desired effect and that is the truly frustrating part for most victims, the inability to ever have closure or have the person be accountable and THAT is when it gets dangerous for your health.

Toxic Emotions Can Lead to Serious Health Problems

Anger and hatred are natural, but they are also some of the most toxic emotions that we can have. Feelings of rage and hatred build up in the mind, body and soul, affecting the body’s organs and natural processes and breeding even more negative emotions. Expressing anger in reasonable ways can be healthy, but explosive people who hurl objects and yell at others frequently may be at greater risk for heart disease. Prolonged bouts of anger can take the toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours. All of these health issues can lead to more serious problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Anger and hatred can be directed at yourself or at other people, but either way you lose when you allow these negative foods for the soul to take over. Fortunately, there are some ways to overcome anger and hatred in your life.

How to Overcome Anger and Hatred

1. Acknowledge your anger. Instead of pushing your anger into the recesses of your mind or refusing to admit it is there, be mindful of what you are feeling. If you can admit that you are angry, then you can begin to tackle those emotions and find a solution to the problem.

2. Realize why you are angry or feeling hateful. Look deep within yourself and ask yourself why you are upset. Many times, anger and hatred come from a place of fear, insecurity or self-defense. Once you find the root of your anger, ask yourself if your physical and mental health are worth the struggle.

3. Step back for a moment. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to make rational decisions. Take a break, go for a walk or practice meditation until you have calmed down a bit. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. Once your mind is calm, you can will be able to control your emotions in a more efficient manner.

4. Deal with the issue. Unresolved anger can seriously affect your health and happiness. Instead of ignoring the issue, try to find a solution to the problem. If the situation is beyond your control, try to resolve it in your head by shifting your mindset. You may not be able to change a particular person or situation, but you can change how you think about them.

5. Talk to people about what’s on your mind. Sometimes just talking to a close friend, family member or even a therapist about something that is making you angry can help to alleviate the negative feelings you are having. Moreover, other people can often offer valuable advice that comes from an objective perspective.

6. Let go of unhealthy thought patterns. If you find yourself always thinking the worst about others and/or yourself, try to retrain your mind to think more positively. If you can let negative thought patterns go and start to appreciate the good in life, you will find that you have less to be angry about, better health and a happier disposition.

We all experience anger and hatred at some point in our lives. It is natural to feel angry about something, as long as you know how to deal with your anger so that it doesn’t negatively affect your health and well-being. Remember that anger comes from within, and it can be just as easy to eliminate anger as to suppress it or hold on to it. In fact, sometimes it is easier to just let something go than to carry on being upset. If you can learn to tackle your anger at its root and resolve your negative feelings without lashing out at yourself or others, you will already be one step further on the path to optimal health and happiness.

For more by Dr. Cynthia Thaik, click here.

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One Reply to “Dealing With Toxic Emotions”

  1. Thank you LWAT. Thank you for acknowledging that some of those relationship tactics don’t work with a pathological individual. I am a Psych major and am in the service industry, I know my shit with people, and I could not solve ANY problems with the 2 narcs. One I had kids with unfortunately. He has conditioned them to be desensitized to my demise and to even maybe chuckle about it. Because “mom” deserves it. My life is so sad right now. I love where you live. I am so sad about what happened to you too. At least you have humor. Maybe I will get there. Cute dogs……

    Like

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