Unpacking The Past - Understanding Reactive Anger

As I’m learning about myself and going through the process of healing and getting my true self back, I sometimes learn things that I just go, “well f#%@ me running, that’s what that was.”

As I go along, I’d like to share with you these important realizations that I feel EVERYONE should be aware of.

I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor, don't take this as gospel.

For that matter you shouldn't take the Gospel as gospel either but that's an ancient shepherds tale from another time.

Before I continue, I just want to say that if you are angry all the time, or your anger is excessive, to the point of it affecting your relationships, or structural integrity of doors or walls, you need some professional help.

This isn't about that kind of anger.

Much of what I go into below is after much time taking apart my history, reading about 30 books, many support forums and trying to figure out what happened.

A very common tool in the abusers handbag, is for the abuser to reverse the roles and make the claim that the victim is being abusive towards them.

This specifically is a scenario in which the victim snaps at the abuser. The victim braves continuous torture only to be told that there is nothing to react to and they overreact to everything.

Over time they will wall off parts of themselves because they are being constantly conditioned and groomed that they are the problem. As such they are anxious and scared to mention their hurt, confusion, and are prevented from forming the idea that this could be abuse.

They can only take this for so long before they snap. They may scream or insult them. Maybe even throw in a low-blow or unfair insult. They may even physically attack the abuser or objects nearby, although this is very, very uncommon in victims of abuse.

The abuser then piles onto this outburst, claiming it “evidence” that the victim is unstable, that the victim is the abuser after all. Then the abuser can hold it up, and hold it against the victim for as long as they can get away with. All the while using this as hard as they can to get more of that juicy supply.

They are not interested in talking things out. They are not interested in listening to why this happened. They have their “evidence”, and that’s all they need.

They get to say things like:

  • I have to walk on eggshells around you
  • You are an emotional time bomb
  • YOU’RE the one who frightened ME

All the while the victim believes this and feels guilt for their uncharacteristic but justifiable outburst!

I say justifiable because a normal individual won’t push buttons to achieve this level of aggression from someone. For the sick F#%@s that do this, it's a game to get you to react and then use that against you.

Meanwhile the abuser is the actual time-bomb, the victim is frightened and walking on egg shells, but dare not admit it or bring attention to it, or has been so deeply abused they don’t even see it themselves.

The abuser has flipped the roles, and paints themselves as the victim.

This leads the victim to wonder if they are in fact the abusive one in the relationship. Now they believe they are violent and emotionally unstable, and may start describing themselves as such and seeking help for these problems.

If they break away from the abuser, they stand no chance at all against the smear campaign the abuser then launches. Partially because they believe they were wrong and deserve whatever vile slander is heaped upon them.

It’s a way for the victim to get the f#%@ing crazy out of their system, put there by the abuser's gaslighting.

This does not mean that the reaction was okay.

It is never okay to treat another person with violence OR abuse.

It is very important to separate this kind of reaction with the kind of ongoing abuse that causes it.

I don’t think it’s fair to call this type of reaction “abuse”, because the word implies a severe violence that causes detriment to the mental and physical well being of the victim.

"Reactive Anger” almost never actually harms the true abuser it was aimed at - in fact it is often exactly what they wanted, and only bolsters their sense of self-righteousness and fuels their power over the victim.

A good way to tell the difference from a victim who reacted to abuse, and a psychologically abusive person creating a smear campaign against a victim is their attitudes toward their own actions.

  • Victims will almost always be able to admit their own faults.
  • They will know they reacted badly and did wrong.

This quality is actually what the abuser uses against them in the first place to make them believe they are the ones in the wrong. Part of healing from abuse is learning to point out which of the abusers behaviors are, in fact abuse, while still acknowledging what you handled badly.

Everyone reacts badly to things under the extreme pressure of abuse!

Abusers will almost never admit they have ever done anything wrong at all and will claim they are the victim.

Their victims will be blamed for everything.

They will hold every tiny thing against the victim, even things they could not possibly control, or they have never tried to talking to them about. They use social bigotries against the victim, and in their own defense.

Mental illness is used in this way: they believe their own illness excuses them from every wrongdoing, and/or their victims illness as proof the victim is in the wrong.

The most dangerous, most psychologically abusive people will even try to fake being able to admit their own mistakes. They almost always get tripped up in the details, by claiming "oh I handled that badly" but following it up with "but only because of (something that is the victims fault after all)".

A prime example of this recently was in the Daddyo5 YouTube scandal and public apology. How they were so sorry if anyone got offended and hurt. How they realize there was shit put on their channel that shouldn’t have been there, but, how it was all Philip Defranco’s fault for making the shitshow public.

Sorry muffins, you brought that on yourself and I hope those kids are truly ok. I also hope the authorities determine that what you assholes did to those kids was abuse, that they are taken and placed in appropriate care. Also fuck you.

I apologize for the language, but this kind of shit, still really pisses me off.

Am I perfect?

Hell no, I’ve hurt others, never intentionally mind you. I recognize when I screw up and feel like absolute shit over it for a long time (forever) for the hurt I've caused. I do try to make amends or set things as right as they can.

Sometimes this isn't possible without causing more harm to them ... or yourself. If an apology is on this level, it isn't worth re-traumatizing that person or yourself. If you can let that one go, let it go.

I realize when you drop a plate and break it, saying sorry doesn’t put the plate back together. I think most of us operate under this paradigm.

We all make mistakes all the time and reflect on them to learn to be better human beings.

And that's all we can do ...

If you read down this far, thank you very much, I hope this reaches someone caught in this web and they are able to tear themselves free.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

If you are in crisis and need help:

  • 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224 for the National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) National Child Abuse Hotline
  • Call 911 or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 if you are in crisis and are contemplating self harm. Please don't and please call, we need you.