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While some survivors have no problem expressing emotions like anger or fear, many of us grew up hiding our emotions. Others among us found it too painful to feel at all, and learned how to completely disconnect from our emotions. In childhood, that disconnection helped us to survive. But today, as adults, it keeps us from thriving. Reconnecting to our emotions is an important part of our healing process.

On this page:
Managing our anger
Letting go of shame
Honouring our grief

Managing our anger ..

In their book, "The Courage to Heal", Ellen Bass and Laura Davis describe anger as the backbone of healing. Too many of us think of anger as a negative emotion. But anger is not bad: it tell us something is wrong that needs to be righted. Our anger can tell us that we are afraid, hurt, frustrated, or indignant about an injustice. And it is only when anger is expressed unhealthily, or totally repressed, does it have negative effects.

Most of us survivors have been carrying a great deal of repressed anger within us since childhood. Pushed down, seething, and hurting us more than we know. It's essential that we learn how to let that anger out in healthy ways, and to allow ourselves to feel our anger. To not do so is to dishonour the pain of the children we were.

Anger Is Natural

Anger Quiz

Experiencing and Expressing Emotions

A Love-Letter to My Anger

Letting go of shame ..

I am not ashamed of the fact that I was abused; rather I believe that the shame of the abuse lies with the abusers and with those who did not stop them.

But I know we live in a society where it is not easy to be open about these things. And we are entitled to as much privacy as we need about our past. But we also need to understand that as children, we did nothing wrong. We were the best children we could be, and there is no shame in that. The shame, and the blame, belong on other shoulders. We can learn to let go.

Honouring our grief ..

Many survivors have a hard time crying. I'm one of them. Perhaps we are afraid that once we start crying, we may never stop. But, like repressed anger, those held-back tears can corrode.

Tears are healing, and studies have shown that when we cry, toxins wash out of us with those tears. At some point in our healing process, we need to have a good cry. Those of you who can, don't beat yourself up for doing so. You are honouring your grief. Some of us can barely get in touch with simple sadness.

And don't let anyone tell you to "just get over it". Only we know what we have been through, and we have paid a high price for every single tear. Treat them like the treasure they are. And know that there are other emotions: joy, contentment, hope .. inside you too.

How Is Emotional Blindness Created?

How to Cry

What Is Grief?