It’s not about anger being good or bad. It’s what you do with it that matters. John Schinnerer, PhD
Motherless daughters are frequently angry. They may have anger toward a mother who abandoned them, anger toward a mother who died, anger toward a family who is not supporting their caregiving efforts, anger at themselves for being stuck in a grief cycle. As Dr. Schinnerer says, there’s nothing wrong with anger but how it is expressed can determine whether it is destructive or productive.
Anger can move people and feelings forward. Asserting our anger helps us speak up for what we need and let’s others know they are stepping over our boundaries. As we acknowledge our angry feelings, we can begin to understand what lies beneath them and move forward with our recovery. Honor your anger, express it constructively, then release it.
Affirmation: I acknowledge my anger.
Coaching questions: What’s makes you angry? What step can you take to productively communicate your anger? How will you affirm that your angry feelings are a necessary part of your journey towards recovery?
Confrontation is a healthy avenue for you to stand up for yourself and your beliefs–to be heard and not silenced by inaction or fear. From The Chopra Center newsletter, article by Melissa Eisler
I admit it. Confrontation is my Achille’s heel. I believe that my childhood fear of abandonment, which still hovers in my psyche, is the root of my difficulty with confrontation. The little girl inside of me thinks, If I confront this person about what is making me angry, they will retaliate by emotionally abandoning me or, worse, leaving me altogether.
The irony is, if one doesn’t confront, resentment builds and physical or emotional leaving takes place because there is no confrontation. As difficult and scary as it may feel, constructive confrontation is worth it. Being mindful of your beliefs, clearly communicating where you stand, and speaking with objectivity rather than letting your emotions drive your response is a start.
Affirmation: I’m comfortable with confrontation.
Coaching questions: What keeps you from confronting? What is it costing you? What steps will you take to be more comfortable with confrontation?
So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good. Helen Keller
A woman I spoke with who had lost her mother years ago called her sudden memories of her mother “bubble-ups.” One bubble-up for her was, “My mother had many friends, sometimes I wonder where they were after she died.” One of my bubble-ups is when the University of Nebraska football team takes the field. In that moment, I can’t help but shed a tear because I feel the presence of my beloved dad.
We are frequently blind-sighted by our bubble-ups. A memory suddenly assails us and brings tears, anger, or guilt. Be patient with yourself as the memory comes and goes. “Tis the season for bubble-ups.
Affirmation: I accept my memories as they come.
Coaching questions: What “bubble-ups” have you experienced? How have you handled them? If necessary, reframe them from annoying to precious.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Master Yoda
As daughters who have experienced tragic mother loss, especially through early loss, abandonment, or murder, we have experienced fear at some level. Fear for our very survival, fear of the future, fear of losing another parent and many others.
It is only when we overcome our fears and, perhaps, our anger and hate, that we can truly flourish and lead our best life. There has been enough suffering, let’s not inflict it upon ourselves by embracing our fears. Let’s move away from the dark side.
Affirmation: I’m fearless.
Coaching questions: What fears do you have that need releasing? Name two, be specific. What is one step you will take to move away from this dark side of living?
When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself. Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelist.
One of the important lessons I taught my clients when I was their Life Coach was how to say, “no.” So much of the stress, anger, and anguish of our lives comes from our inability, particularly as women, to say no to the requests made of us that we know will put us over the top or are requests to do something we don’t want to do. Having a list of no-phrases can be helpful. Here you go:
I’d love to but I’m just not able to right now—Thanks, but my schedule is full— I know you need help with that project but I just can’t fit it in right now—Maybe another time—Thanks for thinking of me.
If these lovely responses fail, and the assailant won’t give up, sometimes you just have to say, “Is there something you don’t understand about my answer?” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but hold your ground. Your sanity and the possibility of living a tranquil, or at least not insane, life depends on it. You’re worth it.
Affirmation: I can say no.
Coaching questions: What is your response to a request to which you don’t want to comply? Is it working? If not, practice saying no then the next time you need to be strong you’ll be prepared.
One of the greatest lessons of my own life was learning to turn the inner rampage of hatred and anger toward my own father for his reprehensible behavior and abandonment of his family into an inner reaction more closely aligned with God and God-realized love. Wayne Dyer, American philosopher, self-help author, and motivational speaker
Sometimes the quote says it all. This is one of those stand-alone quotes that expresses the results of a lifetime of inner work and faith. Accepting and recognizing the reality of devastating behavior but choosing to not live a life filled with hatred and anger is a difficult transformation.
Daughters who were abandoned by their mothers frequently had a more difficult recovery than those whose mothers died. The “One Purpose” loss, as I call it, is devastating to a daughter’s self esteem and personal growth. And yet…like Dyer, I spoke with many women who had not only recovered but thrived after getting past their anger, sadness, disappointment, or hatred.
Affirmation: I can overcome.
Coaching questions: What negative experience and bad feelings are you hanging onto? What’s a step you can take to let go of the negativity without excusing the behavior? What difference will living in a more loved-filled space make in your life?