* During the writing of INVINCIBLE, contributor Nick used the pseudonym “Adam”
When we learn that ANGER is the natural and expected response to most life situations, we not only accept our own anger – we accept the anger in others. This often leads those who experienced Childhood Domestic Violence to find themselves in violent relationships as adults.
So how can we unlearn the LIE of anger and focus all of that energy towards passions that matter most in life?
He grew up confused and had to undo the lies to learn the truth about his own worth
You may remember the story of Adam in the book INVINCIBLE, who was able to overcome the adversities experienced in childhood, and his resulting adulthood of addiction, to become a success in his field. He had to learn that violence was not his fault, and that although his parents loved him, they were unable to express it in a normal fashion. He grew up confused and had to undo the lies to learn the TRUTH about his own worth.
We’re going look closer at Adam’s childhood story and explore where it takes him as an adult. We’ll see that without a healthy model for love and kindness, those who experience CDV not only grow up angry, but are also more likely to be a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence later in life.
As Adam grew into an adult, his own anger spilled out into his life
This was the case for Adam. Both Adam’s parents were extremely angry and also violent with each other. As Adam grew into an adult, his own anger spilled out into his life.
After he moved out of his parents’ house, which he described as the best day of his life, he started drinking heavily and dating abusive partners. He began blacking out during his partying and letting his weekend extend into his week. He was continuing the domestic violence that he had learned growing up in his childhood home.
“What could this cost me?”
“My whole childhood set me up to believe that even if someone treated you like crap—was verbally abusive or hit you—it didn’t mean they didn’t love you or you shouldn’t be with them,” he says. “And I was just as abusive right back.” At age 27, after a number of unexplained absences from work, Adam nearly got fired. That was when he asked himself, “What could this cost me?”
The fear of losing a job he loved, along with his hunger for financial independence, prompted him to take some dramatic steps: He ended his violent relationship and got his drinking under control, entering six months of rehab. Through the many relationships he formed in rehab, which he continues to foster, Adam was able to engage with people whom he trusts, to open up about his past, and to help others who grew up living with domestic violence.
He had discovered the power of transforming his anger into passion
The pattern of self-anger and harmful behaviors, as a result of the adversities experienced in childhood, can be stopped, but only through forgiveness. Adam gradually forgave himself and his family, although, he admits, “It’s an ongoing process.” He also realized that he could direct his anger toward working harder at his career. Having a successful career was a way of proving to others that he was neither unimportant nor powerless, that he was not to be ignored. He had discovered the power of transforming his anger into passion.
Please share in the comments below what one thing in your own life you value and would never want to lose or sacrifice?
A detailed overview of the ANGER lie can be found in CHAPTER 6 (“Angry to Passionate”) of INVINCIBLE: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up With Domestic Violence, and the Truths to Set You Free.