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My husband was abusive toward me and now I am full of anger, resentment and hate – how can I get rid of these feelings?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
I grew up in a Christian home as a child, but now that I am older I do not attend church, but I do believe that there is a power greater than me.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
I would like to improve my journey of spiritual enlightenment, thereby empowering myself to be a better person and to live life to its fullest.
How can I rid myself of the anger, resentment and hatred I feel towards my husband for the years of physical and emotional abuse that was bestowed on me. I follow your newsletter every week but if I think of my husband I have severe negative thoughts which I just cannot get rid of. It is now 7 months after we separated and to the outside world I am perceived to be a strong and confident person but I cannot get rid of the anger inside of me.
Wallace's reply
Wallace My dear lady, what a burden you carry – all that anger, resentment and hate! Rest assured you can let go of this anger and when you do the hate and resentment will leave as well. I will show you how.

The first thing I want you to do is share with others the feelings you have for your husband. You say the people around you perceive you to be strong and confident – do they not know of the anger you feel inside? I suggest you begin by sharing with people you feel you can trust how you are feeling – the anger, the resentment and the hate. I know that in life we are often in situations where we put our best foot forward and hide our deepest emotions, and this is necessary, however there needs to be people in your life you can open up to and share such feelings – but be careful who you choose to share with, choose people who will not judge you for what you are feeling. I want you to share how you are feeling without being critical of your husband – do not do harm and spread gossip with your words. If you share how you are feeling with others, you will find the burden halved.

Then I want you to take all this anger, bitterness and resentment and express it – let it out. But do this in a creative way without harming anyone. All this inner rage is shutting down your sensitivity and cutting you off from your tender intuitive side, so it is essential that you express it. At the beginning the rage may come out as undifferentiated raw anger, without structure or form. This type of raw anger is best expressed by letting the anger out through beating a pillow or similar in the privacy of your home (I give references to help with this in my book – see below). As the raw anger is expressed, underneath you will find a gentler, deeper and more painful anger. This is the anger that can be turned into art. This is the anger that can be used creatively and turned into something beautiful.

Then the third task in going beyond your anger is to forgive your husband. You may feel that he was entirely to blame and that he deserved to be hated. This is not the point. You need to forgive him for your own sake as well as his. When you carry hatred toward another you are prevented from loving yourself and it is only by loving yourself that you will ever find peace and joy in this life.

By sharing and expressing your anger you will gradually come to a place where you will be able to forgive your husband. In life we all carry wounds, insecurities and fears – for some the burden is so great that we are emotionally crippled by it. When we are emotionally crippled we can act in ways that others find physically and emotionally abusive. Often we find it difficult to change because we do not know how. We become our own worst enemy, alienating those around us and leading a lonely, empty life.

This is the case with your husband – he deserves your compassion rather than your hate. If you follow my guidelines perhaps someday such compassion will arise in your heart. When you feel that compassion, you will know that you have finally been healed of your anger. Then you will have traveled further along the journey of spiritual enlightenment, and will have been transformed into a better person who is able to live life to its fullest.

Further Help and Resources
My book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off has a lot to say about letting go of anger – I recommend you read the whole book since it will not only help you let go of your anger, resentment and hate, but also empower you to attain your hopes and aspirations for spiritual enlightenment. You can buy it in paperback.

Peter Shepherd has selected a range of articles and materials from Trans4mind that help with the management and release of anger. You'll find this at the Quick Coach page for Letting go of anger.

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