The Good Girl Syndrome & Rediscovering Anger

Tremendous sadness is all too familiar for women in divorce. And I was great at being sad. If it was a sport, I was performing at an Olympic level.

But try as I might, I could not “do” anger. You see, I was brought up to be a Nice Girl, and Nice Girls don’t get angry.

9540740_sAs any serious athlete, to learn how to learn this new skill, I asked for help. My coach – well, my therapist – gave me two assignments. First I was to purchase a large pad of paper and a big box of crayons, place a piece of paper on the table, take a crayon from the box, and scribble my anger.

How silly, I thought. But the first time I tried, I turned my head away and squeezed my eyes shut. Did it frighten me that much to see my anger on a piece of paper? Did I think I was going to be punished as these dark feelings appeared in browns and dark blues on the page?

I eventually was able to watch my scribbles, and my hand soon flew across the pages, often pressing down so hard it tore through the paper. I raged on page after page until i was exhausted, feeling like I had just finished an intense workout.

My second exercise was to write those letters to my Ex that would never be sent. I wrote some doozie and accumulated quite a stack. then one day, sitting down to write yet another letter, I realized I was writing the same thing over and over,,..and it was getting boring! That day I wrote instead to my anger.

Dear Anger,
Enough already…what’s the deal anyway?

As I wrote I began to understand that my anger was a valuable tool. It protected me, warned me about approaching danger. And it had a powerful energy, pushing me into action, and helping me move forward in my life.

If you are a Nice Girl, please connect to your anger. If you respond to it wisely, it is a gift that will protect and guide and keep you safe.

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