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Mastering Anger/Emptiness After Child Abuse


I have struggled all my life with not feeling any angry towards other people.  I have a lot of anger towards myself and not towards others.  A little information that is I believe pertinent, I am a sexual abuse survivor - it happened when I was around 8 years old by a cousin who was at least 10 years older and I am going on 40 now.  It was something that happened more than once and I blame myself for it (this is something I am still working on).  
Any thoughts on how I can get in touch with my anger and be able to express it appropriately towards others rather than holding it in and blaming myself?

Hello Tracy. I appreciate the directness of your question. I can definitely help.

Your question has two parts: how to get in touch with your anger, and how to express it appropriately. There is a lot to the answers to your questions, but I'll get you started and headed in the right direction.

First of all, if you don't already know this, you have very good reasons for your anger. Sexual abuse creates deep pain and shame (which is the reason you blame yourself), and as a result it creates deep anger--so deep you may not be fully aware of it. There is an internal protector inside you, whose job it is to keep you safe. When you were a child of 8, that protector could not protect you from your 18 year old cousin, and she is very angry as a result.

This can get pretty complex, Tracy, depending on where you are in your healing process. It sounds like you are now or have been in therapy, and that's good. I don't pretend to have all of the answers for you here, for your healing process. I'm just trying my best to answer your question, in hopes that will help you progress.

I think the best way for you to accomplish both your goals (getting in touch with and expressing your anger) is to do the exercises described on this web page. These steps will help you explore the ways in which you were hurt, express the anger related to that hurt, and create healing processes through the use of imagery.

And to express your anger in healthy ways to others, use these communication tools.

Again, this is a complex process, but depending on where you are in your healing, these tools might be just the right next steps for you.

I hope you find this helpful. Believe in yourself, Tracy. You can reach all of your goals for being emotionally healthy.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Mastering Anger

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William DeFoore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about: * How to deal with your own anger * How to deal with somebody else's anger * How to help an angry spouse * How to help an angry child or adolescent * How to let go of resentment and forgive * How to keep anger from ruining your life and your relationships * How to let go and get out of abusive relationships


I have been in practice as a counselor for over 38 years. I have published two books on anger and 10 audio CD programs on anger, health and building healthy relationships. I have helped thousands of people overcome their anger by healing the cause instead of just treating the symptoms. I have a positive approach, and believe in the basic goodness of each person. Anger is basically healthy, but when it is expressed in unhealthy ways it is very destructive, and that's why most people think anger is bad. Learning to understand and accept yourself for who you are is the first step to healing and recovery from anger issues.

I am the author of: Anger: Deal With It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You. Health Communications, Inc. 2004. Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light On The Darkness Of The Human Soul. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. Serai: Bringing The Children Home. Wingspan Press, 2007.

B.A. Sociology; M.A. Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. Counselor Education; Licensed Professional Counselor. You can view my full resume here.

Awards and Honors
Adjunct Faculty with the Cooper Wellness Program, of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas Texas.

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