In a previous post I asked you if you know how to use your anger constructively. This post describes how to harness angry energy to get your needs met. If you’ve been hurt in a relationship with an angry and controlling person, this topic might feel threatening to you. Let me address your fear by saying that abusive people use this essential life skill in abusive ways, and that you’ve seen it used to harm you doesn’t change the fact that the ability to harness angry energy in order to get your needs met is a healthy skill. The difference between you and an abusive person is that you will harness angry energy responsibly – without harming anyone else.
Here’s how I did that with Bojana.
First, I didn’t show her the phone bill.
Instead, I very politely (as if nothing was wrong) asked her to show me that ticket to America her parents had purchased for her – which she described as a one-way ticket.
She hands me the ticket.
Sure enough. Round trip.
Next, right there in front of her, I call the airline to book her flight back to Serbia.
She sits there, confused and alarmed as I book her flight for the next morning.
I hang up the phone just about the time that my husband walks in the door. Together, we show her the phone bill and explain that we would be sending her back to Serbia in the morning.
This is when the war begins . . .
Bojana, on the other hand . . .
She stays awake ALL NIGHT – frantically talking on the phone and planning. Often, I can’t hear what is going on behind her door. But she is determined to foil my plan to send her back.
I am determined (and quite easily able – thanks to my anger) to stay awake all night to make sure she doesn’t get away and miss her flight.
In her efforts to stay in America, she talks her “boyfriend” who lives on the East Coast. She tries to convince me that she has known him since before she came to the U.S. She asks me to talk to him. He tries to convince me to let him come and pick her up – or to fly her to him instead of flying her to Serbia.
Here’s the thing – when you sponsor someone to come to the United States and they seek to stay under Political Asylum, you – the sponsor – are responsible for any criminal activity they commit while on U.S. soil.
I believe that if she is willing to intentionally lie to me about using our phone to run up a bill while indicating that her friends were paying, she is certainly willing to do anything else it takes to meet her needs.
No. I explain to her friend that if he actually loves her, as he says he does, he is free to book her another flight from Serbia. After I send her back.
I tell her to pack her belongings or I will “help her.” That seems to motivate her to comply. The next morning we get her in the car for the hour-and-a-half drive to Los Angeles International Airport. In the car, I don’t rest. I just watch and wait.
Lucky for me, this rebellious teen is also a fashion diva and chooses to dress her feet like this to the airport:
I escort her “body guard style” out of the car, into the airport, while she uses the payphone to talk to said boyfriend as she waits for her flight and while I stand guard outside her stall when she says she needs to pee.
What she doesn’t know is that I am fully prepared for this if she chooses to try to run:
It is almost 24 hours after discovering the phone bill that her plane taxies off the runway and takes to the air.
Then – mother bear cries. Tears of relief and release.
It is finally over and my anger has served me well. Now is time to release the energy and get back to what life was before Bojana arrived.
I hope this adventure in using my anger to keep my family safe helps you understand the concept of using anger constructively and responsibly to get what you need. If you are ready to take the next step, learn what it takes to create a healthy relationship and claim the healthy love you deserve?
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© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2016 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited.