Let’s take a peek into Stormy Sue’s heart. (We looked at two different ladies in Week Thirty-Three) What do you think is triggering all of Sue’s anger?
Sue is terrified of losing control. To say it another way, Sue’s greatest fear is that someone will control her or that she will be powerless in a situation.
Now that presents a big problem. Why? Because Sue cannot control her husband. She is powerless to change him, and that means her anger will be continually triggered as she relates to Chad. Chad may actually be very repentant and broken. He may be hungry for God and passionate about his recovery. But Sue, because she feels she must be in control, will scrutinize him mercilessly. If he says the wrong thing or responds to her in a wrong way or, God forbid, masturbates or has some other kind of sexual slip, Sue will rage all over him again. If this dynamic continues in the relationship, Chad will either give up on his recovery (he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, so why bother) and lose the relationship, or he will remain in recovery and leave the relationship (the better-to-live-on-the-roof-than-in-the-house-with-a-contentious-woman thing). If Chad doesn’t believe in divorce, he may “leave” the relationship by sinking into a deep depression or by getting a job which forces him to be away from home all of the time.
Unlike Susie Sunshine, Stormy Sue has a good grasp on reality and is more than able to express anger. That is where the differences end, however. Both kinds of women usually express anger in unhealthy ways.
Most Sues are very sarcastic. They are very adept at putting others down and making very cutting remarks. Even as believers they may struggle with using profanity when they are angry. And they are more likely to blame others for their anger rather than taking responsibility for their emotions. You can guess that Stormy Sues would be great at both covert and overt revenge. When a Stormy Sue is angry her primary goals are to wound as she has been wounded and to regain a sense of power and control over the situation.
As you might expect, it is very easy for a Stormy Sue to get stuck in her anger as she grieves. Some have referred to her as an avoidant/persecutor enabler. I call her a controlling damager. Her life is spent managing and controlling situations and people in an effort to protect herself from injury and to meet her own needs for significance and worth. From the outside, she looks like a person who has it all together. People trust her to get the job done. Of course, you don’t want to get on her bad side. From the inside, she looks like a scared kid desperately trying to protect herself from getting hurt. Her motto is: I can endure anything as long as I am in control.
–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One