A Secret About Anger


You know, there’s sometimes this view of me, and people like me, a misunderstanding that because I focus on positivity and mindfulness that I must have my life together. That everything is perfect. Oh how that makes me laugh. In truth, I’m just like you and you’re just like me.

Did you know that I get angry?

In truth, sometimes I get really angry.

I get jealous, I get resentful, I get sad, I get lonely, I experience all of those things and sometimes it’s difficult and it’s the last thing I want to deal with but I do it anyway.

I’ve always had anger issues, explosive anger issues. I remember trying to hit and kick my mom when I was teenager. I remember my penchant for throwing things and slamming doors. When I was seventeen and found out we were moving to a different state I literally threw myself on the floor and had a temper tantrum that a two year old would be proud of. In my first apartment I cracked the bathroom wall when I kicked it, I have a scar on my leg from a time that I thought it was wise to kick my coffee table while I was in a rage.

The truth is we all get angry, maybe not the extent of breaking things and screaming at people, but it happens…

And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I think it’s especially hard, as women, to own up to our anger. It’s an inconvenient emotion that we can’t usually do anything with except to let it go, or in most cases, stuff it down and pretend that it doesn’t exist. We tend to think of our anger in terms of how it effects other people, instead of how it effects us.

I’ve been working on my anger for years now, and I’ve learned a few things. Most spiritual gurus will tell you to release thy anger. However, you can’t just get angry and release it, like a game of hot-potato. You’ve got to work through it first. You’ve got to hold onto it, move it around in your hands, figure out the why and the how of it, and what you’re going to do with it, only then can you truly release it and let it go.

When you are angry and not dealing with it, it will usually manifest in some other way. You’ll find yourself being passive aggressive towards the object of your anger, you might start getting anxious, or depressed, or guilty, or even worse, you’ll start oozing negativity all of the time.

You just gotta find a way to deal with it.

Be compassionate.

Being angry doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Wanting to express that anger doesn’t mean that you have bad impulse control. It doesn’t mean that there’s any fault with you. Everybody gets angry and you are allowed to honor that. Trust in your ability to handle it and handle it well instead of forgetting about it or ignoring it.

Learn why you are angry.

Sometimes it’s not even anger. Anger can mask guilt, hurt, insecurities, and a whole slew of other emotions. For example, it’s easier to be mad at your boyfriend for arriving 10 minutes late to a date, than to admit that maybe you’re scared that he’s cheating because it’s happened in past relationships. Get to the bottom of your anger. Maybe you’ll realize that you’re just tired and stressed and little things are getting to you, or maybe you’ll realize that there’s this pool of unresolved anger within you that’s close to boiling over.

Discover what you can do about it and do it.

Think about what you can do to deal with your anger. Maybe it’s one of those situations that can be resolved by lots of deep breathing or jotting down your feelings in your journal. Or perhaps it’s time for a conversation with someone. One of the things I’ve learned (although it’s quite obvious) is not to talk about the anger when you’re in the midst of feeling it with the person that you’re angry at!

Wait until you’ve cooled down. That includes, texts, tweets, facebook statuses, and emails! Most of the time you’re not going to be eloquent, you’re going to be too aggressive, or too defensive, and you’re not going to get your point across in a way that’s ultimately going to be constructive.

Anger is a tricky thing, but when you learn to control it, instead of letting it control you, a lot of healing begins to take place and that spills over into other areas of your life. It’s worth the work.

How do you usually deal with anger?

  • Robin Westphal

    I love this post, anger is such a powerful emotion! The thing that helps me most is paying attention to anger/frustration building in me. I have a tendency to hold it in and then explode but when I am aware of and take care of anger building in me its much easier. Anger always has a purpose – its telling us something!

  • Sibylle

    I'm from a family where there was shouting and doors were slammed, so I can relate ๐Ÿ™‚
    Like you I try to release anger. At least I do when it's very strong. When it's just one notch above annoyance, I have a good hard rational look at it and see if it's really worth it being worked up about this, and sometimes I manage to then breathe my way out of it, or even laugh. If I'm really really angry, I need to express is somehow. I find physical movement is, once again, the way to go. Stomping around, or boxing a pillow, all work, but the best thing is a number of long, fast strides outside in the fresh air. That always brings me to my senses sooner or later.
    If all else fails, and I can't really escape, I've learned to SAY that I'm angry, in a strong voice: "I'm SO angry right now!" At least that gives people a warning ๐Ÿ™‚