I know people can get uncomfortable with the people they love having challenging feelings like anger, frustration, sadness, fear, and so on. This is why I’ve found it so important to know who my emotional support people are when I’m feeling these types of feelings. For me, venting is a part of my process, and choosing the right person makes a HUGE difference. Don’t go to the hardware store for bread (link included), I’ve written about it before. This is one of the cases I find it REALLY important to know what store to go to.
I’m not someone who is going to sweep my feelings under the rug and lean on toxic positivity to try to pound my feelings into submission. In my experience that only leads me becoming passive-aggressive, and that isn’t good for anybody. I do my best to stay away from using that approach, but I can’t say I never go there. Positivity has its place, but dismissing the authentic process of feeling things through— isn’t one of them. At least…not for the life I choose to live.
I want to deal with my anger by feeling my way through it, so the question is…
What Can I Do Now?
- Venting-I choose a person to vent to who is a good listener. I avoid fixers, because I find they don’t give me my space to process the feelings. They just want me to jump into doing something about it. I get the urge to want to do that when someone we love is suffering—I’ve been there and done that. This isn’t about judgement, it’s just knowing who carries what in their stores. It’s not the other person’s fault if I go to the wrong store and start bitching because they can’t give me what I need. When I pick the wrong person for the job, I can end up making my suffering worse by getting more frustrated because they can’t be there for me the way I need. It’s my job to know what I’m looking for out of the venting session. Do I want someone to listen? Do I want advice? Do I want someone who will acknowledge my pity party and call me out? Do I want someone who will get mad with me? Knowing these things help me not taking it out on other people if I don’t feel like I’m getting what I feel I need in the moment.
- Experience the anger-After I feel like I’ve gotten what I needed from talking, I give myself space to feel the feeling in my body. I’ve felt the anger and/or frustration come up, I’ve talked my feelings through. Now, I need to be with them. Jodie Skillicorn, D.O. gives some good techniques in our Seeds of Wisdom episode. I’ve also used a technique from her book where I just shake. I like to put on a high energy song and just be conscious of the sensations that are going on inside of me while I’m shaking. Depending what I feel after talking, sometimes I might just sit and breathe for awhile. That’s me being in acceptance of my feelings.
- Energy work-Now that I feel like my nervous system is calmed down enough to process my anger with a level head, I like to do things like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping. I also have some new tools from Donna Eden’s work to try. My sister also talked to me about putting a crystal on my chest, so as I’m sitting here writing this, I have a large piece of rose quartz sitting on my chest.
- Brainstorm solutions– Only after I’ve done steps 1-3 do I feel confident to begin looking at possible solutions. I find I come up with much healthier and effective solution options AFTER I’ve let myself go through 1-3. If I noticing myself being reactive, passive-aggressive, or just plain aggressive, I’m not ready for this step.
How I work through my anger has changed throughout the years, but what I find is if I focus on what I can do now, I come up with some pretty great tools. Example, I might throw in a walk, writing, drawing, or another energy releasing exercise. The biggest thing I try NOT to do is once I’m done venting, get stuck in the story. I know I’m stuck in the story if I want to tell it over and over; I’m rehearsing conversations that I will never have; or I just keep an inner dialog going that isn’t serving me. I do my best to remember whatever I’m telling myself is a story I can change, but my feelings need space to move through me in order for me to start seeing different story options.
Depending on the situation, my anger may stick around for 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days. The longer I allow myself to get stuck in the story, the longer my suffering sticks around. If I can allow myself to feel and acknowledge my feelings, they have served their purpose. Often I leave the situation with many valuable lessons about myself, and I’m able to be a healthier emotional support system for the people I love.
With Love and Gratitude,