Go Beyond “Managing” Your Anger: Choose To Feel + Express It Without Hurting Anyone
Posted Feb 24 2014 8:36pm
This past week I ate a lot of cheap chocolate, potato chips, and other crap food because I was angry…and instead of feeling and expressing it, I chose to eat it.
Why was I angry? Well, it’s kind of a long story, but I’ll try and break it down for you.
A week or so ago my husband and I had an uncharacteristic argument. It was uncharacteristic because we hardly ever argue and because it quickly escalated beyond raised voices to me yelling, me trying to make him see my point, me being critical of the way he handled something, and me digging in my heels.
It wasn’t until I had some time to myself that I realized a few things:
1. I wanted him to acknowledge and validate my worth and contribution to the subject about which we were arguing.
2. When he didn’t do that, I got loud and strident…and ugly and desperate.
3. Underlying all of it was this: “I am more trouble than I am worth. I must! prove! that! I! provide! value!! And if the person I love and care about most in the world disagrees with me, then I am not able to prove my value.”
(And yes, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it 6 trillion times: worth is inherent. But apparently I need to say it 6 trillion times +1).
4. I was angry because it was me who devolved into bad behavior and (in my mind), he was the more evolved one, the more even-keeled one, the more rational one, the one who’s always responsible, the one who takes care of everything and everyone…the mature one.
(Yeah…even that pissed me off!)
Upon reading this you might be thinking, “Oh wow, look how she figured all of that out and put a nice neat little bow on it.”
But guess what? I intellectualized my anger (and then ate it)…I didn’t feel or express it.
And that’s why I found myself semi-consciously eating cheap chocolate and potato chips (and surprisingly, not Goldfish crackers, Smartfood popcorn, or Smarties candies). To the point where my body started to ache. I think it was just as much the sugar and crap as it was that unexpressed anger that was literally hurting me.
I am sure you’re wondering what I did to feel and express it.
Disclaimer: No husbands or other living creatures were harmed (or even aware) that I was feeling and expressing my anger (until later when I told him about writing this post).
I put on some music that helps me feel strong emotion (Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” album) and went for a very brisk, determined walk in which I muttered to myself, cried, stamped my feet extra hard, and pumped my arms furiously.
As I walked and muttered and stamped, I learned that my anger had some additional messages for me:
It’s hard for me to admit that my husband and I had an argument because I’m afraid that others will think our marriage isn’t as solid and healthy as I think it is…and even deeper than that, I fear that if I am angry (loud and strident…ugly and desperate), he’ll leave because who wants to be with a woman who not only doesn’t provide value but is also loud and strident…ugly and desperate?
And? At the very same time I realized how very safe I am in my marriage that I could write all of this down and publish it, knowing that he’d be okay with it (and he is).
So here’s the thing. Anger isn’t meant to be “managed.” It’s meant to be felt and expressed. And anger can be felt and expressed without harming anyone…not even you.
Join me for a free teleclass:
“How To Feel Your Feelings In A Way That’s Safe For Others + For You”
Monday, March 3 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time