Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Anger has to be the hardest emotion to deal with when you are being abused and after you leave an abusive situation. These are several positive ways to express your anger and not hurt someone or yourself.
For years after moving out of my parent's house, I was a very angry person. My mother had physically and emotionally abused me. Sexual abuse from 2 men who I thought loved me (not my father), I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years being picked on by other kids because I didn't fit in, and my parent's were physically and verbally abusive to each other. I felt lost for a long time when I lived on my own. There was no one yelling at me, calling me names, throwing things at me or hitting me. At one time, I was working three jobs so I did not have to be alone with my thoughts and anger. While working two or three jobs was great for me financially, mentally I was avoiding my feelings.
Over a decade later with one divorce behind me and near the end of an abusive relationship, I was so angry I felt like I could bust. I decided to go to college to help get me on the path of leaving yet another abuser. At the age of 29, I started college and made an unlikely friend: a Buddhist monk. The conversations we had changed my life.
Now I am not saying you have to follow a Buddhist path to rid yourself of anger just because it is what helped me. There are many positive ways to start coping with your anger.
1) Creative outlets are usually the best way to express what is going on in your head. Paint, draw, make collages, write poetry, or write a story. This is often called Art therapy. Who cares if it won't make sense to anyone but you? You are making it for you, not anyone else.
2) Turn on some angry, loud music and exercise or dance. Sing loudly with the music, or scream and cry into your pillow.
3) One thing I did recently to vent my feelings for my mother was writing her a letter. In the letter, I wrote exactly how I felt while growing up and how I felt now. You never have to send it. You can burn it, bury it, and tear it up, whatever you wish. I read mine to my husband and my best friend. It felt so good to get those thoughts out of my head. I ended up mailing mine to my mother. So far I have not heard back from her.
4) Learn breathing or meditative techniques. Tons of DVDs and CDs out there can lead you.
5) Keep an "anger journal." Whenever something triggers an anger reaction in you, write about it. Whether it is a handwritten journal or an online blog, you can pour your emotions out there and no one has to read it or know it is you. This also will help you watch yourself grow and heal.
6) Find something to make you laugh. Watch a silly movie or go to the park and watch children play. Or do the opposite and have a good cry. It has been proven that crying releases stress reduction chemicals in the brain!
7) Learn kick boxing, tae bo, or any martial art. You will learn to defend yourself, release stress, and get in shape!
8) Most importantly, you need to learn to let it go! Once the anger has come up, been felt, and recognized, dealt with, then it is time to put it in an imaginary box and walk away from it.
What are some positive ways you use to deal with anger? Let us know in the forums!