Day 813: What to do with anger

Yesterday, somebody came into therapy feeling angry.  This person was also

  1. judging the anger,
  2. questioning its validity,
  3. trying to squelch it, and
  4. redirecting it various places,  including towards self.

Hmmmmm.  Maybe I should have titled this post

What NOT to do with anger.

But who knows what to do with anger, one of the basic human emotions?

Do you?

Who are our “anger role models” for effectively acknowledging and expressing this all-too-human feeling?

Can you think of any?

Uh-oh. I think the pressure’s on me, now, to come up with some ideas about What to Do With Anger.

Does that pressure make me angry?

I don’t think so. However, I did wake up angry today.

I wasn’t sure why and what to do with that feeling.

However, I did not

  • judge the anger,
  • question its validity,
  • or redirect it.

Therefore, I can take now take a little time, before I leave for work, to understand that anger better.

I tell people in therapy, sometimes, that anger is the human reaction to not getting your needs met.

Am I getting my needs met, in my life?

Well, not ALL of them, for heaven’s sake. Who does?

I also tell people in therapy, sometimes, that anger is the human reaction to perceived unfairness and injustice.

Are there any unfairnesses or injustices I can see, if I look around?

Hmmmm. Now I’m wondering why I don’t wake up EVERY morning feeling anger.

Is writing this post helping me with my anger?

Actually, it is.

What else might I do with my anger, right now?

  • Respect it.
  • Assume it makes sense.
  • Allow it to flow through me, like any other feeling (joy, for example).
  • Express it as authentically and as respectfully as I can.

Is there anything else I want to express about my anger, this morning?

I suspect this anger is related to my having neither knowledge nor control, at this point, about some medical uncertainties in my life.

Are there any songs about anger out there?

If your needs aren’t being met by James Taylor singing “Angry Blues” and a Chubby Checker number, that’s on YouTube, here.

Do I have any angry images to show you?

Here’s all I’ve got, from yesterday’s photos:



I hope you know that all your feelings, thoughts, and reactions are welcomed here.

Not-so-angry thanks to James Taylor, Chubby Checker, and to everybody else who made this post possible (including boyfriend Michael, for dinner last night). Also,  special thanks to you, for witnessing my feelings and thoughts, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Day 813: What to do with anger

  1. That meat does look angry! 😀 I’ve cut out red meat, but I still struggle with anger on a daily basis – mostly at my computer, which is glacially slow, which means I don’t get much done, which is frustrating…. well, you get the picture!

    • That’s not red meat, Annabelle. It’s tuna! Does it still look angry? I am the opposite of angry to see you here today.

  2. I read somewhere that anger that lasts more than ten minutes is not about what happened now, it’s always about something that happened in the past. Makes sense to me.

    Interesting, in an almost aligned way, I wrote about the same thing this morning. 🙂

    And if someone made me a dinner like that I wouldn’t be angry any more either! Yummy! ❤

  3. Mostly my anger comes up when technology fails me. I have been wrestling with my internet company for years – but the other option here is just as bad.
    My computer crashed and I lost a year’s worth of writing and many, many photos. that made me angry! Then I became angry at myself for not backing it up. Now I am no longer angry, but I am mourning.

  4. I don’t feel what I’m about to say as often as I used to, but anger seems to reside just below the surface for me. I’ve read that anger is a secondary emotion, a lashing out response to having been hurt in some way… What do you think Ann? ❤
    Diana xo

    • I don’t think of anger as a secondary emotion. If anger lies just below the surface, there are probably some old hurts that might need some kind and thoughtful attention. I never sense anger in you here, Diana, just that loving heart of yours. ❤

  5. Great post. Don’t look back in Anger by Oasis is a good one.

  6. Beth Campbell

    I find myself angry a lot these days. My anger is directed at politicians who are doing their best to eliminate services for the people who need them most. In NH, our Legislators are forwarding a budget that will take away the beds of many veterans living in the State Veterans Home, cut off services to sick children and cause 40,000 people to lose their health insurance. (Not to mention cutting hundreds of state jobs.) I kind of like this anger. It’s going to spur me to take action. I might even run for the Legislature!

  7. This is such a helpful post Ann. Thank you! For me, letting it flow in a conscious way has been a great learning.
    Not getting our needs met – not getting our way – not having the world and others the way we want them to be.
    SO human and such a part of us.
    I wish we were taught early on about how to be with our emotions and especially, how to deal with anger.

  8. Ann,
    I usually find anger is preceded by frustration. Anger every now and then is a temporary harm. For it can be controlled by reasoning the cause of it. But, when it appears explosively as a knee-jerk reaction beyond the firewall of reason, and is sustained, then, to me, there is a problem that needs addressing.

    There are some trials in our lives that we have control over, and those that we do not. It is in the latter that our anger gains legs. We must resolve to let go of those things of which we have no control. For if we don’t we risk losing control of ourselves.

    Mother Teresa took to the streets of Calcutta and subdued anger with love.

  9. I get angry out of frustration often, for things I can’t control, that have gone wrong. I also feel it can be learned behavior- seeing those around you respond with anger becomes a “normal” response.I also ask the question, when we are not getting our needs met and are angry- have we set up unrealistic expectations about the need- and therefore our anger is misplaced- just because someone has an expectation of someone else, does not mean that person is obligated to fulfill that expectation, leaving the person with expectation angry, but the other person saying they should not have set the expectation.

  10. About a month ago, I asked my eldest daughter about how to forgive when I have trouble forgetting when someone has done me wrong. I believe holding onto that injustice is a form of anger – and, maybe, not very healthy because I’m the one still being aggravated by the situation. So, forgive to achieve peace of mind for yourself.

    I have been working on that and it really feels good to get rid of some of that baggage. It’s for sure that the person I was upset with wasn’t losing any sleep over it. 😉

    • I love that you asked your eldest daughter for help, Judy, and I also love all the helpful learning you shared in this comment.

  11. Those bike racks and the shadow all appear to be giving somebody “the finger,” Ann.

    That’s the angry gesture I flashed to another driver, complete with a shout, on the road just this afternoon. I was bringing my daughter back to my house and her car after her first day at clinical. As I stopped at a four-way stop sign, the driver approaching the intersection on the street to my right honked her horn and shouted at me that I had to stop and angrily waved at me. I flashed in anger and yelled “I am stopped,” and flipped her the bird. She flipped me the bird in return and nailed her accelarator and sped through the intersection while we sat there in my car.

    I said to my daughter, “You probably don’t want to park your car this many blocks from the hospital,” and she laughed. I thought my anger was justified, but maybe not the bird.

    • I actually didn’t notice “the birds” in that photo, Mark, until you pointed them out to me. Road rage is very interesting to me — I get it and lots of other people do too, obviously. I used to give people the bird but no more. Now, if I’m really angry I stick my tongue out at people. More often, I just wave.

  12. How about just watch it as any other emotions that occurs with cause and will subside on its own. Do not have get on stage with it ?

  13. I like my meat well done not red and bloody, just saying, anger we all get angry from time to time and it is how we handle ourselves when we do that show what type of person we are, I hope I handle myself well

    • Just saying that’s tuna, not meat, and also I agree with the rest of what you said here, Joanne. I’d also say you handle yourself well, as far as I can see.

  14. I like the images you chose for ‘Anger’ Ann, even the tree looks like it’s angry, amazing! The red meat, so symbolic… I truly admire your photography.💐 Ann, I think of Anger as a ‘primitive’ response; the important thing is to recognize it. Think of a cat for example; it might be angry because its hungry, territorial, or sick. It will strike also. As humans, we have the capacity to delay Anger, and channel it through creative and productive ways so as to take it out of our system and feel better.

  15. A fun short video on anger – Enjoy!

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