This past week, I’ve been angry. Like really pissed. After attending therapy last week, it became clear to my therapist – and myself – that I’ve moved on from the sad to mad phase of my breakup.
It all started with a bad day at work. What began as feeling disrespected by someone in the workplace transformed into a larger anger that had been sparking inside. When I told my therapist about the disrespect, we discovered that my anxiety and anger seem to be triggered by feeling disrespected.
I didn’t just feel disrespected by my coworker. Those feelings morphed into the repressed emotions I was feeling about my breakup. I feel disrespected by what happened. I feel my time, my mental illness, and my support was disrespected and guess what? My feelings are valid. I’m allowed to be angry.
Anger is a healthy emotion. It’s a basic, important reaction that we’re all allowed to feel. It’s how we handle the reaction to an anger trigger is what counts.
Just as emotions like fear and sadness have something to teach you, so does anger. In order to get to the acceptance phase of a breakup, you must journey through your rage.
Anger deserves appreciation. Read below on how I’m learning to navigate my own anger:
Write It Down
With help from an insightful article over at Writing Through Life, I’ve found it’s often difficult to write when you’re in the middle of anger, so it’s worth it to reflect after you have a minute to sit still. While you’re feeling the emotion, put pen to paper. Express your anger; jot down every negative thought, wish, and destructive impulse.
My therapist suggested getting a separate anger journal, one that I can just wreck. I have a therapy journal where I write about notes for my sessions and keep my handouts. An anger journal is completely for vomiting my anger on the page. Scribble, stab, doodle, write on the paper. However you need to get it out, do it. No one is going to see what you write, it’s okay. You can always throw it out or shred it afterwards.
Don’t ignore your frustrations – have a conversation with them. Ask why it exists and what action you can take to feel more at peace with your situation. Writing Through Life has some great questions to start with:
What are you angry about?
What happened to hurt you?
What does your anger tell you about your life?
What does it tell you about yourself?
Feel It Out
Getting mad doesn’t make you a bad person. Not always being in a “positive” mood doesn’t discount the work you’ve done with your mental illness or mean you’re not doing well. This idea that we constantly have to stay in a positive mood is just not reality. With mental illness, a wide – and overwhelming – array of emotions can pile on top of us in a moment’s notice. We shouldn’t have to repress those emotions that are necessary to feel because society tells us it’s not okay to be angry.
Need a little physical action? Whether you have to punch a pillow or sob while your dog licks your tears, let yourself feel. Let yourself be.
Own Your Anger
Anger has always been seen as an emotion we shouldn’t express, but is it bad? That’s what we’ve been taught. We deny and repress, but honestly, acknowledging your anger can help you to understand that it’s a protective mechanism and a natural defense against pain.
If you learn to cope with anger rather than repressing, you can potentially unlock the key to truly discovering what the soul needs. The only way we can progress and move forward is by taking personal responsibility for that anger and listening to what drives that emotion.
Being angry is an uncomfortable emotion to sit with day in and day out, but I must. The only way to truly grow is to meet emotions that we wouldn’t normally have a conversation with.
You have the power to choose what you want to do with your rage, ditch the destructiveness and make peace with being pissed.
How do you accept your rage? Share your experience with anger in the comments below.