23 Nov How To Stop Hurting People You Love Just Because You Want To Vent Your Anger
Anger is a normal human emotion, and being angry at times is healthy. It’s also healthy, and normal, to feel angry at people whom we love, sometimes.
However it’s not normal or healthy to be angry in a way that’s harmful to the people we love, or to the relationship we share with them.
There’s a real skill to being angry in such a way that we can simultaneously hold our relationships safe from our anger.
Couples who have great relationships know how to protect the relationship they share from even the most justified anger whenever it arises in one or both partners.
If you’ve developed a habit of venting your anger in an unhealthy way, your partner will be suffering for it, and in turn, you will be too.
First you’ll need to safeguard your relationship from your anger. Then you’ll need to learn new ways to express anger in healthier ways.
For now though, try this technique, which will help you to stop hurting people you love. Clients tell me it’s enough to stop them in their tracks as it forces them to become conscious of the damage they’ll do if they vent in unhealthy ways.
1. Find a favourite photo of your loved one (whoever is negatively effected by your angry venting- whether this be your partner or child) and put it on your phone, on the fridge, on your desk… wherever you can see it easily.
2. Whenever you feel your anger/rage arising, immediately look at the photo… look straight into the eyes of your loved one’s image and say (either out loud or in your own mind):
“Hey (Person’s name), I’m angry and I feel like venting. I know what I’m about to do is going to be really harmful to you. However I have decided to prioritise my own desire to vent my anger, over your need to be protected from it. I know this will hurt you but I choose to do it anyway”
3. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, using your diaphragm to fully expand your lungs. Slightly constrict your throat when you exhale – you’ll notice you can hear the exhalation. Repeat three times.
4. Now – and only now – you can either vent as you were planning to do… or preferably, choose a healthier alternative, such as more deep breathing, go to the bedroom and punch a pillow, do ten push ups… or anything that creates an outlet for your anger in a self responsible way and without inflicting damage onto the people you love (including yourself) ☺
Pamela Pannifex is a psychotherapist, marriage therapist, naturopath and founder of Sunshine Holistic Counselling on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Credit is due to Terry Real of Relational Life Institute for the ideas in this blog. Pamela has been helping people create personal wellbeing and relationships that thrive for over 25 years. Contact Pamela here.