22 June 2010

How I deal with anger

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

No, it’s not by screaming or breaking plates or even keying cars (anymore, kidding!). When I’m angry, I write.

I find that when I feel strong emotions like anger, stress or frustration, I need to find comfort in something to help me work through them.

When I get stressed, I eat. When I get frustrated, I work out (or cry) and when I’m angry, I write.

For me, writing is so much better than gorging on a pan of brownies or can of frosting. Side note, I have successfully kicked my frosting habit!

When I get angry, I can express myself better on paper than in person because I stutter or can’t enunciate how I feel. Then, my inability to communicate builds into frustration and tears and then I’m a pile of mess.

But when I write, I am clear, direct and gathered in my thoughts. I can state how I feel and why I feel that way and be bold enough to say things my tongue might not let me voice aloud. As a kid, I found comfort in volumes of journals that, while chaste and boring, let me say things I normally wouldn’t. And then, after writing how I felt, I could let some of that anger go.

Two years ago, Lauren allowed me to tell my story about a college love who broke my heart. Writing about it was painful but I found that saying what I needed to let me work through the residual hurt I felt and I finally let him go.

And recently, I did it again, but not for public reading. I’m sad and angry and I don’t know how to work through it because I feel lost and alone.

And finally, as I laid restless in bed (again), I got up and sat down to type out how I felt and wrote things I needed to say but couldn’t. And with tears down my face, I put it out there, hit “save draft” and then slept fairly peacefully.

I don’t know if my words will ever leave the draft, but being able to put it down and keep it private is enough to help me feel like I’ve let some of that anger go, for now.

What about you? How do you work through feelings of stress, frustration and anger? How do you handle it?


  1. nic says:

    I kind of have a weird take on anger personally. It’s never been my “go to” emotion…except in recent years. I’ve finally experienced and tapped into anger and resentment and even down and out rage. It’s scary for my quite honestly. I’m more used to just crying about everything. So…I haven’t quite learned what to do with anger when I feel it. My first instinct is to kick walls and throw my phone, so that’s not better.

    One thing that I was told years ago by a therapist of all people is that anger isn’t a “primary emotion,” that it actually is a cover/ mask for what a person is really feeling underneath. Anger, in a way then, enables us all to cope perhaps. But it also isn’t doing us any favors in the end.

    I like your approach and should dig out my journal and put it to good use! Kind of like the Burn Book in Mean Girls!

  2. andhari says:

    Writing is just the best therapy. Happy to know that it helps other people too.

    If I don’t write, I usually just drive aimlessly. Or go watch a lot of DVD.

  3. E.P. says:

    I write my way through most things, whether or not anyone ever sees them. Like you, I sort out my thoughts that way. And it makes me feel better, in general, though not getting everything I want to say out keeps me up at night…

  4. Mega says:

    You may feel alone in this but you aren’t. Feel free to use me as a punching bag at any time. Its not often that I get angry but when I do, usually a physical activity and some time alone will do the trick. Like a good run.

    Have fun on your trip! So jealous.

  5. Gloria says:


    I never knew the Peter story. My college Peter story is sadly worse. Two sets of cheating Peters followed by a non-relationship that ended up in me getting dumped days after Valentine’s day and a week before my 20th birthday. That birthday I blacked out for the time.

    Back then I was angry and when I think about it I get angry.

    I wish I could be more like you and find solace in writing. Though I’m not proud of it, I’m a confrontational angry person. I want to hash things out, face-to-face, so I can move on.

    Now, that’s not always an option so when I can’t scream in someone’s face I ask someone to listen to me bitch. A person who is completely unrelated to the entire situation and I just vent and hopefully they tell me everything’s gonna be alright.

  6. When I got angry, I have the conversation in my head … and then move on.

  7. it helps me as well…(writing, not keying cars)

  8. Ray says:

    I think your “save draft” method is really smart. My SIL takes the same approach to anger, but she hits “send” as soon as it comes out. Needless to say, she causes a lot of unnecessary drama in the family. I 100% agree that you will say exactly what you mean if you write it down, save it for a day, and then hit that send/post button.

  9. stephanie says:

    I do tend to shout when I am angry. I don’t know why. My mom was never a shouter. And then I usually cry. But then I feel much better! Writing is much healthier way to deal with those strong emotions.

  10. Lil' Woman says:

    I go for a walk and put on Sublime…that usually brings me back down. But writing has also been theraputic.

  11. Akirah says:

    I cuss. A lot. Like, I drop f-bombs like a sailor. I’m also pretty mean and blame other people for my anger. Then I snap out of it and act normal again.

  12. Kate says:

    I think we are a lot alike in this respect. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about getting my feelings out while murderously punching the keys on the keyboard. Some of my best writing — in my opinion, anyway — happens when I’m really pissed off.

  13. Mindy says:

    What drives my writing most is emotions, primarily sadness or heartache. It’s so easy to write then, almost as if you wish the feelings would continue so the words come easily, but then again, why would you care to feel so down? Double-edged sword.

  14. Cheryl says:

    I write it too i feel like it leaves my body that way. Writing is good because it helps you get it out of yourself so it stops festering. Doesn’t matter if you “send” it, the letter is for you, not necessarily them. I’ve done that. Wrote long letters never to be delivered, but it helps me.

  15. jen says:

    you’re so good. i typically just shout. if i’m angry or frustrated with my boyfriend i usually just yell at him until i feel better. how terrible am i!? if i’m angry with my friends i just take a breather and try to think of a calm way to tell them they made me mad or if it’s worth discussing. at work i talk it out. i’ve never thought of writing it out. maybe i should try that instead of shouting at my poor boyfriend!

  16. Writing is HUGE for me too. The other thing that works well is sitting outside with a good book or going for a walk. Those can usually help me through any emotion as well.

  17. Kyla Roma says:

    Writing is a great help, but I think that for me I really need someone to help me work it out. My process is pretty much write about it, talk about it with a good friend over a pitcher of sangria, and then distract myself as much as possible- exercise and reading are my favourite tricks for this. I’m a big proponent of just being kind to myself where I can, and for being around great people who centre me.

  18. Glad to hear you have an outlet for your anger. Much better than ones that lead to police rap sheets. =)

    For me, if I’m angry at a situation, I isolate myself. I need alone time to process it. And it usually involves going somewhere to do something – run an errand, take a long walk, go to the gym, etc. But, if my anger is due to actions of a person, then I’m pretty confrontational. I try to think through what I want to say first, I’m not super reactionary (i.e., saying things I’ll regret later). But, I do think it’s important to air my grievances and come to some resolution where I can move beyond it. I know I’m unlike most women in this way, but I much prefer to air out and move on than to let things simmer and stew.

  19. Erin says:

    Writing has been such a great way for me to work through my emotions. Sometimes I do it publicly on my blog, and other times I write just for me. It’s amazing how putting your words down can help you deal with so man different feelings.

  20. I could not agree more. When I am feeling really angry at my boyfriend I will write him an email or letter and that alone will make me feel a thousand times better! Sometimes I send it, sometimes I don’t but the act of writing it all out helps so much!

  21. Nora says:

    Prior to the knee injury, it was running. and crying. and writing but like you, not often for the public. or just an abbreviated version for the public.

    I’m sorry that something is bugging you again but I’m glad you were able to get the words out that you needed too.

    Always here if you need anything.

  22. citygal says:

    Um, we are totally going through the same thing. Only I don’t type drafts, I write to HIM in a journal. Drafts are too easy for me to hit the “send” button. And shit, I definitely don’t want that to happen ;) At least writing eases the pain and hurt for a little while…

  23. Emily says:

    I run! A little bit of hard rock music and a fast pace for a few miles is the perfect way to sweat out some anger.

    BONUS: When I get back and am feeling better, the calories of the chocolate I indulge in have already been burned!

  24. So, I don’t talk about this often (but we can talk about it in Napa!) but I have a veryyyy similar experience to yours with the ex.

    Also, I don’t talk about this often, either, but I am actually a very angry person. I write it out in journals, have bought plates to break when I really need to release things, and even have a file on my computer called “unsent letters” where I can really rip people a new asshole as necessary.

    Getting it out helps.

  25. mandy says:

    I completely relate to this. I have journal after journal filled with my thoughts. Writing is such a good way to get things out, even if you choose to never share with anyone else. All that matters is getting those thoughts out and being able to let go of things. I am sorry you’ve been feeling this way. If you ever want to talk, let me know. Sending big hugs!!

  26. lbluca77 says:

    When I’m angry writing has helped me too. I’ve kept journals for about that last 5 years, but don’t write in them as often as I would like. Writing makes me fee very therapeutic. But I’m the opposite of you, I can’t write out all my feelings on the computer, for the heavy stuff I use a journal.