There are times when I feel so angry I could spit. I’m sure everyone does. Does that make me an angry person? Only if I ignore my angry feelings and repress them into shame. This is a cycle of anger. When I’m frustrated I need to feel it and express it. The word ‘express’ or ‘expression’ has come to mean ‘to verbalize’. Correctly used, ‘express’ means to ‘expedite, vent or release’.
It may help to verbalize feelings of anger to someone, if the anger can be expressed in a way the doesn’t hurt someone else. When I express anger to someone in a way that angers them, this begins another cycle of anger. It’s important to express anger in a clean, neutral way that doesn’t blame or shame someone else. The important thing about expressing or venting anger is to release it. Anger that is ‘trapped’ in the body or mind acts the same way as oxygen trapped in the body. Unexpressed anger causes pain, injury and even scarring.
The reason that talking to someone may not express or release anger in healthy ways are two-fold. First, as discussed, it can be difficult to express anger without hurting someone else in the process. If I hurt someone else with my expression of anger, it isn’t healthy. Next, when I express or release anger, I need to let it go. It is difficult for some people to let go of anger when they talk about it. Talking about anger just seems to make them angrier. This is not a healthy release of anger. In some situations it is difficult to express and release anger. If the person you are communicating with has had a part in bringing about your anger, it will be difficult to express anger without blame and shame.
That’s not to say that the person may not indeed need to hear your expression of anger. If you are frustrated by another person’s hurtful behavior, it’s important that they know. The trick here is to first decide ‘does this person have some control over their hurtful behavior? I’m I making the issue worse with things that I am doing? Is this person really acting in a hurtful way, or am I just upset because he is doing or saying something I need to hear but don’t like?
There’s an old saying, ‘the only way out is through’. That expression sums up the solution to almost all painful situations. The only way out of a painful situation, unfortunately is through. When you are in that ‘lonesome valley’ there is an end, but to get there, you’ve got to traverse that valley. Feel your pain. Listen to your feelings. They aren’t permanent and will change, but feelings should not be ignored. Walk the path. It’s always darkest before the light.