Sometimes angry energy can’t be used to solve a problem. Some problems are unsolvable. Ginny complains, “My father abused me and I didn’t even realize it until recently. The more I remember the abuse the angrier I get. He’s dead now, and I feel stuck.”

Lots of us are carrying around anger from situations that happened long ago, or even from current situations where trying to solve a problem would only make it worse. That angry energy causes tension, physical problems and sometimes inappropriate outbursts at other people. We don’t need it, we can’t use it, and we have to find a safe and appropriate way to get rid of it.

If you are stuck with old unresolved anger, about unresolvable problems, try some of these activities; lots of people have found them useful.

  • Do something physical and intense: scrub something that needs cleaning; beat a rug; destroy something unimportant; chop wood; pound on your bed with a tennis racket; pull weeds in the garden; and pretend that what you’re doing you are doing to the person you’re angry at. Symbolically carry out your fantasy of revenge.
  • Imagine the person that you’re angry at in the room with you. Tell them, loudly, what you’re angry about. Yell. Cuss if that helps. And imagine them reacting the way you want them to.
  • Write a letter. Don’t send it. Say all of the things you couldn’t say before. Then write a letter to yourself from the other person in response to your angry letter. Make sure this letter says exactly what you want to hear. Share both letters with a friend.
  • If you’ve suffered silently, ask another person to listen to you express your anger without interrupting, questioning or offering advice or suggestions.
  • Think about what you would want from the person you’re angry at — something that would solve the problem, or that would satisfy you. If you can’t get it from that person, ask someone else who cares about you to give you what you’re wishing for. You can even give it to yourself, perhaps a special treat — a party, a massage, will help you complete this.

Sometimes we hold onto anger because of a fantasy that, if we save it long enough, we’ll magically be able to use it to get back at the other person to even the score. If you have such a fantasy decide how long you want to keep it. For another hour? For a week? For a lifetime? Or perhaps you want to give it up right now.

Giving up anger often means giving up hope that a problem can be solved. This “letting go” often leads to grief, a healing response which frees your energy to move on to other things. When you’re ready to give up your anger, there will be time to grieve your loss.

Excerpted from I Don’t Need Therapy, but Where Do I Turn for Answers?

[tags]Emotional Problems, Personal Growth, Self-Improvement, Self Help[/tags]