Are you holding onto Anger?

Are you holding onto Anger?

Three times in the past month I have been with women who have expressed anger at their mothers.  Not the passing “she annoys me” kind of anger, but true, real hostility.  The negative energy coming off these women was palpable.  The anger was deep seated, unresolved and causing them continuous pain.

I connected to these women.  Their pain and negative energy was very familiar to me, because I used to be the one it was coming off of.

The anger that I held onto for many years was not directed at either of my parents.  It was directed at my husband.  In my mind he had taken away my happily ever after.  I walked around angry, bitter and resentful for longer than I care to admit.

As I have shared before, my supreme dissatisfaction led me in search of answers.  As soon as I realized how angry I was, I knew I needed help.  With assistance from books and therapy I was able to examine my anger and see it in a new light.  I faced my feelings head on.   I was then able to let go and forgive all of the things I had blamed on my husband.  This improved my marriage in innumerable ways.

One of the largest lessons I learned from this process, and the thing that I really wanted to say to these fellow angry women is this: You have no idea how much energy is being sucked out of you by carrying your anger.

It brings to mind the quote “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

That is what we do to ourselves.  We think that by being angry we are making the other person pay.  But it is only us that pays, over and over.

Even when you think you are managing.  Even when you think that you have compartmentalized and that everything else in your life is good.  The anger eats away at you.  You feel it every time the person calls or comes up in conversation.  Your body gets tense, your heart rate increases, your tone of voice changes.  You may say or think you are fine, but everyone around you can tell that you aren’t.

Maybe you have to deal with the person on a daily basis, or maybe they live far away and you can put the thoughts and feelings back into the recesses of your mind.  Either way, your response is proof of the toll it is taking.  Unresolved anger is taking much more out of you than you realize.

Once you are able to move through your anger and come out on the other side, you realize how exhausting it was.  Suddenly you have so much more positive energy to put towards the things you love.

Many people’s reaction at this point in the conversation is, “But I don’t want to deal with them.”  Or “I don’t want them in my life” or “She/he died.”

One of the best things about forgiveness is that it doesn’t have to involve the other person.  


It’s true.  You can forgive someone who you see every day or who left this earth twenty years ago.

The anger is within you.  It is sucking your life force because you are giving it power.  But you have the ability to take its power away.  By facing and dealing with your anger you can come to terms with it.  You can choose to have a relationship with the other person or not.  It is completely up to you and doesn’t have to hinder your forgiveness process.

By choosing to forgive, we give ourselves peace.  The same way anger is within you, forgiveness can be within you.  It is all about our own thoughts and feelings and has nothing to do with the other person.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what they did was ok.  It doesn’t mean that you condone their behavior.  It just means that you choose to let go of what happened and move forward positively in your own life.

We hide our anger and hurt because we are scared of looking at it.  We are afraid of how it will make us feel if we get too close to it.  We give it a power it doesn’t deserve.

In reality, when we are brave enough to look at our anger and pain, it is much less scary than we thought.  When we take it out of the shadows and really examine it and allow ourselves to feel it, it isn’t as horrible as we imagined.  Suddenly we can be gentle with ourselves about the pain and sometimes start to see the situation differently.  Once we face our own part in it, the other person becomes more human and forgiveness becomes easier.

I’m not saying this process is easy.  But I am saying that you can do it and come through stronger and happier.

I have found peace with my husband.  Are you ready to find peace too?

If you are tired of letting your anger fester, please know that I am always here to help.  I have helped guide many women on the path to forgiveness.

Anger can be a great teacher if we let it.  I urge you to let yours out so you can be free of it once and for all.




16 Responses to Are you holding onto Anger?

  1. Lois Mariano says:

    What timing! I’m in the midst of a situation now – so rare in my life these days that I feel something I identify as anger. Thank you for writing this. I can tell that I’ve got to work through this and not simply bury it – it most definitely is not helping me. Occurs to me that fear – at least in my case – is at the root of lots of anger. Thank you again!

  2. Thoughtful post, Lorna, thank you. As a “good girl” archetype I never learned how to express anger. So for me, acknowledging and expressing anger has been a lifelong lesson. That sometimes anger is, indeed, an appropriate response. What I love about this post is that you talk about the destructive force of anger when we hang onto to it, or in my case, suppress it, creating DISease in the body and in relationship. I also appreciate what you say about choice. We can choose to move forward or we can choose to stay mired in thoughts that simply do not serve our higher good. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Deb says:

    I agree with you. There are ways to release anger. It is just no- body teaches us. We are taught not to be angry. To suppress anger. The only problem with that is that it is still within our body. And it bubbles up in unexpected times. I guide people to release their anger buy moving the energy out, running, dancing, singing, shouting in the shower, beating a stick on the ground and yelling at the ground or the air and saying everything that is pent up. Not to a person, but to the air, to the tres, to a cushion, to the shower, to anything but the person as when directed at the person it will result in more anger and conflict.

    Once the anger is released a person usually funds sadness underneath. The anger is often because someone has either been dis respectful or abusive and the person who is angry could not stop the dis respectful behaviour. The anger and sadness are often as a person has lacked the skills to make a stand for justice . I have written about this on my site . A great topic to write about. Xxx

  4. Maria says:

    ahh – such a thoughtfully written post. To release the anger is certainly a challenging but enlightening process and definitely worth it. The other side of anger is lighter and more peaceful. Thank you Loran for sharing and reminding us that to forgive is truly divine. xx

  5. Susie says:

    Wow! I must share this post with a recent client of mine. She is going through a nasty divorce and she isn’t ready to let go of her anger. I have never heard the saying “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

    That is so true, I even got goosebumps when I read it. Thx Lorna!

  6. Cathy says:

    I so dislike anger. I would rather do almost anything than feel anger at someone….especially myself. You are totally right about forgiveness too. It really doesn’t have to involve the other person, often better that way. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  7. Tania says:

    Lorna, I really live that saying. It’s puts it into crystal clear perspective and makes so much sense. I heard that term a few years ago and say it to my own mother. She’s one person close to me that harbors so much anger at people in her life. I’ve counseled her often on this topic. It’s hurtful for me to see her hurt so much because of the anger. It’s so palpable with her. Her experience taught me from a very young age how anger can eat away at you from the inside out and that is why I am very good at not harboring anger. I 1. choose not to be angry or 2. Forgive the person for being human 3. Disconnect from them completely.
    That you for this beautiful post.

  8. Lori W says:

    As I look back upon my own life, I am not aware (or perhaps have suppressed unpleasant memories) of ever feeling strongly enraged. I have, however, been disappointed, annoyed and hurt many times. My coping mechanism encourages me “try” to understand the thoughts and feelings of the other party involved. I despise drama and try to steer clear of those individuals that stir the pot.

  9. Angela says:

    wow very timely post, thank you for writing this with such sensitivity. I am in the process of working through some deep, and very well hidden anger right now. You hit the nail not he head ‘it’s certainly not easy’ but I’m not giving up because I can smell the sweet scent of peace and freedom at the other end. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of not giving up on this one. <3

  10. Michelle says:

    Forgiveness has always felt like “closure” to me. If a relationship didn’t end peacefully, and I didn’t get that “closure”, I was heartsick. It wasn’t until fairly recently when I learned that the only one who can provide true closure is me. I can forgive and move on. So freeing.

  11. Cathy says:

    I’m slowly trying to get comfortable with my own anger – finding ways to move it, release it, transform it without destruction. I once did a made-up ritual, without having any idea what I was doing, and found myself in a very scary place I never want to get to again. As others have said here, there’s been no education about this, especially for us “nice girls”.

    It was such an eye-opener for me to learn that, from the soul perspective, anger’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s how we take our space. From that idea, I am learning to address the feelings I’ve tried to avoid until now. Thanks for shedding light on this suppressed topic.

  12. Elizabeth MacLeod says:

    I use to channel my anger through my clarity until I learned to just be angry. It’s funny, I was watching my friend’s daughter with her one year old…they can’t seem to let her cry. And I found myself wondering…what in heavens name are they going to do when she gets angry? They need to teach her how to feel and what to do with that… not suppress!!!! don’t get me started hahahahah!!! . Too bad this isn’t a course we have in schools … we could sure use it! Especially girls and women! Great post Lorna!

  13. Dana says:

    Great timing Lorna, I have a close friend who has ongoing anger issues, interesting that I watch her take on anger for her adult children and channel it through her own self-destructive behaviors, while excusing their issues. Anger is primal and necessary, directly connected to fear and love as demonstrated by so many of us on our journey. Fantastic post.

  14. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

    Wow, this is so true and exactly how I felt. The anger I was holding on to was killing me inside cell by cell. I now choose to be forgiving and happy. Hopefully, my happiness will spread like wild fire. Thanks Lorna!

  15. april says:

    i was this person, holding anger (in my case for my siblings over an issue involving our father). and it literally ate me up, consumed me – even after they tried to make amends and were confused by my continued resentment. one day, even though forgiveness seemed foreign, i realized i just had to let it go. i still didn’t like what they’d done, but it no longer mattered. my emotional health was more important. thank you for discussing this difficult but important lesson, lorna.

  16. Heather says:

    I couldn’t agree more on all fronts and can more than relate to you about the husband anger and especially the mother anger. I have realized how much my physical issues (chronic back issues) are connected to holding onto anger. Glad to know there are others out there who can relate!

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