The Day I Stopped Living Angry

I walked out on the deck.  The sun was shining.  It was later in the afternoon.  But the day was still bright.  The day was mine.  Finally.

In more ways than one.

A long time ago I was married to someone else.   Not a bad man.  But an angry man.   Anger was a foundation of our relationship.   I used to plead and beg for discussion.  Let’s resolve whatever it is you’re angry about.   Let’s resolve whatever it is I’m angry about.   It never ever got resolved.

Days would go by with not a word spoken between us.

Eventually the anger would dissipate.

Or just go somewhere else for awhile.

One day I came home from work.  Anger was sitting in the house.  Just kind of simmering.  Nothing was said.  No actions taken.

I looked outside.  The day was beautifully warm and sunny.  I turned from the window and realized how dark it seemed in the house.  Though the sun did shine in through the windows…there was no way it could penetrate the anger that settled it’s self in the recliner.  Unwilling or unable to express it’s self.

I looked out again.  Sun.  Shining.

Turned back to the darkness.

Stark contrast.  That only I seemed able to see.   Feel.

I said to the anger….”that’s it.   I refuse to live angry every day of my life.  I’m angry because you’re angry.  You’re angry because I’m angry.  I tell you I’m angry and it’s cause for you to be angry.  I know we can’t help but get angry.  And that’s okay.   But when I’m angry, you know what I’m going to do?  I’m going to tell you I’m angry, and then I am done.  Done.  Done.  I’m done being angry.  If I don’t agree with you I’m not telling you you’re wrong.  I’m telling you I see things differently.  And we need to talk about it.  If you don’t agree with me you don’t have to be mad, but you can tell me you don’t agree.  I never know why you are angry or what you are angry about.  Then when you get angry again, it’s all just piled one thing on top of another.    I know I’m going to get angry.  And that is okay.  I know you’re going to get angry.  And that’s okay.   But we have to be angry, explain it, and let it go.   I refuse to live my life angry anymore.”

He said….nothing.

I kissed him on the cheek.  I told him that was all I had to say.   He still said nothing.   The anger still sat there.  With him.  Consuming him.  I walked out the door.  I stood on the porch.  I breathed.

I owned and own my own anger.  It’s my responsibility.

I still get angry.  I get angry super fast.   But I let it go once I can express it.  Now, I get sad if I can’t express it.  Because if I can’t express it I can’t get rid of it.  Generally, for me to get rid of anger, I just need to express it.  Say it.  Cuss it.

Anger is an expression. It’s a feeling.

It should never be a state of existence.

That day, when I learned I did not have to live angry, I learned how to live free.

41 thoughts on “The Day I Stopped Living Angry

  1. As you told me recently Colleen, getting angry “is quite liberating”. It’s a virus that multiplies until it takes over and you are spot on, letting it out as the only ‘antibiotic’.

    Not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of self-control.

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    • Exactly Steven. Being angry, admitting it and dealing with it is the only way. I felt so bad that he couldn’t liberate himself of this anger. I like your comparison to virus and antibiotic. 🙂

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  2. The ‘before’ part of your post, before the realization was my life at one time, as was the second. However, without constructive effort on the other’s part, I realized the only way to move forward, for me, meant moving forward alone.

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  3. I’ve lived with much anger. I grew up in a house with much anger. Anger is like poison, toxic. I believe we get addicted to anger. Anger is an energy like you mentioned and when we feed anger or push anger away without feeling, the anger doesn’t go away, it only gets stronger and wants to be fed (a vicious cycle). Each time I feel anger, I can check within myself, ask myself what am I feeling besides anger (more than likely there are other feelings) and what am I thinking. A thought always comes before a feeling. The thought and belief is the cause of the feeling. I can begin to tell myself something different and have a different feeling. This isn’t always easy, although the process works. 🙂 The more you do the process, emotional healing can take place.

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    • Feeling Joy, I remember the first time I heard of such crazy talk…! 🙂 A thought comes before a feeling? No way! Feelings are uncontrollable, feelings are separate than thoughts….. What did I know. What a difference in life when you realize the control you can maintain in your own head. You’re so right. And you are so right it isn’t always easy. Thinking for one’s self and realizing anger is not an ‘existence’ made huge changes in my life. Thank you! Healing did certainly start in my life that day.

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  4. I can actually “feel” your feeling of anger. I’ve been there plenty o’time! Now I need to do like you …. So many times I’ve said to myself …. LET IT GO!! Easier said than done!! Thanks for sharing!!

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    • Dr. Rex, FeelingJoy said it well in her comment above. What a great process when we learn to let it go. I know it isn’t always easy. But possible! Thank you for your feedback and share! 🙂

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  5. I try to work my anger through my music. Especially when it is really aggressive and uncontrollable. Unfortunately I do not have the gift for lyrics, which is a bit harder when I want to emphasize what I am thinking/feeling into words.

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    • Angry music, I bet we hear more of that than we know. How many musicians went to their music to play the anger out of their heads/hearts? Maybe some day, as your listening to the music you made when you were angry, the words will come in a different form. And maybe the words won’t even be angry, but go great with the once angry music???

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  6. Its so important to see our patterns so we can break free. Congrats on living life in a different way, one that is more genuine and I suspect better reflects your life values and purpose.

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    • Thank you BornByARiver. I think I am closer to my values and purpose. But always feel like I need to do a little more to be totally immersed in them. I agree about seeing our patterns, and for so long I didn’t have a clue. It’s amazing what changes we can make when we fully face who we are and take responsibility for ourselves. 🙂

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  7. Love this, Colleen.
    You know, it’s a pure and simple fact that we can decide in an instant to change our path, our way, our perspective, what we hold and what we let go. LOVE this.
    (I never picked you for an angry person!) 🙂

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    • Yes we can, can’t we? Make that choice?

      I don’t know that I was an angry person, exactly. I think I lived within an angry “place” for a time. Kind of like, fighting fire with fire. I “became” angry trying to deal with the anger. And that did not help at all. I knew it wasn’t a comfortable existence for me. And I couldn’t keep it up.

      Thank you for knowing that about me. 😉

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  8. You’re so right about anger being our own responsibility. One thing that helps me is to remember how much I don’t like being around an angry person! I have many faults and bad habits, but I don’t think I hold onto anger. At least not consciously. I know too many people who nurse it and keep it “right there” all the time and they are miserable. Your personal story is wonderful. We can all learn from each other. ox

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    • Thank you Three Well Beings. I agree with what you said. I don’t like to be around anger either, so I hope to go back to that moment on that day, and bring forward my unwillingness to live in anger any longer. I don’t like that at all. I think I wrote this as a reminder to myself. I’m glad it meant something to others.

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  9. I had to go back to an older post, before I ‘knew’ or read you, Colleen! This is an excellent one, expressing what I felt in so many ways with my last husband. It was dark in our home, the light was outside, waiting for my escape. Without a house, without a real ‘place’ in my neighborhood, I still felt free! It took me much too long to get out, of what I knew that many would have ‘considered a perfect marriage’ with a ‘great Christian man.’ My pastor and my counselor helped me, after a year of trying… (13 years of marriage, no kids born of it, but 6 kids combined involved. They were grown, took it well, most ‘sided’ including 2 of his 3 kids, with me!) Hugs for this post!

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    • I so understand what you’re saying Robin. It’s an unpleasant situation no matter what. The house being dark….the light was outside…..oh how I remember that feeling!

      I’m sorry we can connect over it. But I’m so happy that we can say we are both past it. 🙂 Hugs returned!

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