Dealing with Anger About Your Past: 5 Ways to Channel Your Rage

You’ve been through a lot of scary, horrible situations - more than most people.  It’s in the past now, but it still feels so present.  Every time you take a shower, eat a meal, hear a certain song or smell that familiar, sickening smell, the memories are right there - alive and well in your life.  You’ve tried to get past them and move on.  You’ve tried talking about them and it hasn’t helped.  You’ve cried about it, cut your skin, cursed your perpetrators and done everything in your power to make it go away, but you’re angry.  They hurt you.  They took parts of your life from you and you can never get it back.  Here are some healthy ways you can channel your rage:

1.  Sweat it out:

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What we resist, persists.  If we continuously try to squash the anger and make it go away, it will continue to resurface.  Find ways to move the energy through you rather than trying to stuff it down.  Find a self-defense class - the physical activity and the techniques to learn to defend yourself as well can be empowering, even retroactively.  Bikram Yoga is a yang activity, as opposed to most other yin yoga.  The heat, the intensity, the discipline and repetitiveness along with the pain are quite cathartic.  Additionally, some of the poses are meant to help move emotions through, my favorite is the camel, heart opening pose - lots of emotions and no one will notice if you shed a few tears in the midst of all the sweat that happens.  Beat up a punching bag - you can imagine it’s your perpetrator or not, but either way, it’s a physical reflection of your internal state and it helps to externalize.  Other physical activities such as running, biking, swimming, etc are all excellent ways to boost your neurotransmitters AND the bi-lateral stimulation has a similar effect as EMDR.  Just be careful to make sure you stay in your body - if you dissociate while you engage in these activities you can injure your body, so feel your feet and stay present.

2.  Loud Music:

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Create an angry playlist or find a favorite angry song or two.  Listen while you drive, or walk or run.  Listen and write down the lyrics.  Create your own lyrics or your own song, change the lyrics in your favorite song to make it more relevant to your memories.  Find music that talks about resolve and peace.  Depending on your mood you might want to lean into the anger or you might be ready to cool it down.  Music is an excellent way to reflect feelings and feel connected to others’ who might have gone through some similar things.  Here are some excellent bands that write songs about anger: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Perfect Circle, Disturbed, Pierce the Veil, Bush, Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance, The Amity Affliction, I Prevail.

3.  Get Creative:

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Write a poem or a song, create some art, write a story about your trauma, then re-write it with the ending that empowers you - it’s transformative.  Write an angry letter to your perpetrator and/or another person involved in your trauma - perhaps someone who didn’t protect you.  Create a box to hold all your anger - as things come up, write them down or create something to represent it and put it in your box.  Even if you don’t think you’re good at art, do it anyway (you don’t have to show anyone), use magazine images, clay, paints or all of the above.  Get messy, rip up a phone book, find a safe space to burn things in.  

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4.  Get Verbal: Scream!  

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Take a drive, blast the music and scream loudly.  Go into the woods and scream.  Talk to a safe friend, find an online community who understands, find a good counselor to talk to.  Talk about it with your spiritual community.  Phone a hotline or attend a meeting or a group.  Contact me at if you need help finding any of these resources.

5. Center and Redirect:

If you imagine your rage as a fire hose, blasting towards unhealthy behaviors, you can learn to turn your hose towards something productive.  In order to do this, breathe deep into your belly, feel the fire of the rage, allow it to be there, then imagine you can channel this energy towards something else that benefits you.  Perhaps it’s helping others’ who’ve been through the same thing, maybe it’s writing a book on the subject or to building a support group.  Go inside and ask yourself - if a miracle happened to you and tomorrow you woke up in your own personal miracle, what would your life look like?  Where would you live? Who would be around you?  What would you do with your days?  Take that rage and channel it towards creating that life for yourself.

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You can let your trauma destroy your life, or you can use it to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.  Don’t let your perpetrators have any more of you.  Take back your power, your body and your life.  If you need help doing that, I’d be happy to help.  Call me at 610-314-8402 now for a free 15 minute phone consultation.