Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Why Anger Can Be Like as Teakettle

teakettleWhen the water in as teakettle boils, it whistles to let the steam out. When anger boils up in you, how does it get out? Often we hold anger inside, especially if we’re DoorMats and don’t want to start trouble. But it has to come out somewhere and often we blow up at someone who doesn’t deserve it, because they say or do one small annoying thing.

Years ago I had a friend who had a lot of anger about things her co-workers did. I encouraged he to address it but she was too scared. On day we were in a restaurant having lunch and I made an innocent comment that she didn’t like, and she exploded at me, screaming nasty things as other diners watched in horror. She was loud and mean. When she calmed down, she was almost in tears as she apologized, saying she didn’t know what had come over her. I was embarrassed and angry and suggested she begin to speak up at work. “OH no, I can’t do that,” was her reply.

I told her that anger needs an outlet. Suppressing it leads to exploding at someone who doesn’t deserve it when it reaches I boiling point, just like a teakettle. She scoffed it off. A few months later it happened again, also in a restaurant. I was happily enjoying my meal and she began screaming, “Why do you have such a bad attitude?” I was in a good mood before that and had done nothing to deserve that, except maybe lick my lips in enjoyment of my meal. Her accusations were completely irrational. Pent up anger can do that.

I had to let go of that friendship. I got tired of being a victim of her anger. If you’re the one someone takes target practice on to release anger, DO NOT tolerate it! Set a boundary or leave.

Venting at someone unfairly because you don’t want to express your feelings to the person who triggers your anger is unhealthy since you still haven’t resolved what makes you angry. That’s why it’s so important to speak up. You can do it nicely. It’s also good to have trusted people you can talk to about it and maybe get some good advice on how to address your situation. Then forgive yourself for any blame you put on yourself for it happening. Releasing anger is a loving gift you can give to yourself.
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