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How anger can hurt your relationships

Updated on October 31, 2008

How anger can hurt your relationships

I remember a few years back, I was good friends with this young woman that was hung up on her ex. She would complain about how he was making her life miserable and after a long period of time he became the main topic of our conversations. We were no longer talking about our friendship and the typical day to day things in our lives, we were talking about him, and how she was angry with him. Needless to say, after listening to her rants and raves for months, I finally pulled her aside and told her I couldn’t take anymore of it. I was tired of talking about a guy that left her almost two years ago. Her life had revolved around this man. She was focusing more on how she hated him, rather than her own fulfillment.

Then, out of nowhere, I was in her same situation. After being with the same man, for almost three years, he suddenly decided to end the relationship. I, of course, cried, and wallowed in grief. However, as time passed, my heartache turned into anger. Maybe it was the fact I over analyzed our break-up. I would call my friends and complain about how my ex was a jerk, how he broke my heart into a million pieces, how he damaged me. My friends listened and offered their support, but they noticed how I was changing. I was no longer the woman with the positive outlook on life. I was the woman that allowed anger to conquer her identity.

Buddha said it best when he said “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” We, as women, tend to go through the same progression. We meet someone, we fall deeply in love, and if by chance, we are dumped, we sometimes allow our heartache to manifest into someone dark and resentful. We decide to use anger as a defense mechanism, because it’s a sense of fear that our past could repeat itself. So we use our anger as a shield for our hearts, not allowing anyone to enter. However, we tend to forget that anger is also a powerful repellent, and it can often overshadow our undeniable attributes. We could be drop dead gorgeous, success, and have a winning personality, but those things can be overlooked because we’ve become the angry male bashing female that men tend to run away from. In order to move forward in life and in love, you have to find a way to deal with your anger, or it can hinder your happiness. For every minute of antagonism, you lose sixty seconds of bliss.

Initially, it’s not fair for the new love of your life to be punished for what happened in the past. It’s not fair to compare this person to your ex. You don’t want to be compared to someone you’ve never even met. You want this person to concentrate and appreciate who you are as a person, and what you have to offer. So it’s only fair to do the same. Look at who you’ve with now. See what they can bring to the relationship. Do not start a new relationship with a chip on your shoulder. One, it’s not attractive, and two, relationships and life is about karma. What comes around, goes around. If you reflect anger and resentment, you may attract a person that may feel the same way you do, but also may get bored with listening to the same tired stories about how your heart has been broken.

Also, do not let your anger blind you. Anger is a complex emotion, and it has a tendency to blur our vision. Anger can consume our feelings, and make us ignore something wonder over the horizon. Anger is the number one killer of optimism. We have to somehow open our eyes and allow ourselves to see something wonderful that could be standing right in front of us. It’s only fair to enter a new relationship with an open mind as well as an open heart. I’m not advising you to bottle up your anger, but there are ways to express your anger without ranting and raving about how men are horrible. It’s okay to get angry, but at some point you have to let it go. Sure, it’s okay to share your feelings with your friends and family. That’s what they are for, to offer emotional support. Yet, it is not okay to hide behind anger and make it your identity. What happened in your past does make you who you are, but the purpose of the past is to make you a stronger person.

Anger is an emotion that’s hard to control, but there are ways to make the process easier. One trick is writing in a journal. I find writing to not only be therapeutic, but it’s an easy escape. When I was a teenager, I suffered from a severe case of depression, but then in my sophomore year, I had a breakthrough, and began to keep a journal. I wrote down anything that expressed how I was feeling, whether it was a poem, or a song. Having a journal is one of the most curative ways to let go of angry feelings. You can write down exactly how you feel, and not worry about being interrupted or judged.

Another trick is exercising. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s good for your mind and spirit. It takes as little as thirty minutes a day. You can allot a small portion of your day to go for a relaxing walk or a heart pounding run and you will be surprised that as you’re exercising, you’re no longer concentrating on your anger feelings. Despite the fact that you may be sore after your work out, you will better about yourself, and a weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

The fact is that the longer you hold onto to anger, the longer it changes who you are as a person. Although it’s though to let go of the hurtful things of the past, you have to remember to live in the present. Do not let your past hinder your future.

Quotes about Anger

James Thurber: Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

John Dryden: The intoxication of anger, like that of the grape, shows us to others, but hides us from ourselves.

Walter Savage Landor: Heat and animosity, contest and conflict, may sharpen the wits, although they rarely do; they never strengthen the understanding, clear the perspicacity, guide the judgment, or improve the heart. 

Buddha: Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.

Leo Buscaglia: Don't hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love


Submit a Comment

  • triosol profile image

    triosol 7 years ago

    Great Article. Voted up.

  • profile image

    Acadia 7 years ago


    I really liked your article. It has been 9 years and I cannot still forgive my husband for some things that happened when we got married. It has been 9 years of unhappiness. It's a miserable state of being - kind of like stuck in a rut...not moving forward. I get so angry thinking about the past. I know Buddha is so right, but it is very hard. Thanks for your article.

  • Denise K Zimmerma profile image

    Denise K Zimmerma 7 years ago from Illinois

    I like what you wrote, it brings back bad memories but you know I did move on at least I think I did. I do think of my boyfriend now and then. Like they say you can change the past but you can change your future.

  • profile image

    spax121 7 years ago

    anger is like taking poison and believing that it will harm the one who has offended you

  • profile image

    reeltaulk 8 years ago

    Yes...anger does destroy!!!!! It is very destructive in more ways than one. Speaking with friends are a great way to vent, but you must also take constructive criticism from individuals you trust! You can't just selfishly burden a friend with your grief and then expect things to miraculous change or go away. Sharing also heals and allows you to get rid of what you are holding onto, especially if you know longer want to have it be a thorn in your side. A lot of people remain angry because they do not face that which has made them that way, instead everyone that enters their life must feel the wrath from the experience of fools that have already exited!

  • Mekenzie profile image

    Susan Ream 8 years ago from Michigan

    Great Insight, good tips with some meaninful quotes. I'm glad you have been able to let go of your anger and move on. I wrote an article on forgiveness... which I believe is also a key element to moving on.

  • bellawritter23 profile image

    Erica Sanchez 8 years ago from California

    AS I read this..... it saddens me because I am there and have been there for nine years and the ironic thing about it is that it is the truth we become anger centered were we allow this ugly emotion to dictate our lives...