-Updated January 2022
Going through a year and a half long divorce with a narcissist was infuriating. When people behave in ways you didn't think they ever would it's hard to know how to handle it. Some people turn to destructive behavior like drinking too much or lashing out, but I tried to find healthy ways to deal with the anger and feelings of helplessness.
When we are pushed to our limits, the only thing we are in control of is how we handle it.
4 healthy ways to blow off steam
1. Dance out the crazy
I love dancing, and I've always felt this need to move to good music. It can be sensual, it can be funny, and it can be graceful. What we're looking for here is crazy.
If you have the place to yourself, turn up the music as loud as you can without getting the neighbors to call the cops on you. If you have other people in the house, put on some headphones. You need the music to just pulse through you.
Choose songs with a fast beat; angry songs, party songs, whatever makes you get on your feet. Now just move. I don't care if it looks stupid, if you feel embarrassed because you think you can't dance. No one can see you. No one cares. Just move in whatever way the music makes you move. If it's just shaking your arms, or stomping your feet angrily to the beat -- that's awesome. You're doing great. Just let the pent-up energy you have within you get released in whatever way it needs to, and enjoy the peace that follows.
Photo by Larm Rmah
2. Punch something (not a person)
And I don't mean bruise your knuckles punching a wall -- put on some boxing gloves and go to town. I recommend any exercise, of course; there were so many mornings when I woke up to a horrible email from him and just threw on workout clothes and went for such a hard run that my dog laid exhausted for hours afterwards. But there's just something about punching that's very therapeutic, you know?
I have gloves and mitts from Sanabul, and they are awesome! Really comfortable and boy can you get some aggression out. I really recommend them. :)
If you're upset about a situation, punching and kicking makes you feel powerful and in control. Whatever is happening, it will leave you with an exhausted calm and hopefully some clarity about the big picture.
Photo by Diao Darius
3. Sing out your hurt
I don't know about you, but I sing. A lot. Only thing is that it does not sound all that good (sad face) so my favorite place to do it is in my car. I'm alone, no one can hear me, and I've got a pretty good sound system in there (as in, it can get really loud and mask my voice).
What I like to do if I'm upset (and driving) is to find some "me-against-the-world" song, turn it up LOUD, and sing on the verge of shouting. It's something freeing about just being obnoxiously loud.
Lyrics to relate to when you feel broken
Photo by Matthew Henry
4. Write it out of your system
This is definitely less physical than the other ones, but sometimes you need to get all of your thoughts out. Sometimes you're thinking things that you barely mean, but you are just so angry that you can't help thinking them.
I'm a big fan of journaling (I love the journals from Peter Pauper Press), but if you don't have one just grab whatever notebook or scrap paper you can find. You can write it as a letter to the person, or just write it to yourself as a diary entry. Write every single thing you're thinking; what happened, what they said, what you said, what you wish you had said, and what you would like to do or happen to the one responsible. Get all your anger and frustration out.
Sometimes I get things stuck in my head that just won't go away until I tell someone (good and bad). Not all things need to be heard, though, and that's where writing comes in. You can hide it or burn it afterwards, and no one will ever know. If you read it later, you will probably be grateful that you didn't show it to anyone.
I feel so much better after venting like that, and often I'm able to move past it. If not, at least I have gotten some distance and perspective and can handle it a lot better.
Photo by Tyler Nix
Channel your anger and do something with it
I really hope that these tips help you. It is horrible to feel furious and helpless, so focus on the things you can do, and take control of your anger and turn it into something productive. Perhaps by training for an obstacle race, or start lifting weights? I'm telling you, if you're feeling powerless, getting familiar with a squat rack is the best thing you do.
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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