3 min read

What’s the role of anger in healing? 

What’s the role of anger in a healthy life? 

These are not rhetorical questions! I’m genuinely interested in exploring these questions because I don’t know all the answers. Shocking, I know! 😆

How do you see anger? What’s your experience of it? Have you learnt anything helpful about it? 

I’m not interested in theories or ‘the right answers’.  I can be pretty good at saying the right things to tick a box, pass a test or get approval. 

I could probably trot out some clever words from my head about this topic. But I don’t want to do that because that would be utterly pointless. 

And it’s completely useless when it comes to mental health and wellbeing which are about what we feel and know in our bodies in a visceral way rather than how well we grasp intellectual points. 

So, here’s the way it looks to me at the moment…

Anger can be a crucial tool to help get us unstuck from toxic beliefs and painful habits.

  • Anger about today’s ‘beauty’ standards helped me free myself from the shackles of conditioning about how I was told I should look.
  • Once anger had given me the energy to make changes, I didn’t need it for that purpose anymore.
  • I no longer feel angry most of the time about all the pressures on people to look a certain way. I’m simply focussed on trying to be a constructive voice for change now.
  • Anger can give us a lot of energy to make much needed changes in the world.

Anger has been essential for my health.

  • The truth is that I know that anger has been essential in my healing in ways that are beyond my cognitive comprehension. It has forced me to stand up for myself, especially in relationships with men. It has guided and protected me.
  • When I was unclear and confused about things in my head, my anger showed me the way.
  • Anger helps me realise when my boundaries have been violated and it helps me take appropriate action to take care of myself. Without it, I would endanger my life and sacrifice my needs.

There are negative consequences to ignoring anger.

  • When I tried to suppress it because I judged it as wrong, I used to binge eat or watch my weight obsessively. Although those habits were very painful, for a long time they felt safer than feeling angry.
  • When I ignored my anger, I felt frustrated and became depressed. My sense is that depression often arises when we don’t make room for anger. Because anger is commonly vilified, we often fail to acknowledge it out of shame.
  • I’ve also observed people who never get angry at unjust treatment, and they often seem frustrated and unfulfilled in their relationships. Their anger may fester and take the form of resentment, or being short and snappy with people who don’t deserve it.

Anger is like fire.

  • Fire can enable us to make food edible and keep us warm, but it can also get out of control and burn down our homes and injure or kill people. Anger is the same. It can be a force for positive change, but it can also cause hurt and damage.
  • I believe that when we don’t acknowledge our anger, we run the risk of unleashing it on innocent bystanders.
  • As a child, I often didn’t feel safe to express anger – I was afraid of a violent reprisal. Nowadays, when I’m reminded of situations like that, rage can act like a guard dog. And I need to be careful that it doesn’t end up indiscriminately attacking people who unintentionally press on old wounds.

Anger has an important role to play in our lives, but it must be handled with care.

  • I know a lot of people who think anger is wrong and makes people stupid. And it’s certainly true that we can all do things we regret if we act in haste when the red mist descends. The destructive potential of anger is huge.
  • But I think we pay a high price when we reject anger in its totality in our lives. It will come out in some way or other that isn’t always obvious. It’s better for everyone if we can feel it directly.
  • Anger needs to be acknowledged, listened to, respected and acted upon. I think it merits time, space and attention. It deserves to be honoured. Often alone – other people can sometimes distract us from what we need to feel and learn, especially if they’re afraid or judgemental of our anger.
  • We’re not meant to live in anger as a default. Anger arises to help us solve problems, keep us safe and make changes. It is part of the full range of emotions which exist to serve us in our lives.

Let's reduce the stigma around this human emotion.

So there you have it! I don’t have a good intellectual understanding of anger. My insights wouldn’t stand up in court! I haven't shared anything that hasn't been said before.  But I still feel it’s an important topic to address and discuss. 

We must each learn about this for ourselves experientially - there are no shortcuts.

If we reduce stigma about feeling this normal human emotion, I hope we can learn to use it more constructively and heed its wisdom for the common good. That’s what I’d like to do anyway! 


  • Anger is a healthy human emotion and can be very helpful to us on our healing journey.  
  • When we heed anger's message, it will flow through us once it's served its purpose.  
  • We are not meant to feel angry all the time.  If this is happening, there is a good chance we have not properly listened to what our anger is trying to tell us.
  • We ignore, repress or discount anger at our peril.
  • We all have to learn to navigate anger with maturity to avoid causing harm and acting in ways we regret.

And now it's over to you.  What's your take on anger?

What have you seen about anger for yourself in your life so far?

Let me know in the comment box below.  We can all learn from one another.

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If you'd like to explore how you can channel your anger in healthy ways, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.

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