The idea that venting anger helps is a myth

You may feel better after you’ve vented your anger but there’s little point –

  1. Venting does not diminish anger
  2. The feeling intensifies
  3. You create fresh damage to those you lash out at.

Why do we do it?

Anger is normal. But chronically angry people have a strong sense of entitlement about how the world should look and others should act. They are poor self-regulators who attribute discomfort they experience others. Poor self-regulation means they do not act in the long-term consistent with values.

Their bravado may appear as strength but it masks weak self-control. When things don’t go their way they lash out believing their anger is a justified reaction to an unfair world.

“If they hadn’t have done that, I wouldn’t be angry.” (They genuinely believe this.)

The surge of anger provides ‘a shot of adrenaline-driven energy’ that has amphetamine and analgesic effects, providing a sense of power that numbs pain. That sense of relief is called catharsis but it’s temporary.

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