Writing angry letter therapy
7 Steps to Writing an Angry Letter and Moving on ...7 Steps to Writing an Angry Letter and Moving on ...
Writing an angry letter is an emotionally healthy choice you can make to deal with anger that you are holding inside. Many times, you have anger at someone over a relationship that has happened over a period of time that left you with a lot of emotional wounds. Writing an angry letter can help you to process and release those feelings, and no one but you will ever know what the letter contained. It can make you feel so much better inside.
1 Decide to Write One
The first step of writing an angry letter is deciding to really write one. This can actually be a hard step because it means that you are admitting you are very angry with someone and that you have been deeply hurt. You are being brave enough to face that feeling and give it voice rather than stuffing it down inside. You are taking the time to deal with your anger rather than ignore it and repress it where it can rise up and hurt you later. This is a very healthy decision for you emotionally.
2 Write It Unedited and Untimed
When you sit down to write an angry letter, you need to allow yourself to write it unedited. Just say whatever you have to say to the person and say all of it. Remember, they will never see this letter. It is for your eyes only. This helps you to feel freer to be real in your feelings and let it all out. Write as long as you need to and as much as you need to in order to get out all of your feelings.
3 Put It Away for a Few Days
This step is important. It can be tempting to skip it but if you do, you are not going to get all from this process that you should. After you finish writing your angry letter unedited and untimed, put it away somewhere for a few days. Choose a private location where only you will know where it is. During this time it is put away, your mind has more time to process your feelings, reorganize and rethink things.
4 Reread It and Add More
After your angry letter has been put away a few days and you have had time to think and process it in your mind, pull it back out. Reread it and add in more where you need to. You may find that you have more to say than you originally thought you did on a subject. Allow yourself the freedom and space to do that. It is important to hold nothing back.
5 Read It out Loud as if That Person Were There
This next step may make you feel silly but that is okay. It is important and very freeing. Find a time when you are home alone or by yourself. Take out your angry letter and read it out loud. Pretend that the person you are angry at is there and listening. This sounds silly but I promise you, it can really help you to feel like you are releasing your anger.
6 Rip It up
When you are done reading your anger letter, you will more than likely feel as if a lot anger has drained away. You will probably feel a huge feeling of release from allowing that anger to come out instead of being pushed down inside. You may feel some traces of anger left behind and that is okay. As you rip up your letter, imagine you are ripping up those last, lingering remains of anger. When you throw the pieces away, pretend you are throwing away all the hurt and anger you have carried for so long in your heart.
7 Move on and Enjoy the Release
Everyone I have ever known who has written an angry letter has said that it helped them tremendously. I have written a couple of angry letters in my own life and they really helped me. You can write them toward many different people, basically whoever has hurt you or left you deeply wounded that you need to work out your anger over. It is a very healthy way to release your anger. Most of all, it allows you to move past your anger and enjoy the release of all of those negative feelings.
Writing an angry letter is a very mature, emotionally healthy step you can take to release your anger. Have you ever written one? If not, does this seem as if it would be something that would help you deal with a difficult relationship you have had in your life?
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Seven ways the ‘unsent letter’ can channel your anger
Write down your angry thoughts (but don’t send them) to help process your feelings (pic courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/anankkml)
Full of rage at someone but not sure you can tell them? Feeling hurt and let down by a partner but fearful of telling them straight? Wish you could tell a parent exactly how they made you feel? I frequently recommend the ‘unsent letter’ as a way of expressing your feelings about or towards someone who’s made you mad, bad or sad.
The unsent letter is a form of writing therapy that encourages you to address a letter to someone you don’t feel you can talk directly to – perhaps a former lover, a friend you’ve fallen out with, or perhaps someone who has died. It’s a way of putting into words a deeply held thought or feeling that has somehow been damaging you in some way, or holding you back. The idea is that you write about your feelings openly – so they’re ‘out there’ – but you don’t have to send the letter. The point is to articulate and process your feelings rather then openly hurt someone else by sending the letter.
So you can rage about a vexatious issue connected to a significant person in your life, and it’s you who ends up feeling better. The unsent letter can be written by hand, or typed as an email – whichever you prefer. Just don’t press send!
Here are seven ways the unsent letter can help to channel your anger…
- You may find that during the course of bashing out words on the screen, or scribbling frantically on the page, your anger may gradually lose its momentum and subside into something more meditative, thoughtful and creative.
- The very act of finding the right words to express feelings can become a journey in itself. Crafting phrases, shaping thoughts, and giving them rhythm helped give a constructive voice to a destructive energy.
- Like dancing while no-one’s watching, and singing while no-one’s listening, writing that unsent letter allows you to express barely and brutally how are feeling – with no fear that someone will creep up behind you and admonish you for having those thoughts in the first place. There is no shame and no anxiety, and no need to hide.
- Letting your demons come out of the shadows, and seeing them in the brightest of lights on the page, can make them look much less scary and sinister.
- By writing without censoring you can spot when I call ‘victim vocabulary’. In other words, the ‘should, must, ought, had to’ kind of language. It can help to rephrase your thoughts with I rather than you – to say ‘I feel hurt’ when you do that, instead of saying ‘you hurt me’.
- It can bring to consciousness a realisation that you may also be complicit in the fractious dynamic that has been created. Maybe you aren’t completely the innocent, wounded party after all. Not easy to admit, but writing it all out can help you become much more objective about your role in the disagreement.
- The unsent letter can be a process of recognising the feeling, naming it, owning it – and then letting it go.Instead of holding onto the hurt or rage, and letting it distil into resentment, the feeling can lose its power and its meaning can become less significant. The page or screen now holds your anger so you don’t have to.
So, you may have to press ‘save’ on the email, but you don’t need to press ‘save’ on your anger.
How does "writing therapy" help us heal wounds?
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What is "writing therapy"? How does it affect us? Is it really possible to deepen your understanding of your past and get rid of mental pain by writing a story about a traumatic experience? And how to use the method of expressive writing so that it really helps, and does not aggravate our situation?
The stress of a breakup, divorce, or even a fight can break your heart and pull the rug out from under you. In addition, separation from a loved one can be a serious blow to your health.
Studies have shown that divorce, for example, can cause not only a number of psychological problems - the appearance of feelings of loneliness, feeling unhappy and a state of general dissatisfaction with life - but also health problems. Breakups make us more prone to illness, contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, and even lead to an increased risk of death.
But maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Aside from seeing a therapist, exercising, and being able to treat yourself to good food and rest, what else can you do to “patch a wounded heart”?
Maybe you should write about it? A new study says that talking about your relationship and its sad ending can help you overcome heartache. But there is one catch: only one way of writing can help.
See also: What is your story? The Psychological Power of Narrative
Expressive writing and health
A study by researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona looked at how so-called "narrative expressive writing" affects heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure in people who have recently broken up.
Expressive writing is a therapeutic practice in which the patient is asked to write down their "deepest thoughts and feelings" about the events that traumatized him. The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that by uncovering their emotions, a person can better cognitively adapt to what happened and understand the "meaning" of things.
A visitor to the 9/11 temporary memorial at the crash site of Flight 93 writes a message to the dead passengers and crew. Photo: Archie Carpenter/Getty Images
Expressive writing has been shown in a study to improve physical health: it strengthens our immune system, lowers blood pressure and normalizes our heart rate.
But when it comes to breaking up, is such help effective? Some studies answer unequivocally: "no". Such a letter not only does not help, but can even worsen the situation, because by thinking too much about what went wrong, you can only make the situation worse .
Meanwhile, a new study by Kyle Bourassa and his team at the University of Arizona added a key element: narrative . Simply writing down your thoughts and feelings about traumatic events, such as a divorce or breakup, won't help you much, but writing it down as a narrative is another matter entirely.
How do different types of writing affect your heart?
Kyle Bourassa and colleagues conducted a study with 109 recently separated couples, dividing them into three groups: one group completed the "traditional expressive writing" task, the other the "narrative expressive writing" task, and the control group wrote in a neutral style.
As instructed, participants spent 20 minutes each day writing for three days.
Those in the first group had 20 minutes to describe their strongest and deepest feelings about separation.
Those in the "narrative expression" group were also asked to express their strongest emotions, but were additionally asked to come up with a plot twist for their breakup. On the first day, they described the end of their relationship, on the second day, the narration dealt directly with the breakup itself, and, finally, on the third day, it was necessary to put an end to this “breakup story”.
Some of the questions they received were: “Please think about how you and your partner met” and “When did you first realize that your relationship with your partner was leading to divorce? What was this period like? The written tasks that the participants completed had a clear, specific goal: to write a story about a breakup using sequential narration .
Related: How to keep passion, or the paradox of intimacy and desire
Finally, those in the last group were asked "consistently and unemotionally" to describe for 20 minutes how they usually spent time with their partner.
Participants were assessed physiologically three times over a period of seven and a half months. The researchers measured heart rate, heart rate variability and blood pressure.
If you are in pain, express your feelings through a story
It turns out that narrative expressive writing does wonders for health. The study found that those who did this activity had much lower heart rates than the latter group.
In addition, participants in the narrative expressive writing group had the highest heart rate variability of (time interval between heartbeats). Heart rate variability is a good indicator of the body's ability to adapt to the environment and its stressors, and high variability is an indicator of good health, as is a low heart rate.
In contrast, those who completed the traditional expressive writing task had almost the same heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rate variability as those in the last neutral group.
Why is narration so soothing to the heart? Study lead author Kyle Bourassa offers the following explanation:
"The ability to create a story in a structured way - not just relive your emotions, but rethink them - helps to better psychologically adapt to these feelings. Clear instructions on how to build a narrative can be a bit of an aid to those who find themselves in this difficult situation. This method will help people become more aware of their experiences, which will allow them to move on with rather than getting stuck and reliving the same negative emotions over and over again.”
Source: "Can You Fix a Broken Heart by Writing about It?" / BigThink.
Cover: Saint Jerome Writing, Caravaggio, 1607
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Emotional Assistance - Psychological Assistance
The best is best.
The word blinds and deceives, because it is accompanied by facial expressions,
because you see how it leaves the lips, because the lips are pleasant,
and the eyes seduce.
But black words on white paper are the soul wide open.
Guy de Maupassant
Life's difficulties are an unpleasant thing, and it can be incredibly difficult to survive them. Few people manage to avoid tears, scandals, betrayals, insults, banal melancholy and other “charms” of life on the path of life. But in order to continue to live peacefully and happily, it is necessary to stop this. One technique that can help is the emotional writing technique.
You will probably ask yourself a fair question: “Who is the addressee?”. And there can be many recipients, it all depends on the situation that led to the writing of the letter.
Letter to the offender
In this letter, the victim must shed all negativity. On the territory of the letter, a person has the opportunity to express his anger towards his offender, he must, as often as possible, use the expressions: "how could you ...", "how dare you ...". These expressions will help in releasing your own explosive rage.
Letter to a parent
As the great Antoine de Saint-Exupery said: “We all come from childhood!”. And, of course, our childhood experience simply cannot but affect our adult life. And our parents instill this experience in us. And our parents (whether we like it or not) are one of the main authors of our lives. And, it is from the anomalies of parental love that we strive to heal all our lives.
This is where the letter comes in. It is in the letter that there is an opportunity to express all your discontent, anger, reproaches to your parent. And here you may ask: “Why not express your grievances in person?”. Everything is simple. How much, sometimes, it takes time to understand them, forgive them and, ultimately, come to the conclusion that there was nothing to forgive. They did what they could. They kept it as best they could. They loved as much as they could. And before you reproach your parent in person, ask yourself: “Is it worth it?”.
A letter to myself
This letter can be the hardest to write, but it can also be easy. This letter starts the process of penetrating deep into oneself, providing a deeper understanding of oneself. Here you can support yourself, help yourself, bestow love, and possibly re-educate, pointing out the mistakes made. It is in these letters that people experience so-called insights, sudden guesses, insights.
Emotional writing technique
First, a brief digression into history. The author of the emotional writing method, James Pennebaker, is now a professor emeritus at the University of Texas, came to him back in the 70s, when he fell into depression after a divorce.
As he writes himself, he began to eat less, drink more, and more and more he wanted to isolate himself from everyone.
A month later he crawled out of bed and sat down at the typewriter. He looked at her for a minute, and then he began to write—freely and non-stop—about himself, about his marriage, about his parents, about his sexuality and his career. Even about his own death.
For several days he got up every morning and continued to write. Then something strange began to happen.
He felt that he was becoming free, it was easier for him. And suddenly he realized how much he loves his wife. But, strangest of all, for the first time he saw clearly the purpose and possibilities in his own life.
So let's get started!
You need at least 20 minutes of free time. At this time, no one should pull and disturb you. Devote this time exclusively to yourself and this technique.
Have some blank sheets of paper and a pencil ready. It is best to write with a pencil, the sound of a lead on paper will help you quickly reach a state of rest and even a semi-trance, thereby looking even deeper into your subconscious.
Focus on your feelings and who is "guilty" about them. On the person with whom they are associated. Dive into it.
Now start writing. Contact this person and write everything you want to tell him right now. The main task is to express your feelings. The less censorship and control there is in your letter, the better. Mat, ultimatums, accusations, angry reproaches, insults are allowed and encouraged. Anything you want to say right now, even if you don't normally say anything like that in real life. Remember that this is not just a letter, but a psychological technique. The more open you are, the better it will work.
Phrases like “you should have” or “I demand that”, “you owe me”, “I hate you” and so on are welcome.
Focus your attention on how you treat the person. Don't go into lengthy "how" or "what" thinking. For example, if the reason for writing a letter is a conflict with superiors, you should not argue that "there are always two participants in the conflict and, perhaps, I am also somewhere wrong and blah blah blah." Write like this: "The boss is a bastard, did not appreciate my abilities, because he is a tyrant and a fool, etc., etc."
It is important to address a letter to a person.