How To Calm Your Inner Angry Woman
By: Corrina Horne
Updated November 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Women’s anger is often either a source of derision or patronization. While men are often encouraged or at least supported in feeling and expressing anger, women when angry are often stereotyped as being ungrateful, bothersome, or unpleasant to be around or looking cute. This can often create a vicious cycle in women, wherein anger is felt but suppressed to continue to appear feminine or sedate, leading to more anger and resentment. Without a healthy way to calm, express, and utilize one’s anger, women can fall into this trap quickly and easily. As a result, they can experience anxiety, fear, and frustration.
The Mechanism Anger
Anger is a basic emotion that presents in both women and men. Although men are typically associated with anger far more than women, this is not necessarily a biological compulsion. Instead, some psychologists have argued that anger is more readily supported in boys and men by society, while girls and women who express anger are derided and shoved aside. This conditioning begins in childhood, as little girls are encouraged to be quiet, accepting, and meek, while little boys are encouraged to utilize aggression and physical altercations to express themselves. Neither of these is healthy. And it is perhaps not as common for men to recognize a problem with feeling and expressing anger. Instead, it is usually women who recognize something is off with their relationship to anger, even though they might not know exactly what to do with it.
Despite this, anger has a purpose. Anger can encourage people to take action. For example, someone decides to donate to an animal shelter following the indignation felt after watching an ad about animal abuse. Anger can also reveal unhealed trauma and unresolved childhood issues. For example, a person feels irrational anger upon hearing parents praise their children for their accomplishments. The person might feel this anger because when they were a child, they weren’t encouraged by their own parents. Anger is a powerful tool and can provide immense insight into your own pain and needs.
When anger is felt, there are many reactions women and men can engage in. The healthiest reaction is being assertive. Assertion allows you to fight for yourself (or others) in a way that is not only respectful of the person(s) with whom you are upset but also respectful of you and your individual needs. Asserting your position, whether it be one of indignation, fear, or concern, allows you to embrace your anger in a useful, productive way.
Anger, Women, And Expectations
Women are expected to be the nurturers, the gentle ones, or the peacemakers. Women are not usually praised or encouraged for their ability to incite change or lead. They are instead seen as homemakers and in some ways “less” than their male counterparts. Anger comes into this equation often as anger is seen as a masculine trait and one that is abhorrent in women. Men’s anger is allowed to promote vast change and inspire fear. Conversely, a woman’s anger is typically sneered at and chided as being unnecessary, excessive, or unreasonable, or even dismissed as cute.
Much of these issues are derived from societal conditioning of both men and women. Rather than men leading a charge against women’s anger, women themselves often feel uncomfortable, masculine, or at odds when they feel anger, let alone express it. Given that this is the case, calming your inner angry woman requires far more than a few bubble baths and a glass of wine, despite what many “self-care” tips would have you believe.
Learning To Embrace Anger
The first step in calming your inner angry woman is learning to embrace your anger. When anger is suppressed, ignored, or turned away, resentment festers and gives birth to additional bouts of anger, which are then repressed. This cycle continues until fury becomes a way of life. Women who have fallen into this cycle often find themselves growing judgmental, hard, and closed off, as an entire aspect of their emotional lives are turned off and shoved off to the side.
Anger is here to stay. No matter how serene you might cultivate your surroundings or friendships to be or how hard you might work to make sure your entire life moves forward smoothly, you cannot pretend that anger doesn’t exist. Learning to embrace anger as a friend and colleague can prove extremely useful in developing strong and healthy ties to your fury with an increased ability to use your frustration effectively.
Learning to embrace anger means not suppressing or ignoring it. It means allowing your body to feel the spike of adrenaline that anger causes and allowing the adrenaline to wash over you. Blushing, stammering, shaking, sweating, and dizziness can accompany anger. It can be caused by injustice, frustration, powerlessness, and any number of slights, real or imagined. Part of embracing your anger means leaning into the anger and determining what it was that made you angry in the first place and then tracing your emotions from there. Doing so will allow you to develop a healthier relationship with yourself and a healthier relationship with your anger.
Healthy Expressions Of Anger
A healthy expression of anger involves recognizing your anger, identifying its cause, and allowing yourself to speak or behave in a way that acknowledges and honors your feelings. How you express your anger will rely on its source and your relationship to it.
For instance, feeling anger toward a stranger or at an inanimate object will create a different type of anger than if a close friend or loved one is the source of it. For a stranger or object, you might first recognize your anger, identify its cause, and proceed to talk yourself down, identifying whether or not the situation requires you to speak up. When you have ample control and comfort, you can speak out to express your anger, or you can help yourself rationalize your experience and move forward.
Feeling anger in a contentious situation or with someone you are close to, either via emotion or proximity, can be more difficult as anger may be more likely to be extreme and may be more difficult to control. In these situations, one of the best ways to handle and direct your anger may be to step aside for a moment to breathe and reflect. Taking a deep breath can help alleviate the physical symptoms of anger while taking a moment to reflect. This can help you determine what exactly needs to be said and how you should say it for maximum effect.
A Woman: Anger, Healing, And Change
Despite countless societal objections, it is enormously important to change the conversation surrounding women and anger. Suppressing anger is not merely a vicious cycle. It can negatively impact your health, leading to anxiety and increased stress levels, which have the potential to cause actual physical and emotional distress. Learning to manage and direct anger in a healthy way can improve your health and communication and could be a catalyst for lasting change in your own life and the lives of people around you.
Rather than stuffing your anger and taking it out later on the tennis court or on a treadmill or having it come out sideways through bitterness and belittlement, talk to a therapist. An in-person or online therapist can teach you useful tools in unlearning unhealthy habits and patterns regarding anger while also teaching you how to develop healthy ones. You’ll also explore in a safe space how your gender and gender roles in general (historically and currently) relate to the “problem” of anger and how it is received based upon one’s gender.
If finding time to travel to a therapist’s office prevents you from addressing your anger, consider online therapy. Online therapy is a growing trend and has been found to be effective. A study has shown that online therapy can feel more personal than traditional therapy. Ninety-six percent of people using online therapy reported feeling a personal connection with their online therapists as opposed to 91 percent who saw face-to-face therapists. They were also more invested in completing homework the therapists assigned them and occasionally reviewed correspondence between them and their therapists, leading them to move forward with their lives.
BetterHelp’s online therapists and counselors can provide useful strategies for expressing anger unique to your personality and needs. Anger can spark fear in women when they feel it, but it need not be a source of stress or concern. Anger is neither inherently masculine nor feminine and can (and should) be embraced, expressed, and used in healthy ways by all genders. You can meet with your online therapist or counselor from anywhere you have an internet connection and at a time that fits into your schedule. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
“Kerline is so warm and kind, and a wonderful listener! She created a safe and open space where I could talk freely and without fear of judgement. Her weekly calls and exercises have given me the tools I need to cope with stress, anxiety, relationship issues and anger. The entire CBT process was very healing and I’m so grateful she led me through it. Her insights, knowledge and caring nature were so valuable, and I’d recommend her to anyone.”
“Working with Contrina is so helpful and she has been so understanding. I’m so glad I turned to her to help me with a problem that has been years in the making. She offers me the outside perspective I need to break out of a cycle of hurt and anger that is affecting me deeply. She is wise, authentic, relatable and unfailingly kind. She has challenged me and pushed my thinking. I’m grateful to work with her in such a unique and convenient way.”
Calming The Inner Angry Woman
Calming your inner angry woman is a multi-step process, made more complicated by countless years of conditioning. The first step in this process is simply accepting yourself. Accept that you will feel anger, that it might occasionally get the best of you, and that it’s okay if it does. Simply stifling your anger will make it far worse. Taking deep, even breaths can help in this process as it can center both your mind and your body and allow you to more accurately identify what you are angry about or who you are angry with.
Once you’ve taken a deep breath, take a moment to ask yourself why you are angry. Do you feel threatened or powerless? Are you overwhelmed by all of the responsibility placed on your shoulders? Did someone insult, disregard, or mock you? All of these and more are perfectly reasonable reasons to feel anger and should not be pushed aside as being stupid or dramatic. Instead, you should find the source of your anger and determine if it is worth the trouble to speak to the person or deal with the thing responsible.
Performing routine “anger maintenance” can prove helpful as well. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and daily meditation can all improve anger and stress responses, which may allow you to recognize, channel more effectively, and utilize your anger. Although angry women have long been reviled or considered cute, your inner angry woman deserves to enjoy a calm, safe environment wherein anger is regarded as a tool, rather than an unwelcome guest.
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