Welcome to “Love and Sex Today.” I’m Dr. Doug Weiss, and my sixth topic is going to be “Flush Away Your Toxic Anger.” This is going to be a great topic because throughout our lives, we have periods where we can get really angry about something, relationships, people, vocations, etc. There are a lot of things to be angry about, and we’re going to talk about how you can move through some of these really big chunks of anger you might have experienced. This is something you’re probably going to want to share with others, because how many of you know someone who is really angry, and they are angry all the time?
Now just go through your life for a minute. There can be anger from mom and dad. They might have neglected you. There might have been abuse. There might have been time where they weren’t available for you or weren’t there for you. Maybe they shamed you and told you that you couldn’t be anything, couldn’t make it. You would be legitimately angry. Sometimes in our culture we think anger is legitimate. A lot of times the anger that you carry is legitimate. It’s legitimate to have anger and hurt when neglect or abuse is the origin.
Let’s talk about some bigger things that could have happened to you. Maybe you were sexually abused. Maybe you were raped. Maybe there was some kind of sexual injury you experienced that would legitimately cause you to be angry. Again, it’s legitimate. Let’s talk about issues of the heart. You gave your heart as a young man or as a young woman to several partners who maybe weren’t the best choice, or maybe they hurt you in some way. Maybe they shamed you in some way and you have a lot of anger about that. Maybe as a teenager, you were bullied by a lot of people, and you have a lot of anger about that. Maybe you were the kid who got picked on because of your size, one way or the other, and you have anger about that.
Maybe you got into an engagement and they left you at the altar, and you have anger about that. Maybe you found that your boyfriend or girlfriend cheated on you. That’s absolutely legitimate anger. They said they were going to be true to you and they weren’t. They broke your heart. Maybe even worse, you went into marriage, and then one day you found out your spouse was unfaithful, maybe through relationships, emotional affairs, pornography, social media, you name it, past girlfriends or boyfriends. That can destroy your heart and you would be legitimately angry. Maybe you’ve had bosses try to take advantage of you in some way, coaches, or even religious leaders or social leaders of some kind who you really trusted, and they not only let you down, they hurt you.
So you’ve been carrying this anger for years, sometimes decades, and sometimes multiple decades. I’ve had people carrying anger from thirty, forty, or fifty years ago. It’s very common for us to deny we’re angry, but look at your body. Are you carrying extra weight? Are you depressed? One of the reasons people get depressed is because they have this unresolved anger and they carry it. It takes more and more energy from you to hold that anger in your body. It’s kind of like holding a beach ball underwater. The longer you do it, the more strength it actually takes to do it, which robs you from the energy to do other things.
We haven’t even talked about the anger that’s involved with grieving. Perhaps someone in your life passed away, or a life change happened. Maybe you had a significant health shift and you’re grieving. Part of this grieving is that you’re really chapped about this change in your life. You don’t like it. You don’t want it. It’s hard for you to accept, and you’re angry about it.
No matter how you’re angry or why you’re angry, today I’m going to give you a prescription I’ve used in my clinical office at Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs. We’ve used this for over two decades. I’ll never forget the first time I used this exercise. I was counseling in a psychiatric hospital with a teenage girl who was savagely sexually abused multiple times by multiple people and she had several diagnoses. As I was going through her history, it was horrific. I was a master’s level student. I thought, “What am I going to do with this?” One of the overriding things going on with her was her anger. She had to be restrained regularly. She was out of control. My intuition told me, “Hey, there’s something that she needs to do here.”
So we did what I’m going to show you to do today. This helped the girl start to become sane. She started to make better choices. She was able to literally peel off a lot of the trauma that was happening to her. Trauma, like many of the things we’ve talked about here today, affects you in your spirit, soul, and body. Your body actually holds the key to releasing it. Oftentimes you go to counseling to talk about it and might feel a little better, but you’re still acting wounded. That’s because your body is still carrying the bullet. So today I want to talk about removing the bullet of anger. I want you to be able to flush away that toxic anger because at this point, it’s hurting you. It’s not hurting the other person.
So I’m going to give you an exercise to do. I will say this: If you have any heart issues, talk to your doctor first. Make sure you get permission to do this. If you have any health concerns whatsoever, talk to a physician before you do this exercise. It’s so powerful. I’ve done this myself many times. Some of you have heard my story in earlier conversations we’ve had. I was conceived in adultery, sexually abused, abandoned and put in foster homes. I had a lot of legitimate anger, and when I got to this part in my healing journey, it changed my life. I think I was doing this for seven to ten days in a row because I had anger issues with a lot of people. I had three dads, all this stuff you can imagine causing anger in my life. I had to get engaged to overcome my anger as well.
That is why we’re doing this show ”Love and Sex Today.” If you can heal, you’re going to have better love and better sex today. If you’ve got toxic anger, it’s keeping you from the incredible love of yourself, of others, and it’s definitely impacting your sexuality. So get your pen and paper because this is something you’re going to want to write down, something you’re going to want to share because this really, really works. This can save you a lot of money in counseling right here. I know I’ve saved thousands of people, and I’ve saved people thousands of dollars just doing this. People fly in from all over the country to come see us at Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs. When they do, they do three and five day intensives. This exercise I’m going to explain is often one of the first things they do because they’re so clogged up with rage.
Four Steps to Get Rid of Toxic Anger
I’m going to give you four steps. Before we get to the steps, make a list of the people you’re really angry and hurt towards. Just make a list. It might be five people, or it might be twenty-five people. It doesn’t matter. Maybe you want to prioritize them: these are the really, really angry ones; these are the kind of medium angry ones; these are the smaller angry ones. You can start with the smaller ones if you want to because you will get really good at the exercise by the time you get to the really big ones.
Step one: Write an Anger Letter to the Person
Number one, what you want to do is pick one of those people and write an anger letter to the person. You will never send this. I actually encourage you to destroy it after you’re done so it doesn’t show up in your future. It’s not about the other person. This is about healing your body. This is about you flushing your toxic anger. It’s not about trying to get someone to agree with you about your offense. It’s healing you. When I tell people to write this anger letter, I say imagine going into a room. This person is strapped down, gagged up, and you could just go totally off. Don’t censor your language. Don’t censor yourself in any way. Don’t make this about “I love you, I forgive you” at the end. That’s not what we’re doing. Our next conversation is going to be about forgiving others. So hang on to that. Let’s suppose the person’s name is Francis. “Francis, you pig. How could you do this? I hate you, etc.” I mean, just go off. Let that sludge in you out. So number one, you write the anger letter.
Step two: Read the Letter Out Loud
Number two, you want to read the letter out loud. Before you do this exercise, give yourself a good hour after you’ve written the letter to be alone to be able to do this, or be with a support person, or you could even do this in a therapist’s office like they do at my office every week. This is really important to read it out loud. You will get in touch with some of your emotions, but also your brain will know where you’re going for step three and four.
Step Three & Four: Get a Mattress and a Racket
For steps three and four, you’re going to need a little bit of equipment, a mattress and some kind of bat or racket that’s not going to break. You don’t want anything wooden because it will break. When you really engage your anger at this level, you’re going to be incredibly strong. So get something safe. In my office, we have these padded bats. We’ve got a padded block. It works fantastic. Most people at home use a mattress and some kind of racket that they can get their hands on. Or go to a sports store of some kind. Sometimes they will have those encounter bats, used for karate and things like that. They work great. They’re not very expensive. If you’ve got a lot of people to go through with your anger, I would invest in that. Again, you might have been through a divorce. Everyone who has been through a divorce usually needs to do this exercise.
So write the anger letter. Read the anger letter out loud. Number three, warm up. Get your bat or your racket and your mattress. I wouldn’t use the mattress you sleep on. I would use somebody else’s mattress from somewhere else in the house, a guest room, kid’s room, something like that. Warm up a little bit. Take the racket and hit the bed. This may sound crazy, but if you do this, it really works. Use the word “no” just to warm up your voice. “No! No! No! No!” Again, make sure you’re alone. If you’re in an apartment, put a note on the door that says, “Everything is OK. Don’t worry.”
For number four go totally ballistic. I mean go totally out of control. This anger or trauma is like a three-dimensional wound, and anger unifies you three-dimensionally, so you’re lacerating the anger and you’re letting that puss and rage out. This may take you five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, but you will literally feel your body kind of go, “phew,” when you’re done. You will feel the release. The anger won’t be there anymore. It’s like getting over a cold. You won’t be able to access that rage from that point anymore like that. And if you do what we’re going to talk about in the next conversation about forgiving others, you’re going to be able to really walk free from a lot of trauma, a lot of abuse, a lot of pain, a lot of the things I call “bullets” that have hit your life. I had a lot of bullets hit my life, but if you were to look into my eyes right now, you wouldn’t see them because I took them out. It’s my job to take them out.
You can stay angry toward your perpetrators and the people who hurt you your entire life, and you can judge them and keep yourself jacked up, stuck with this stuff. It’s totally unnecessary. I want you to do this exercise so you can be well. This is your job to get yourself well. It is not anyone else’s responsibility. There was no one to help me get well. I had to make a decision. When you make that decision, good things come into your life, like this post came into your life today to take you to the next step.
Please read more of my posts, and I would encourage you, to go to loveandsextoday.com. Subscribe there, where you can get a free chapter of “Love and Sex Today.” Write a review on iTunes for us. Tell us how this is changing your life. Tell us how this is helping you take next steps to having greater relationships. Remember, one of you will be chosen for a one-on-one conversation, a priceless conversation with yours truly, Dr. Doug Weiss, where we’re going to be able to really maybe accelerate something in your life. I’m the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center. Our phone number is (719) 278-3078 if you need to get in touch with us in any way. Remember; always have great love and great sex today.