On healing rage – what I did to heal myself

By Jena Griffiths | December 8, 2012

rage Next Thursday at our usual time we’ll be talking to grief counsellor, Karin Andersson Hagelin to learn how to heal from the loss of a loved one. What to do if you or people you know are grieving or experiencing extreme emotions.
This is a complimentary call. Attend here

Ever since our last call with Richard (on grief and rage and what your hands say about this) I’ve been thinking about what I did heal my own extreme emotions in the past.
Specifically how did I heal my grief and rage when my husband ran off with another woman?

To be totally honest, I didn’t heal my grief for a long time but I healed my rage by expressing it.

What I did was stand outside the other woman’s house in the middle of the night during a snowstorm and howl and rant and rage. I threatened to climb her stairs and murder her in her bed but instead I picked up a large plant in ceramic pot and smashed it on her doorstep. I couldn’t see the mess because it was pitch dark but it was a very healing experience. The pot sounded like it had shattered into a zillion pieces just like my heart had and I felt a million times better while driving home.

6 months later I spoke to a therapist about this experience and she said I was very fortunate that I’d been able to express my anger, unlike so many of her clients who suppressed it for years and years.

The funniest story I’ve ever heard related to this specific type of rage (due to feelings of abandonment) was one told by a celebrated SA designer several years ago. Apparently she spotted her husband’s car outside the other woman’s apartment and, in a fit of rage, used her BMW to smash his Porche about 50 times. Until she felt calm and, quite frankly, elated. I know the feeling. But I guess I’m a cheapskate in comparison. 😉

I also think sport or any extreme exercise helps to heal both grief and rage. Especially if you can smash something, like a ball in a squash court or a punching bag.
I don’t play any ball games but I do find a long run in the forest, to the point of exhaustion, extremely healing. (Last time I experienced grief and rage this is what I did to heal myself.)

The need to express one’s grief or rage reminds me of the poem on this topic by William Blake.

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears;

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine.

And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole

When the night had veiled the pole;

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
William Blake

So: feel, express, release.

How to release/let go?
I used Phyllis Krystal’s figure of 8 technique to achieve closure.
This is, in my opinion, the best technique available for letting go of someone or something.
Her cutting ties workbook gives you the exact phraseology and steps to use if you can’t find a certified practitioner near you.

Another really important thing to do to heal is to take full responsibility for whatever happened, even if it’s not your fault. Because what is always your responsibility is your response. Especially your interpretation.

If you assume the role of the injured party you’re walking into a field of land-mines. I’m afraid I went this route even though I paid lip service to doing the opposite. It took quite a bit of work to see what I was doing, snap out it and fully own all the ways I was responsible.

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3 Responses to “On healing rage – what I did to heal myself”

  1. Michelyn Gjurasic Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Thank you for sharing these stories, Jena. In this society we are taught to turn the other cheek, not to throw a potted plant at the front door. I like your way much better. I think it is healthier and more honest. Only after authentically identifying and expressing our grief and rage can we identify the causes, take appropriate responsibility, forgive, and move on.

  2. Jena Griffiths Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 9:42 am

    HI Michelyn, I think the important thing is to express your feelings without harming yourself or others. I think I was right on the edge there. Tiptoeing over the boundaries of morality.
    These days one could easily have a charge laid against you for disturbing the peace or for smashing someone else’s pot plant on their doorstep. So maybe there’s a better way of doing it.

  3. Jena Griffiths Says:
    November 4th, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve been reading a lot of David Hawkins recently esp. his book “letting Go” (highly recommended) re levels of consciousness (0-1000) and feeling the feeling as a way of shifting consciousness.
    Hawkins puts shame at the lowest level (about 20), then guilt or depression, surprisingly both measure much lower than anger.
    Courage being 200.
    Hawkins says sometimes the only way to shift is to the next level. So from shame to anger. Then from anger to courage. This story above makes sense from that perspective.