Anger Builds Unless Safely Vented

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | July 30, 2014

Unless pressure is released, anger can erupt in hurtful words much the same as a volcano.

A wise and funny man, Dr. Laurence J. Peter once said, “Speak when you are angry—and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” Not only was he wise, he was right. No matter who you are angry with— children, spouse, boss, a clerk, even your government— it does not pay to unload your anger when you are white-hot mad.

Discussing stressful family issues as they arise can prevent an emotional outburst.

Adrenaline and hormones are the main culprits for cloudy thinking and in many cases loosening our words. The fight or flight response kicks in for a threat to our safety, authority or territory whether real or imagined. When we drive down the road and are cut off in traffic or a vehicle wedges in front of ours we may see it as a challenge or an outright insult then fingers and words begin to fly.

The term loose cannon would apply to anyone not in control of their anger; here in my home we call the verbal onslaught flushing the toilet. That is when one of us lets loose with all the saved up anger and spews forth verbally— imagine the eruption of a raging volcano.

Outside pressures like traffic or a thoughtless clerk can contribute stress to create an angry outburst.

Many outside influences come into play before an eruption: Dealing with traffic, office politics or even a thoughtless clerk. In some cases, it does not take much to push those buttons. With children it might be unfinished chores or homework, the appearance of laziness, clutter and sloppiness or an item damaged, misplaced or lost. Pile on the added pressure of time or expense and any one thing becomes the last straw as the flush is set into motion – and this is where it gets ugly. Everything comes out; all the anger, rage, misinterpretations, thoughts and feelings— all of it. Out it comes until the flush is complete and everything begins to settle.

We can put safeguards in place to depressurize situations or to give ourselves time to gather our thoughts or to calm down and formulate a plan to address situations or issues. Addressing issues as they arise allows all concerned to share information and troubleshoot for solutions so there is less stress or pressure to vent in a not-so-friendly manner.

Learning to recognize those pent up emotions before an outburst and then taking steps to deal with the triggers can help. Expect heavy traffic during rush hour and leave earlier or later; offer assistance to children struggling with homework or a messy room; cancel the engagement you did not want to attend; tell your neighbor about a lawnmower sale so he will have his own; instead of talk radio, listen to recorded books; be extra nice to a clerk who annoys. Every single situation that causes anger has a solution; when there is no fix you can change how you react to it.

Children learn how to process difficult emotions by watching how their parents behave when they are upset and angry. Holding family meetings on a regular basis is an excellent way for everyone to have an opportunity to speak, be heard and kids to learn to vent in a healthy manner. Compromises and negotiation can be used to solve any problem in a more amiable atmosphere when there is open communication with respect and safety to all.

Parents can watch and listen to their own words come out of their children’s mouths. What are you teaching your children?

Parents are often shocked when they hear their young children expressing upset much in the same manner as they have in the past.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Walter Lim Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Matthew Freeman Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Oran Viriyincy Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Amanda Tipton Under Flicker/CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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15 Responses to Anger Builds Unless Safely Vented

  1. kcg1974 says:

    Fantastic Post! A “MUST READ” for everyone!! This is so easily done, especially today when one only has to type a few nasty words on their keyboard before pushing, “Send,” or “Enter.” No going back once that happens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  2. Much WISDOM in your words. All parents need to read this, before they bring any children into this world. If parents read and practice this they will not, later in life, have to fear coming facing the results of their parenting while their children were growing up…


    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Thank you! You are absolutely right about that. Every child deserves to be treated with kindness and respect; if parents do that then kids will return it at the most important times in their lives. Again, thank you. 🙂


      • I wholeheartedly agree. I must add one more comment. Having raised two sons we’re most proud of, one of my main guides is, and always will be, and you talk about this, parents must LEAD their children by example… for God’s sake, parents don’t PUSH them, LEAD them. If kids see their parents leading, the chances are real good, the kids will be able to lead themselves (with some guidance from time to time), through good and bad times, as they grow up, and when they become adults. The leadership role of parents never ends.


      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        I hear you, loud and clear! You cannot tell a child to be respectful and then talk disrespectfully to them. Children have recorders taking everything down in their brains — parents must walk the talk or expect the children to do exactly what they do, not what they say. Thank you for your wise words! 😉


  3. tric says:

    I think the words ‘safely vent’ are key to this post. We all get angry and our tempers rise, it’s where we allow our anger to go that matters. Great post.


    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      You are right about that, Tric. Everyone has anger to some degree and some have more than others. People who vent in a healthy manner are less likely to hurt their children with words. Thank you for that, Tric.


  4. Great read and I’m looking forward to reading more of your writings…


  5. thank you !! dealing with emotions is huge!


    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Thank you. I come from parents who both had anger/rage issues and unfortunately I inherited that ‘gift.’ I’ve spent my children’s lives trying not to do the same to them that was done to me. I was very fortunate to have Parents Anonymous to help me get through those years. Again, thank you, emotions are a big deal.


  6. This is so true! For most of my life, I had a problem with letting anger build up inside of me. It would really eat me up and waste so much of my time. Eventually, I learned to talk back to people (instead of trying so hard to understand why they spoke to or treated me in such a manner) and to take advantage of my various outlets, such as exercise and writing, to help me cope. Thanks for this post, Jackie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Anger builds in many of us, Alejandro. I often think of a pressure cooker with the flame raising the heat and pressure growing, if pressure isn’t released it can become dangerous. I use a pressure cooker almost every day and I’ve only had one time when the vent pipe was clogged and I ended up with stew all over my stove and kitchen. Yes, it’s better to watch the pressure and to deal with issues in the moment. Writing can be a great release, too, Alejandro. Thank you for stopping by and I’m sure we’ll run into each other again. 🙂


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