Allowing Ourselves to be Angry is Healthy

When our anger is repressed, it turns to rage and depression

Beth Bruno
6 min readFeb 7, 2020


The goal isn’t to never feel angry. The goal is to understand your anger and choose healthy ways to respond to it. — Unknown

Many of us are taught by our parents, our teachers and society that certain emotions are unacceptable. The adults in our lives were not comfortable with their strong emotions, so they needed to control ours. Girls especially are taught to be nice and not express anger, disappointment or outrage.

I was taught that being mad was not nice. The problem with this is that the feelings have to go somewhere, so they got turned inward and manifested as self-hatred. As a child, this meant biting myself when I was angry because I had no other way to express it.

When I married someone who did not allow me to express anger, I suddenly experienced being cut off from my authentic self. I compensated by creating an alternate self that was devoted, subservient and pandering. This was how I stayed safe.

The result of not being allowed to feel and express our feelings is that we lose our ability to set boundaries. We are at the mercy of others to tell us how we are doing, and to interpret our experiences for us. It seems crazy now when I think of how I lived for so many years in the grip of a man who supposedly loved me, but I was only 18 when I married him. I was not yet strong enough to stand up and say “Hell no.”

Besides, I was a good southern girl, and southern girls were domesticated to defer our power to others, especially to the men of the world. We were taught to keep quiet and not make a fuss. Otherwise we would be labeled hysterical. And no one wanted to be around a hysterical female.

We were taught that our job was to be the caretaker of others’ emotions, and most of the time that meant that we had to smooth things over for them and take responsibility for their happiness. That also meant that we were not allowed our own emotions. While my husband was free to express his anger at me — and he did, quite often — I was not allowed to do the same. I was told that nothing was as bad as I thought it was.



Beth Bruno

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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