Healthy ways to vent your Anger and Avoid Hurting Others

A Joyful Heart, 11 x 14 pastel

A Joyful Heart, 11 x 14 pastel

Have you ever been used as a scapegoat? Have you felt the brunt of anger lobbed at you for someone else’s mistake?

When I was in 6th grade, a nasty letter was written that caused someone else much grief. My name was signed as the sender. Although I denied it, the label stuck. My friends peeled off as quickly as an overripe banana. I stood alone defending my lost honor. I was the fall guy; the whipping boy (or girl) for the whole class. I was singled out as a bully.

By the time the actual writer of the letter was discovered, it was too late. I remained forever tainted by the incident like yesterday’s chewing gum on the bottom of a shoe.

When bad things happen, people look for someone to blame. Sometimes it’s the person nearest to the scene. At other times, as in this instance, someone forges your name and incriminates you damaging both your reputation and self-esteem. Once people have someone they can rant on or whip, they feel better, even though it may be the wrong person.


I have been reading several books on slavery. The last two especially had an impact on me: “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd, and “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. What did I learn from reading these books? Above all, that slavery is an abomination. Anytime weak human beings can own other human beings they’re going to abuse them. Even though some slave owners may have treated their slaves civilly, most did not.

Evil, cowardly owners took out their own frustrations and anger on the most helpless and defenseless. If you dared to speak up, a hammer might be used to slam out your front teeth, or a whip used to gouge bloody stripes on your back. You may have been starved, beaten, maimed, forced to work with little food all in the name of control and obedience.

I believe this practice will forever scar America or any country where it is practiced. Today, young alien girls are forced into sexual slavery. Their illegal entry into this country makes them vulnerable and alone. They become easy prey to the low-lives that creep out of the depths of hell to use and abuse them. While horrifying and ugly, these personal assaults are not the only way to cause pain.

Gossip and untruths can hurt the innocent and scar them for life. Because of my childhood experience, I still don’t make friends easily, even though I love people. I’ve been accused of being “aloof” as I test the waters about who I can trust. My heart goes out to young people who are betrayed by their so-called friends or manipulated by an adult or a leader with ulterior motives. The anger from this kind of trauma has to go somewhere.

I once received a gift. It was a yellow calico doll with a label that read: “Damn it Doll.” A tag with instructions said: “When you feel angry, grab a hold of doll’s legs and whack it against a wall or a table. Repeat action until you feel better.”

I’ve used my “Damn it Doll” more than a few times. I must admit I felt better afterward. A few solid whacks and the pent up anger inside of me was released. The Doll became my whipping boy. Instead of unleashing my anger on the perpetrator, I vented my inner demons, with the help of the doll, on inanimate objects.

We all need a way to release our anger. If we don’t, anger may turn inward and become depression. Leave the rough stuff to the demons. Find your own “whipping boy” preferably a non-living object and whack your way to freedom. Save your own dignity and that of someone else.