Make Anger Your Friend

July 18th, 2016 | Posted by Patricia O'Gorman, PhD in Girly Thoughts
Photo courtesy of gratisphotography via

Photo courtesy of gratisphotography via

It may be hard to believe that your anger is your friend. But it is. Your anger is a powerful emotion, one that demands attention, often one that makes you want to take action.

Viewed this way, your anger can actually become your friend by positively changing your life. Sound crazy?


Why You’re Afraid of Your Anger


Your anger is probably the one feeling you are most cautioned against expressing. As a result, being angry can sometimes feel dangerous because it may make you step into unchartered territories.

So why should you befriend this part of yourself? For one graphic example of why your anger needs to be your friend, read Kameron Hurley’s post Female Rage Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum, which depicts the sexual harassment she and another woman experienced at a bus stop … until, that is, she exploded.

Your anger can help you leave your comfort zone and consider something from a radically different perspective. That’s because your anger gets your attention and makes you begin to notice what is not right in your world:

  • Getting catcalled as you walk down the street.
  • Your ex posting intimate pictures of you.
  • Not getting the raise you deserve.
  • Women being mocked in public.

Your anger tells you that this isn’t right, that it may be time take action.

But you hesitate.


Why This Is So Hard? Girly Thoughts and Your Anger


As a woman, you are subtly—and sometimes not so subtly—reminded that being angry is just not becoming. You are told constantly that:

  • you need to be nice
  • being angry makes your face look ugly
  • men won’t like you if you’re angry

These are all examples of what I’ve named girly thoughts, an uncomfortable name for the way you internalize the societal messages around you into your own toxic, inner dialogue. Those messages distract you all day long by making you doubt yourself and causing you to not take actions that are important to you.


You Deserve Better


Listen to what that angry inner voice is telling you, and

  • notice your discomfort so you can decide how you want to handle it without silencing it.
  • don’t listen to your girly thoughts that tell you to suck it up and not take any action.
  • have fun fantasizing doing something, saying something that is outside of your comfort zone.

Yes, ignoring your girly thoughts and paying attention to your anger instead can change your life. Are you ready?




Remember, you’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.

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Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice. She is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and amusing presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations across the country in preventative and clinical strategic planning. Dr. O'Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from director of a rape crisis center to clinical director of a child welfare agency, and director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She is a veteran of numerous television appearances, including Good Morning America, Today, and AM Sunday and is the author of eight books including: The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan (2014), The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013), and Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012) 12 Steps to Self-Parenting.

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