How to Deal with Repressed Anger by Writing an Angry Letter

Have you ever had someone tell you to write an angry letter? I have! And I’ve given the assignment to my clients as well. It might sound silly but expressive writing to release repressed anger (or hidden anger) and other emotions has been researched and proven to be affective to relieve stress, trauma responses, and even physical pain (Source) It’s so beneficial to deal with your repressed anger because of the physical and emotional symptoms it causes. The truth is you always bury anger alive. And burying something alive always has consequences- any scary movie can show you that!

If you are anything like me, you might not realize you have repressed anger because you have gotten good at avoiding it and stuffing it. I attended a domestic violence support group for nearly 2 years and one particularly insightful meeting had to do with hidden anger. I learned that night that we tend to recognize the obvious symptoms of hidden or repressed anger, but most of us have no idea what subtle behaviors indicate we are avoiding processing pain or difficult emotions. Here’s what to watch out for:

Signs of Hidden or Repressed Anger

  • Procrastination in the completion of tasks,
  • Sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy in conversation,
  • Over-politeness, constant cheerfulness, attitude of “grin and bear it.”
  • Frequent sighing,
  • Frequent disturbing or frightening dreams,
  • Getting tired easier than usual,
  • Becoming drowsy at inappropriate times,
  • Chronically stiff or sore neck or shoulder muscles,

After we all took the quiz and realized we had LOTS of repressed anger, we needed a next step. How do we deal with repressed anger? Our advocate told us to journal through 2 questions if we were having a hard time releasing the anger:

I don’t want to release my anger because _____

I’m afraid to release my anger because ______

Here’s the cliff notes version of what I discovered about my Repressed Anger. I hope this helps you as you walk through the same process to know you are not alone!

Question 1: I don’t want to release my anger because:

  • I know that when I do “let it go” I have to allow the release to happen. And release is slightly terrifying.
  • I don’t like what the word release means at all. I would rather not give this person freedom. They should pay me back for all of the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical wounds I experienced.
  • Letting go of my anger means that every time this person angers me in the future, I must walk through the process all over again.
  • Ugh. I don’t want to let go of my anger without an apology first. Is that so much to ask?

Release : “Free from confinement, bondage, obligation, pain, etc.; Let go. Relinquish. Surrender.”

Question 2: I am afraid to release my anger because…

  • Anger is “normal” to me. I know what to do with anger. I’ve lived with anger a long, long time.
  • Anger is like a protective wall for me because I don’t have to deal with the sadness and betrayal on the other side.
  • Holding on to it means I somehow still have control of my life.
  • I’m afraid I could be easily hurt again. Like the anger is making me “bullet-proof” or something. Surrendering it could make me vulnerable again.
  • I spent decades avoiding anything that makes me vulnerable. Vulnerability was a weakness. Emotions were a weakness. Tenderness was a weakness. Anger was safe.

How I let Go of the Repressed Anger

After seeing it all on paper, I had a choice to make. Was I going to accept the process of letting this anger go? Or was I going to hold onto it? I had an internal dialogue that went something like this,

 Raychel, do you do well to be angry? Is it helping? Does it make you feel good in your mind, body, and spirit to hold on to this? No. Nope. Not even a little bit.

What do you need to do next? I write the angry letter.

To be completely transparent this was not over and done with one angry letter. It took several. And even years latter I still find myself processing anger and resetting boundaries with certain people in my life. Resolving the anger doesn’t guarantee instant results. It’s a process.

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Wesley, The Princess Bride.

What Do I Write in an Angry Letter?

Good question.  Think of an angry letter as a brain dump. Just start writing. Start by writing everything you would say about the person, the situation, the hurt, the aftermath, if you could. If you had one chance to say everything you wanted to say, what would you say? This gets easier once you start, the hardest part is starting. I once wrote an angry letter that was 6 pages long in a very short amount of time because the words just came out of me like vomit. That’s the point. No judgements. Don’t second guess what you wrote. And PC terms or nice words are not required. Dig deep and get it out once and for all. Nobody is going to see this angry letter so write it all! NEVER send the letter. THIS IS IMPORTANT. This letter is for you. Not them.


Expressing repressed anger through angry letters is an effective tool to deal with high levels of stress, trauma, and a whole host of emotional and physical symptoms. When you become aware of signs of hidden anger you have a choice. You can deal with it or continue to ignore it. I hope you choose to deal with it. Writing an angry letter helps you understand the reality of what happened to you and how your life changed because of it. With understanding you can begin to release the hidden anger. Baby steps. You got this.

with Grace & Grit,

~Raychel

Raychel Perman is a Certified Life & Business Coach, Speaker, Author, and Co-Founder of RAYMA Team, LLC. She is the Co-host of the She Who Overcomes™ Podcast and is funny, wise, and tells it like it is. Raychel shares her story of overcoming trauma and living with mental health challenges to inspire others to believe that the broken pieces of their past can lead to beauty, strength, and new beginnings. She is the author of UNBROKEN and co-author of She Cultivates Resilience.

Learn more about Raychel here.

UNBROKEN Summer Series: The Choice of Certainty over Worry

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the
power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Romans 15:13 ESV

Did you know that the word worry means “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts”? Yeah. I didn’t either until I wrote this study. Yeesh. Torment isn’t a word I would toss around lightly, would you? Yet, so often we act like worrying is no big deal. Fretting, obsessing, and even getting together with our friends to hash over worry. It’s almost like
worry is just an accepted part of of the human experience, and especially being a parent.

When I read the definition of worry, all I can think is that worry is quite literally emotional and mental torture and is very much a BIG deal. For many seasons of my life, I was plagued by worry. And I’m not talking about the everyday worries we brush by as normal. I don’t even mean the anxiety I’ve had most of my adult life. What I was emotionally and mentally tortured by something called Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (PPOCD)

One of the key symptoms of Postpartum OCD is intrusive thoughts (aka tormenting worry)

If you are not familiar with perinatal mood disorders you might not realize there was any other diagnosis for a parent to receive after giving birth (and during pregnancy) than Postpartum Depression, but there are many. The best way to describe intrusive
thoughts is to take the normal nagging fears of your child being hurt and twist them until they are ugly horrific nightmares that plague you constantly.

You can’t shake it, reason with it, or stop it. You can’t tell anyone what is happening because who says out loud “Every time I’m at the top of a staircase I imagine throwing the baby
down.”
Or, “When I’m on a bridge I imagine driving off of it.” Um. No one. I was trapped in my own brain with a personal invitation to a private hell only I knew was happening. I’m not exaggerating when I say my worst season of my PPOCD lasted almost 18 months and those kinds of thoughts would happen hourly.

It is so traumatic, that women who suffer from PPOCD are often diagnosed with PTSD afterwards*.

When I have a trigger or PTSD episode that obsessive worry can come back-even years later.

The only way I overcome the worry is by reminding myself of the truth that no matter what happens to my children, even if every horrific thing my mind thought up occurred, God is still in control. He would make them whole again and turn their brokenness into beauty just like he did for me. Admitting the brokenness I experienced because of those seasons, and still choosing to rest in the certainty of my God, is how I’m embracing those scars today.

We all have worry and we need to combat it instead of letting it go like it’s normal or to be expected. Worry is not from God. Worry needs to be confronted right away before it consumes you and poisons you from the inside out. Let’s dig into the Word to see what God says about how we can (and must!) choose certainty in the midst of our worry After
you read the verses below, take a few moments to record how these promises can help you defeat worry and choose certainty instead

  • Psalm 23:4
  • John 14:27
  • I Peter 5:6-8
  • Isaiah 43:1-3

UNBROKEN Journal Questions:

  1. Does the dictionary definition of worry make you think any differently about the effect it has in your life? Why or why not?
  2. How can you choose certainty over worry? Write down some specific action steps you can take when worry starts to overwhelm you.
  3. What is God saying to you as you complete today’s study?

When worries bombard me, I will remind myself that I can trust in the certainty of my God. I choose hope. I have no reason to worry because He will not fail me.

TRUTH STATEMENT®

I hope you have enjoyed the UNBROKEN Summer Series! And I hope you grab the 2nd edition when it releases in a few weeks. Hold tight dear reader. Storms don’t last forever. The best days are still ahead.

With Grace & Grit,

~Raychel

*To the person reading this thinking, “Oh my gosh I think that’s what I have!” Please hear me when I say that PPOCD is a mood disorder and will usually require medication and therapy to overcome. While these Bible verses will bring you comfort they should not replace proper treatment. You are sick and you need proper treatment. There is ZERO shame in getting all the help you need to overcome this.

Raychel Perman is a Certified Life & Business Coach, Speaker, Author, and Co-Founder of RAYMA Team, LLC. She is the Co-host of the She Who Overcomes™ Podcast and is funny, wise, and tells it like it is. Raychel shares her story of overcoming trauma and living with mental health challenges to inspire others to believe that the broken pieces of their past can lead to beauty, strength, and new beginnings.

Learn more about Raychel here.