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7 Ways I Deal With Anger and 'Borderline Rage'

Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Have you ever gone from zero to nuclear in a matter of seconds?

As someone with borderline personality disorder, I can have intense mood swings. The borderline rage is terrifying. One moment I can be dancing and singing, then a second later I don’t recognize myself. I am throwing furniture, punching walls, self-harming and destroying objects of mine. I lose all sight of my surroundings, and all I see are my hands as my coping mechanism to make this anger loop stop.

Why do I act like this?

I am learning this anger is so complex. But for many of us, our anger stems from childhood abuse and trauma (physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, emotional), neglect and rejection. Possibly living in an ever-changing, unpredictable environment where a child does not know how to survive. We may store all these memories and find other ways to survive. Anger is the tip of the iceberg. Anger is sometimes the “easier” emotion to feel rather than the hidden emotions we feel — the emptiness, chronic pain, self-loathing, confusion and guilt.

This year has been the year of anger for me. And I am no longer ashamed to talk about this.

For years I internalized my anger, pushing it aside until this year the arrow of rejection pierced my heart and shield, and out came years of hurt.

Situations, conversations and emotions replayed in my head (rumination), even my dreams were not safe. I felt like the only way to stop the circuit was to divert my attention and feel the pain through self-harm.

So these few months I have been exploring how to manage my anger before I rage. I’ve realized the trick is to do the activities below daily — not just when I’m upset or becoming angry. Otherwise, their effectiveness is not strong enough. Instead anger management is becoming a daily practice.

My growing list includes:

1. An anger board, where I write and draw everything I can do to express my anger

2. Aussie hip hop music. I very rarely swear. But as I’ve recently discovered swearing has been so releasing for me. My favorite is music expresses difficult emotions through poetry and rap.

3. Mindfulness pilates. I’m starting to recognize where I am holding tension in my body so I can release it through stretching.

4. Pinterest boards that have quotes about abuse and pain.

5. Honesty with others. Sharing with my friends about my anger. Their love has been pivotal in my self-acceptance.

6. Boxing and weight training.

7. Verbalizing, such as “I am feeling angry” instead of leaving it unspoken to harbor.

Looking forward to hearing about the strategies you use to help with anger.

Getty image by Anastasia Sergienko.