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Venting: Does it Help or Hurt?

Venting, we all do it, but does it help us or hurt us? To be honest with you, I’m angry and annoyed with a lot of people and a lot of situations in my life. Mind you these situations are not unique to me nor are they really terrible like some of the atrocities that are happening in our world today. However, they affect my life, and I don’t like it. I’m preaching to the choir, right? Which one of you hasn’t been annoyed or angry at one time or another?

Woman Yelling

As I type this, I already feel better if I’m being honest. I’m sure that is partly because I realize how petty my problems are compared to the rest of the world. I’m also guessing I feel a little better just getting this off my chest, so I’ll continue. Everything that is bothering me revolves around finding myself in situations with others that are not acting the way that I think they should be acting. I have expectations that people will do what they say they are going to do. When these people don’t follow through, I get frustrated and upset. Logically I know my thoughts are wrong, but I’m guessing that I’m not alone in my feelings. What person doesn’t want everyone else in the world to do all things how they see fit?

There is someone in my life that rarely follows through with their promises. I’ve learned over the years to take what they say with a grain of salt. For example, if they say be over at 5pm for dinner what they really mean is dinner will be served around 7pm or 8pm. Many times, they will enlist others to do what they said they would do, and it frustrates me. The worst is when they tell my children that they will do something and then don’t. It happens over and over again.

Through sobriety I have learned that I can’t blame everyone else and not look at the role that I played. I’m very aware that one of my character defects is not telling someone when I’m angry. I’ve learned over the years how important communication is to not only my relationships but also to my serenity and sobriety. I have expressed my frustrations to this person and tried to explain why I get so angry; however, they have not changed. I also recognize that I’m trying to play the conductor of the show. I’m trying to force the people in my life to do what I think is right. I’ve learned through AA how bad it is to attempt to exert one’s will onto others. Part of me wants to yell at this person and say “This is why I get angry with you! But I know that screaming and yelling at someone in a fit of anger isn’t beneficial to anyone. I don’t need to yell. I’ve tried to have conversations with them about this, and I think now it’s just better if I get it off my chest and lower my expectations. Just writing this blog entry has helped so far. I think it’s enough to tell all of you that are reading.

What I’m unsure of is if I’m expecting too much from others. When I was drunk, I couldn’t be counted on for anything. I had no integrity. I would say one thing just to turn around and do the opposite. After getting sober and working the 12 steps I got better at this, but I wasn’t perfect by any means. I wouldn’t lie to you knowing I wasn’t going to follow through, but I also still made excuses for when I let someone down. I was used to making excuses because it’s what I’ve done since I was a kid. I never learned that it’s ok to say no without an excuse. As an adult my first sponsor told me one that “No” is a full sentence. Meaning that I’m allowed to say no without telling someone why.

My Fiancé’ has had a huge impact on my integrity. I’ve become more dependable since meeting him. He has more integrity than anyone else I know. He will not commit to anyone or anything until he is certain that he can deliver. The standard he holds himself to is astonishing. While at first this caused some problems in our relationship, I have come to love this quality about him. When he tells me he will do something I know that it will get done, sometimes even to his detriment. Which is something he has to be careful of. Excess even in something good can be problematic, but that is his problem, not mine. I’m aware that I’ve changed my actions to mirror his for our relationship to work. There were a few times that I said I would do something that I deemed silly or rather unimportant. The first time I got busy, or the item became inconvenient for me I tossed it to the side. My fiancé was devastated, and he showed it. Although I felt that he was overreacting I soon realized that there was truth in his reaction. The bottom line was I made a promise, and I didn’t keep my promise because it was an inconvenience at the time. If something real had prevented me from accomplishing my promise, then he would have understood. In reality something came up making it harder for me, so I just didn’t do it and that’s wrong.


Over the years this family member that makes promises which are rarely fulfilled has told me that I’m too hard on them, or that I react to strongly when they drop the ball. Maybe they’re right, maybe I am too hard on them. However maybe they just don’t have any integrity and it’s easier to push the issue back onto me saying that I’m too rigid. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I remember that I’m not the conductor of my life or anyone else. I cannot expect everyone to do as I say. Instead, I need to manage my expectations and learn from them. In this case that means that I need to remember when someone has a history of not following through, I need to not count on them. I’m allowed to opt out of participating in whatever they want me to participate in. I’m allowed to say no and not feel bad. It will save myself and them anger in the long run.

If you have something that you need to vent about do so in the comments. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. We are all affected by the people, places, and things in our lives. By venting we are allowed to get it off our chest and we feel better because of it.


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Image by Tim Mossholder


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