Taking Anger Out on Others

Clearly, we live in a time when many of our fellow citizens seem to harbor a great deal of anger. It appears that the source of this anger is complex and multi-layered. While we all have a right to act on our feelings, many of us fail to discriminate and thus often direct anger on targets totally undeserving of such a reaction. It is always shocking to me to read some of the comments submitted when articles are posted. For the life of me, I cannot begin to fathom the reason that the anger is expressed using emotionally charred negative words directed at those who are simply trying to reach out, open their lives to others in an effort to attempt to provide support to those living also with chronic pain. This is a simple act of kindness in an attempt to address the issue of social isolation so many chronically ill experience, Every time I and others have an article posted, we have to brace ourselves for being attacked and judged in often the most demeaning of ways.

We need, as a society, to remember kindness, remember we are not perfect and that we are all on our distinct journeys in life, trying to make the best of the gifts and/or trials we have been given. But to read something someone has written to try to help you from the kindness of their heart - why are you tearing them down? I understand the frustration, hurt, anger, the feeling of being lost, feeling abandoned, etc. Those are hurtful and difficult to deal with. But does that justify tearing down others around you just trying to offer support and offering suggestions to try to help you? These people that post on this site take the time to reach out to you and are not being compensated for their time and efforts.

Ellen Lenox Smith

What do you gain by being so negative towards others? Do you feel empowered by hurting others? Do you feel physically and emotionally better to attack others due to your issues you are coping with? And if the answer is NO, then what is your motivation to use such hurtful words towards others.

If you read carefully the articles printed, no one is attempting to say their issues are more important than yours. No one is claiming to have all the answers for you to follow. No one is seeing pain as a competition. Instead, these articles are filled with the raw emotion of those attempting to cope and hoping to help you see you are not alone. The articles sometimes offer suggestions that have helped that might help you. And the people writing to try to help you are also trying to figure out how to accept, fight, become empowered and live a life that has as for so many of us, turned more challenging and often emotionally overwhelming to a degree none of us anticipated or planned for.

So let’s see if you can consider what your words mean to one that is just trying to help you. Do you really want to turn them away from trying to help you and others? For if you do, you will slowly see some writers finding that the task of sharing in writing with the hope of perhaps providing even a shred of meaningful advice based upon one’s individual experience may simply not be worth the emotional drain caused by the often hostile negative reaction they may be exposed to.

So, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed? Why not try writing out what is on your mind and get the out onto paper and then set it aside. Return the next day and see how you feel about what you wrote down and decide if that made you feel better or if you feel you still need to share the negative with the writer. You may find it very liberating to write out your emotions and then taking a break to see if that is truly something that remains private or something that is better off shared.

Let’s try a bit more kindness towards each other in 2020!

May life be kind to you,

Ellen Lenox Smith

Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain- And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Ellen Lenox Smith

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website. https://ellenandstuartsmith.squarespace.com/

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Please, no one is taking anger out on you or anyone else! Pain patients do not know how to do this! If they did, you’d certainly know it and so would everyone else. People in real pain, and people are here, don’t have time to pussy foot around and always say nice things, they are IN PAIN and that is all their mind can focus on. So please don’t misconstrue things, and realize that we all are saying, we are in PAIN! We need help, not fancy words, we got over all that many moons ago when our pain was like yours, not nearly so bad; now we are in crisis with it. If you’re not trying to help us then please ‘get out of the kitchen’.

Thomas V.

Well said and thanks for sharing!

Christine Sparks

Right on, Ellen Lenox Smith, as always! I so admire all of you who take the time and energy to write these articles. And I know many of you, if not all, are also dealing with brain fog, as it seems to accompany chronic pain! I have so much respect for you. Thank you to you and to all who have written one or more articles here for the benefit of all of us. ♥️


You are so right!
I have control over my anger, I do not let it get the best of me. Be kind to all and kindness
Come back to you😊

Theresa L. Negrete

Great idea Ellen, thank you! I have been guilty of this and for this I deeply apologize. I have worked up anger in me, to have energy, to get through the day of physical work and the anger can not be contained, I must try other stragedies. I have no desire to hurt anyone who has and is trying to help, especially other Chronic Pain sufferers. In the spirit of contentment which I hope for everyone and I’m working on now, I certainly will try this! Again Ellen, thank you for this and all the other helpful posts you have shared!

Lori T.

Happy New Year to all! Thank you Ellen, you are 100% correct. We all need to look carefully at what we are writing. You bring up a very good point. Speaking for myself only, I try to go over my post several times over to make sure that I am posting from my heart rather than what I may be thinking at any given moment. I try to put myself in others shoes or feelings, to make sure I am not slamming anyone. Each of us has a unique situation and no one wants to be “dressed down“ for simply trying to convey a helpful point or a kind word. I realize that I am not always perfect in this process, so if anybody feels that I have said something unkind or disheartening, I am truly very sorry. This is not a forum of hate, anger, or any of the other negative words one could use, this is a forum of LOVE. I look at each person posting as a little guardian angel who is doing their best to uplift my day. And I am going to take this moment to thank everyone who is sharing with a very heartfelt HUG. We are all at different points on the learning curve of life and this topic is no different. As Ellen so correctly points out, let us ALL do better in this new year and we ALL will be the better for it. Thank you for this great post Ellen. I have always appreciated your posts through the years. You are a real life hero in my playbook. Gentle hugs!


Yes!!I concur!! And thank you for bringing this to light, again…
Let’s think before we speak or write. This is a new world where many hide behind written ugly or demeaning words on the web. Most would not actually say this to our face.
We did not chose our specific illness but dealing with it the best we can and in a positive light most days.
We need to love one another regardless of their shortcomings whatever they be! Treat others the way we want to be treated!


You and Stu exemplify kindness, caring and compassion. The lives you touch are forever better. THANK YOU 🙏🏻

Lori A. Frushon

So sorry you have to experience this!! I really enjoy your articles, please keep them coming. You’ve been very helpful to me and I’m sure many others.