The part about anger and catharsis (in Mistakes Were Made) is in chapter 1, about cognitive dissonance. The need to think well of ourselves means we always have to justify our bad shit. The discussion of catharsis theory is a branch of this.
Venting is especially likely to backfire if a person commits an aggressive act against another person directly, which is exactly what cognitive dissonance theory would predict.
When you harm someone, then you have a powerful need to justify that. How do you do that? Convince yourself that the person you harmed is a terrible person who deserves to be harmed. [Read more...]