I had an interesting conversation with my mother yesterday. She was feeling "rejected," and in her new effort to actually speak up and say something instead of being passive aggressive, she mentioned it to me. I felt that she was missing some key points of what was going on and laid out those facts without judging her. In my ongoing effort to encourage the sharing of feelings and not just yell at people (for calling me at work with their not-work-related issues, eh-hem), I didn't say what I really wanted to, which is that she was really being very... well, it doesn't matter. I wouldn't change anything I did, I allowed her to say her piece without being judged, and I went about my business.
I'm also trying this new thing were I don't vent. This is dangerously close to venting. But I'm not doing it. Venting absolutely has it's place. There are times that you can't (or shouldn't?) hold in those feelings and it's beneficial to choose a safe way to let that pressure off. Running (hah!), writing a letter, calling a friend, pounding chicken breasts flat with a mallet, all useful.
But some studies show that venting can actually rev a person up more and increase their anger by rehashing and verbalizing what you "should have" done.
Again, I wouldn't change what my mom was mad about and I wouldn't change how I dealt with her. I feel satisfied (trying to avoid self righteous) that I was in control of my emotions. A victory for me if there ever was one.
I recommend this not-venting tactic. Next time something happens that you would normally rehash to husband/mom/bestfriend/acquaintences (or all within earshot), try just congratulating yourself for how you personally handled the situation, and then let it go. Give yourself 5. I did, and it's nice.