Anger can have a negative impact on how people see you, impair your judgement and hijack your relationships and life. If this is not what you want, then read on.
Anger is an adrenaline fuelled response to a threatening situation. It alerts you to something that maybe unjust, upsetting, hurtful or frightening that needs attention. Interpretation of the message is based on how we navigate the emotional world. And how we act on that interpretation is called anger management, or the lack of it.
Let’s consider an example. Your boss gives you terrible feedback at your performance review. You draw the interpretation that he or she does not really like you and is in fact acting more favourably to your colleague. In your opinion, you think you deserved more. This sense of injustice gives rise to anger. Fuelled by anger you may want to shout at your boss or pick a fight with him/her.
Let’s bust a few myths
Anger is a negative emotion – No its not. Anger is a natural and healthy emotion. It is trying to tell you something. Using it to understand yourself and what is making you angry is a good idea. Understand your anger and work through it rather than shift it.
It is good to control your anger – Controlling your anger might mean that you are either suppressing your anger or holding it in. Neither is helpful. Your anger is telling you something. Putting some good anger management techniques in place and channelling the anger will serve you better.
Anger is always associated with violence – That is one form to express anger but not the only one. There are other forms like passive aggressive, movements for change, non-cooperation, verbal expressions, etc. Violence can have the opposite effect to the intended one and push people away rather than let them know that you are angry about something. The violence can also steal the focus away from the issue at the heart of what is creating anger.
Anger management does not work – When you lack the ability to manage your anger, your emotions can run away from you. They can cause problems when you use unhealthy expressions for your anger. Like shouting, screaming, name calling, etc. Many relationship problems, career problems, legal struggles can come from unhealthy expressions of anger. Anger management through therapeutic interventions and classes are incredibly helpful in understanding your anger and learning to manage it better.
How anger management can help you
People think that anger management is learning to suppress your anger. But suppressing anger or never getting angry is perhaps as unhealthy as extreme and violent expressions of your anger. Suppressed and stored anger has an unknown and risky element to it. When that anger finds its way out, it might come in the form of an explosion rather than an expression.
Anger management helps you to spot the anger, see it coming and learn to address it in a manner that may lead to more productive outcomes for you.
In the example above, if you were able to develop better anger management techniques, you would be able to tell your boss of the unfairness you feel and find a way to correct the balance rather than engage in a shouting match.
How I can help you
I work with individuals on helping them understand their anger and develop healthier expressions for it in my practice in London Waterloo and Hampton. Contact me if you need help.