Posted: 30 January 2017
Anger – How do I deal with it?
Let’s look at some of the difficulties that we may have with anger. Often we can pay too much or too little attention to our anger and this can cause us problems.
Emotions can intensify when we put too much emphasis on them. For example if you are frightened of an animal and each time you see that animal you run away screaming and crying, you will increase the fear and make it much stronger. It is the same with anger; if we concentrate and act on anger too much it becomes stronger and more difficult to manage.
Paying too little attention to our anger often leads to different problems. We may loose touch with an important part of ourselves by repressing (cutting off) our anger and feeling nothing, deadening feelings to protect from being hurt. This can lead to becoming numb to all our emotions and feelings of depression, it may also lead to a build up of feelings that are in danger of exploding uncontrollably, often with disastrous consequences.
Sometimes we try to stay in control of our anger and it can transfer to the wrong people. It could be that after a difficult and frustrating day dealing with an over critical boss we come home and take our anger out on loved ones. Instead of acknowledging and dealing with our feelings about the boss our outburst is aimed at those we care about, they become the unwitting scapegoat.
We may have ideas about anger that stem from childhood for example “good girls don’t get angry” or “we are nice people not angry people”. We swallow our anger and pretend it isn’t important or it doesn’t affect us. Often we continue to accept these ideas without ever questioning them.
We often feel like there are only two choices with anger. Either we directly confront and express our anger to someone else or we push our anger down and keep it to ourselves.
There are actually many ways to respond to and express our feelings. It takes a great deal of courage to face our emotions and look at our own vulnerabilities. We are all trying to protect ourselves from hurt and emotions can feel risky. If we learn to accept all our emotions, we can then start to trust ourselves to be able to cope with our feelings, even some of the trickier ones.
If you are struggling and finding it difficult to know how to deal with anger, you may find talking to a Counsellor helpful. Talking to someone who will listen without judgment and without their own agenda can give you the space to start to make sense of and manage your feelings.
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