Anger is an emotion that keeps us safe and tells us when something is not right. It becomes a problem when it is not under control, when it is not managed well and your anger is affecting others in a negative way.
We can feel angry if we see someone being bullied or a child is being hurt in some way, or we are being hurt or bullied. Under such circumstances we could well get angry about what we are seeing or experiencing. This is when anger is telling us something is not right and is the positive side of anger, provided we do not over react..
There are going to be times when shouting works if for example you want to alert someone to your presence from a distance and you may need to defend yourself..
When we over react our anger can easily manifests in a negative way. Some of the negative behaviours can be seen as shouting, violence and sometimes as silence, with-drawing or sulking.
On a deeper level anger can also ‘leak out’ in negative behaviours, such as sabotaging situations at work or home and not saying anything.
Leakage can also manifest as damaging or destroying equipment or purposefully slowing down a project, being late for a meeting or consistently forgetting. Vandalism is a good example of anger leaking out in a negative way and directed at the wrong person…
Road rage is often a manifestation of pent up anger and an unsuspecting motorist who going about their life minding their own business, and suddenly they are on the receiving end of all kinds of abuse, usually in form of gestures, long bursts on the horn or shouting.. the person behind the wheel who is blaming everyone around them for their anger is probably angry at whole world and everyone in it.. and long before you turned up.
We have choices..
It may not be obvious but we have choices about how we feel. We have choices about how we behave. Do we react negatively or respond positively.. A reaction is seen as violence, abusive behaviour or withdrawing.
A positive response is when we can verbalise how we are feeling about an angry situation. For example.. I feel really angry when that happened. By saying “I feel…” is owning your anger as opposed to “you make me feel..” When we make a positive response we are being assertive but not abusive or blaming..
No one can make you feel angry..
I say that no one can make us feel angry and do so with some caution because when we do feel something it is hard to believe that we can make choices about how we feel, especially if the red mist rises and takes us over. The skill is in interrupting the anger response to the point where through some practice we can control the response to the angry feelings. Anger is not the problem, it’s the reaction that can cause problems.
Once again, it may not be obvious but no one can make us feel angry.. We feel angry as a response to an external stimulation called a trigger. A client was relating to me a story about an employee. This employee was charming, calm and collected. Then one day another employee called him stupid in quite an aggressive manner and the man who was being called stupid had the name caller by the scruff of the neck threating all sorts of unpleasantries if he spoke to him that way again..
In this example being called stupid was the trigger and somewhere in his past he was possibly called stupid on a regular basis by a parent, carer, sibling, teacher or peers..
Own your statements by using the ‘I’ word versus the ‘You’ word.
Avoid leakage by speaking about how you feel.
You have choices about how you feel.
No one can make us feel anything, we feel as a response to a stimulus, usually seeded in our past.