Anger is an emotion that is useful and necessary as well as harmful. We teach anger management skills as well as interventions for resolving the underlying reasons for an individual’s anger
ANGER AS A FEELING
Many people feel it is wrong to be angry. Strangely enough, feelings like sadness or happiness are not considered wrong, yet anger is. Adaptive communication of anger is brief, open and direct. You know where you stand and you are clear about your rights and responsibilities in the situation with another. Though we may need some time for healing, we have a chance to resolve the anger and become closer.
However, what we do with our anger can cause serious emotional difficulties. If our anger isn’t expressed and resolved appropriately, it can wound by bringing up uncomfortable feelings, such as:
wanting to make it better
displaced or misdirected attack
freeze or flee stress response
loss of control
loss of reality
Suppressed anger also nurses resentment and self-pity, which can be fatal to forming and maintaining healthy relationships and lifestyle.
It takes energy to suppress our anger. When you use all your energy suppressing your anger, you feel fatigued and bored and depressed. However, what people do with anger often results in serious relational difficulties. Anger can get in the way when it is misdirected, turned inward, used as ammunition, worn like armor or in some way allowed to become part of the problem instead of energy for finding a solution. Anger tells us there is something wrong that needs changing. It’s important for personal growth and adjustment to learn to feel and express a wide range of emotions. Anger is normal but only one emotion among many. However, inappropriate behavior is not “normal.” Inappropriate behavior is physical violence, threats, verbally abusive comments and sexual abuse. Too much anger can cause high blood pressure and other physical problems.
Feelings are an adventure, something to explore rather than suppress. We are striving for wholeness, and wholeness is neither right nor wrong, but a state of being where we are most alive and conscious. Wholeness doesn’t exclude anger, hurt or fear any more than it excludes happiness and sadness. Our feelings put us in touch with reality and other people; they allow intimacy between two people. Through our feelings, we have the capacity to live joyfully and consciously. Mental health is expression of all our feelings. Anger is a friend in our hearts reminding us what we like, what we want, and what we need. Let’s stop, look, and listen to this friend.
Denying anger causes blaming, aggression, and resentment and seriously affects our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Someone once said, “Whenever I’m angry, I know that often I’m also feeling hurt.” We may not know what we are hurt about or even be able to express the hurt. All we may know is that we are upset and angry. Then, it will help to say to the person we’re angry with, “Yes I’m angry and yelling, but I know I’m hurt, too. I just can’t seem to express hurt without yelling.” We can then excuse ourselves to find some quiet time for meditation. We’ll be amazed to find our anger has subsided, and in this atmosphere our hurt may surface. When we are hurt, we are most childlike and vulnerable. It takes courage to allow another person to see us this way. The choice, then, is ours. We can now go back to the person and make our feelings clearer.
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