Hello and welcome back to the Therapy Spot! Now, don’t get mad, but this week I’d like to talk about something you might prefer to ignore. That’s right: even though this time of year is supposed to be about peace on earth and good will towards men, I want to talk about anger.
A lot of the expressions we have for extreme anger imply a loss of control. When children lie on the floor and sob, we call it a “temper tantrum.” When an adult yells until they’re hoarse, they’ve gone into a “blind rage.” Angry feelings have hijacked all of us at one point or another in our lives.
How does it show up in your life?
- You act out through yelling or sarcastic remarks.
- You clamp down on the feeling to hold it in.
- Sometimes, you try to hold it in, only to have it burst out powerfully.
- Maybe you don’t even know you feel angry at all.
However it shows up, anger is like any other emotion: it isn’t good or bad, and it thinks it’s helping you. Anger, specifically, is your bodyguard. It steps in to protect you from more vulnerable emotions, such as shame or fear. While anger may be good at protecting you, it’s not so good at communication. That’s why you don’t need to get rid of your angry feelings — you need to connect to them! Once you do, you can speak for your anger, not from it.
How do you do that? You need to flex your flow muscles! That way, when the feeling pops in and tries to hijack you, you’ll have awareness on your side. Goodbye, temper tantrums and blind rage.
They may seem like unlikely partners, but Anger and Awareness can hang out together. When they do, you connect to yourself more effectively. Then, you can speak from a calm place and connect better with those around you. In this way, you meet your own needs and enlist the help of the people who love you.
“An ger” by Flickr user Patrik Nygren, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.