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Anger

What is Anger?

Anger is a feeling of frustration that arises from a situation that's not the way we think it should be or that we believe to be wrong or unfair. It's difficult to learn to express appropriately in our culture. Anger is often avoided, or dispersed in the fastest manner, because to deal with it is too much of a challenge to our weak sense of self.  Anger can be constructive at times & needs to be expressed. 

The Repressed Anger

Anger that's often repressed, put down in the subconscious mind & out of daily conscious awareness, causes even more problems later. When this emotion is blocked continually & not expressed outwardly, the force of emotion remains inside, like a timed bomb. Symptoms like tension, rigidity, ulcers & high blood pressure may result.

 

Also, much psychic energy is spent trying to keep repressed, angry thoughts out of conscious mind. Therefore, one has less energy for dealing with the daily challenges of life. 

 

In addition, these repressed feelings may burst out at the wrong times. The person may always be preoccupied with speculations about where & in what form the unexpressed anger will appear next.

 

Often, it manifests itself inappropriately as overreaction or increased sensitivity to some situation, inappropriate displacement of anger into another person or situation, or unexpected outbursts of uncontrollable anger at the wrong time or in the wrong place.

The Unrecognized Anger

Another form that unrecognized anger takes is inward -against the self, or anger turned inward. Then, one may make himself or herself the object of the anger. Thus, the person’s energy is spent upon the object of the anger, himself, as a guise for what is actually bothering him.

The person spends immense amounts of energy concentrating on the headache or backache rather than on the root of the problems which are causing these symptoms. If difficult-to-express emotions such as anger can be expressed without fear of realization, one will find there is less reason to get angry so often because the person doesn't have to store them any longer.

Human Reaction To Anger

Several things usually happen to us when we get angry. Let us first examine bodily changes brought about the emotion of anger.

 

People who are frequently angry are endangering their own health. Anger & hostility cause stress, which can be related to high blood, pressure & other health problems. Blood pressure rises & the heart beats faster. The rate of breathing increases & many of the muscles are become tensed. Fists clenching & jaws tightening are also common signs of anger.

 

Some psychologists & biologists believe that anger is an emotion that helps to prepare the body to either 'fight' or 'flight'. In other words, the body is prepared to either run away from or fight the source of one's anger when one feels angry. Anger arouses the body.

2nd, we may mistakenly look for a cause for our anger in someone or something else. It's likely, however, that both anger & the bodily changes that accompany it are mutually responsible for each other. i.e., when the body is aroused after watching a violent or emotionally charged film, we may feel angry as a result of the bodily changes we experience.

 
3rd, feelings of anger are to be expected at times in people who are seriously committed to their work & who care about what's happening. If anger is handled constructively, it can be a reasonable or even desirable emotion. Much less would be accomplished in our schools, businesses & communities when there's nothing which can cause people to feel emotionally disturbed.

 

It's therefore important how we handle our anger. Awareness & expression of anger are often the first signs of improving your emotional state.

 
Eventually, however, you'll learn to give up your anger. This doesn't mean to repress it so that it comes out in a physical form, but rather to transcend your anger. There are several ways in which people normally handle their angry feelings.  

Causes Of Anger

 

Some people become angry most often with people. Others are more likely to be angered by machines that fail on them, information they're unable to locate, expectations that haven't been met, tiredness & hunger.

 

Nevertheless, being aware of how you get angry is helpful. When you're aware of some recurrent situations in your life that tends to make you angry, you can avoid some of these situations or even remove them.

 

You may not be able to do so with other situations. However, awareness of how you get angry helps you better understand the process. It's also very helpful to understand what happens to you when you get angry.

 

Pain & Discomfort

 

Physical discomfort can also make us more susceptible to getting angry & expressing anger when provoked. Most of us would have experienced this. There's the tendency to be less tolerant or patient whenever we feel pain, i.e., when we're suffering from a headache or backache. It's difficult to feel good or kind when you're suffering from some physical pain. Nurses & doctors who work with patients suffering from pain are usually aware of this from experience.

 

Research has shown that heat, noise & crowded conditions, which increase our levels of discomfort, can provoke violent & angry behavior more easily.

 

Drivers caught in a long traffic jam on a very hot day will probably find their anger rising more readily. Likewise, a family that suffers from a lot of noise pollution may be more liable to have a quarrel.

Personal Insult

It's quite natural for us to feel angry when we think that we're being insulted, such as being called names. There can be indirect & direct insults.

 

Indirect Insults

When the insult is aimed at us subtly or indirectly & we find it difficult to challenge or address the insult. We may get even angrier. We may feel insulted when someone ignores or rejects us.

 

 

Direct Insults

We can also feel insulted when verbal abuse is hurled at us: when we are thrown expletives or called names by strangers, acquaintances or relatives. This process often leads to a vicious cycle. We can be provoked in such a way that we feel angry & will express our anger thru the same means, i.e., verbal abuse. This is the cause of many quarrels.

 

Personal Injury

 

One of the greatest insults a person can receive is thru the form of physical violence. When we're hit, the natural response is to hit back. We can easily realize this if we observe the behavior of children at play. When we're physically attacked, one of our immediate responses is to fight back. The emotion that helps us to do this is anger, though sometimes, the emotion of fear over-rides this & we flee (also known as 'flight') instead of fight. Sometimes the victim fights back with violence or in self-defense; at other times, he or she harbors an anger that can't be expressed.

Meeting Expectations

When we meet with obstacles which prevent us from getting what we want or need, it's natural for us to feel angry. People become angry when their expectations aren't met.

Research shows that when people are closer to getting what they want, they are more liable to get angry when frustrated. They may also be angered whenever obstacles are placed in their paths toward attaining or obtaining their goals or desires.

Below are several instances which may make us angry when our expectations aren't met:

  • In the home, we may feel angry when they perceive their parents to be too much in control of the way we spend their time, especially in terms of curfews.

  • In love relationships, we may be angry with our partners for not understanding our needs or for not devoting sufficient concern or time.

  • In school, we may be angry with ourselves for not meeting our desired results.

  • Someone may persist in doing something that annoys us.

  • We may be unable to get what you want or need, such as insufficient money to purchase an item.

  • We may experience problems in mending articles, like fixing a faulty computer.

  • Someone may have broken his or her promise.

Modeling

It's possible that we ourselves may be more liable to mimicking angry behavior, when we're exposed to models of such behavior. Findings from research carried out on the influence of television on children have shown that violence on television programs tends to increase violent behavior in children watching them. We may watch a film showing a lot of anger & find ourselves getting angry more easily.

 

Modeling can take place not only thru the media but also in real life. There's evidence to suggest that angry behavior patterns tend to be transmitted from generation to generation. Likewise, if one watches his angry father in action, he may begin to act just like his father.

 

Culture

 

Close to modeling, how often we get angry & how we express our anger is largely determined by cultural influences. If we live in an environment where people get angry easily & express it in certain ways, it's likely that we will imitate.

Ways Of Handling Anger

 

There are many ways we choose to handle anger. We shall now examine some unhelpful ways, which many of us may have chosen & then the different preferred methods to handle anger.

 

Non-Beneficial Methods Of Handling Anger

 

Suppression: This is one common way of handling angry feelings, especially in societies where the public expression of angry feelings is considered to be socially undesirable or where overly assertive behavior isn't acceptable. In such societies, when we feel angry, we suppress our anger.

 
We may try to conceal our anger & put up a calm & pleasant front, while our inner self is very seething, with our anger unresolved.
 
When one does this regularly, it's quite inevitable that one will begin to develop physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach ulcers, or even asthmatic wheezing.
 
These are often termed psychosomatic symptoms. Psyche means mind or soul & soma means body. In other words, it's true that the state of our emotions does affect our physical health.

 

Many patients who see doctors for various physical complaints do have an emotional element related to their complaints. In such instances, when the patient becomes aware of his own emotional disturbance & tries to resolve it, his physical problem does seem to go away much more easily.

 

It's therefore unhelpful & even damaging, if we simply grit our teeth & do our best to conceal our anger without attempting to resolve it in an acceptable way.

Repression

 

Repression is closely related to suppression except that it's an "unconscious action." In suppression, we're "aware" of our anger though we try to hide it from others.

 

In repression, we're unaware of it. We're unaware of it due to some unconscious psychological defense mechanisms.

 

i.e., we may be angry with an unhelpful & uncooperative partner though we may deny it. Although we aren't "aware" of it, we are actually "harboring our anger" against the partner deep inside of us.

 

One day someone may irritate us slightly & we may be surprised to find a huge anger rising within us & we may even turn to physical violence.

 

What's happening here is that we're displacing our anger against our partner onto someone else.

 

On the other hand, it's also possible that we displace our anger onto ourselves in which case she'll become depressed. Some psychiatrists believe that depression is the result of anger turned inward.

 

Repression of our anger is thus unhelpful because it affects the way we function & relate with other people.

 

It distorts how we perceive others & how we respond to them. Repressing our feelings also takes a toll on our energy levels; we'll feel physically & emotionally drained.

 

 

Expression

Another method chosen by angry people to handle their feelings is by expressing them. In the past, therapists who believed that suppressing or repressing our anger was harmful began promoting the expression of our feelings as a healthy way to handle emotions.

 

People are encouraged to freely express their rage & other feelings which they would have normally suppressed or repressed. They may punch or kick pillows (which they imagine to be their enemies) or throw darts at photographs of people who get on their nerves. 

Research has shown that while people who are allowed to freely express their feelings may feel better for a while, their problems remain unresolved in the long run.

 

Expression of anger usually takes the form of aggressive behavior. It may result in physical violence.

 

On the other hand, an angry person may also choose to express his anger thru verbal abuse.

 

He may swear, call others names & shout at people. We probably have seen people behaving like this or we may even have chosen to express our anger this way at times. It's important that we reveal our feelings of anger & not hide it thru suppression or deny it thru repression.

 

However, to reveal our feelings may not be the same as giving free expression to those feelings. To learn how to vent our anger thru aggressive behavior is hazardous even though it may be directed at something or someone.

 

Beneficial Methods of Anger Handling

 

Processing Anger

 

On many occasions, it's very difficult to control our anger & we can't help becoming angry. It's partly a natural bodily response as we've seen.

 

However, we have the "choice" of how we wish to manage our anger. We may not be able to choose when & how we become angry but we can choose what we want to do with our anger.

 

Give Yourself Some Time

 

Time often helps us to see things in a better light. It also helps us to cool off. You may have heard of the advice given by some people on how we should handle anger: "Count up to ten". The usefulness of this advice lies in its allowing us to avoid immediate aggressive expression of anger.

 

When one gets angry, one is often tempted to let go by inflicting verbal or physical abuse.

 

This is often not helpful as it doesn't promote communication & the resolution of the underlying problems in situations & relationships. Instead, such responses aggravate the problem. Instead of talking & resolving their problems, people end up fighting.

 

In love relationships, the practice of counting up to ten is often helpful. It prevents volcanic eruptions of negative emotions such as anger. When we are very angry, we often say things or do things that we later regret. If we can have a cooling-off period, this can be reduced.

 

A better way of revealing our feelings that promotes communication is to be communicable to talk about our feelings. Some people are shy about revealing their feelings. Others are afraid of the reactions of others towards their self-revelation.

 

There are yet many others who don't know how to vocalize their feelings. There are two primarily skills that must be learned here. First, one must learn how to be assertive.

 

It's important that for a healthy relationship to exist, we reveal our thoughts & feelings.

 

We must develop some courage in sharing what we really think & feel.

 

Part of our struggle in being assertive is our fear of being rejected. This may be overcome to some extent by finding somebody who can make us feel accepted.

personal note: It's thru this choice that we have, to express our anger in a healthy or unhealthy manner that I must speak out to those of you who have experienced abuse in your past or present.
 
It's here that the dirt meets the road, when making a personal choice as to whether or not to tell the truth concerning your feelings, or whatever is being discussed between 2 people - or to lie - bringing "deceit" into the picture, which is harmful not only to the situation, but to the relationship with the other person & most importantly our relationship with our "self."
 
Most of us feel as though we're bad people when we don't tell the truth. We begin to "look down" on ourselves until this negativity escalates into self hate or self loathing; which causes us to treat ourselves badly in other ways as well.
 
Another important point to make here is that if we've been abused as children, emotionally & verbally abused, by being denied the opportunity to express anger at all - we may not know that this entire process as mentioned above is happening. It's all unconciously coming into play.
 
Then when we make the wrong choice - the defensive choice to lie or deceive - we once again are forced to falsely believe that we're inherently bad, not worthy of expressing ourselves, wrongly thinking that we don't deserve anyone to understand us or to communicate in a healthy manner with us.
 
It's all a catch 22 that is difficult to "see" until recovery begins from abuse & one begins to do emotion & feeling work!
 
It's increasingly difficult to feel good about yourself if you aren't telling the truth. If you're deceiving someone, even if it's as a "defense mechanism" because you don't feel safe; it's still harmful to our relationship with our self, because deceiving one's self isn't healthy. It's increasingly more difficult to respect one's self if there is constantly a choice to lie or deceive.
 
Abusive situations do make this "choice process" horribly difficult to cope with. It's here that one must learn to be aware of what's happening when we make a choice to lie or deceive. We must be concious of the harmful ramifications of this negative defense mechanism, which can also spur further abuse in the future, thus instilling even more fear within a relationship.
 
When you're in an abusive situation, things are happening so quickly & it's difficult to have clarity of thought. Often, victims of abuse have no clue concerning the ramifications of their choices in an abusive relationship. They're in "survival mode."
 
I urge those who are in abusive situations to leave their relationship as quickly as possible & do not return. I've been there & I understand your dilemma. Find out how to contact your community domestic violence shelter & do so as soon as possible. You may be saving your life &/or the life of your family members, friends & children.
 
kathleen 

Secondly, we must learn how to communicate our feelings effectively & positively.

 

We must be able to say things like,

 

"Hey what you have just said has made me feel angry. I wonder why you said that."

 

We can learn to say things like that that promotes real communication, instead of a statement like "I'm angry". Many people find that they feel better after communicating.

 

If the other person communicates some understanding & acknowledgement, they're well on the road to resolving their problem.

 
Remember that communication is a two-way process. It must be mutual.
 
When others communicate their own angry feelings, you must learn how to listen & acknowledge the presence of their feelings. This will encourage & strengthen the communication process.

 

(check into "feeling safe" because when we're able to control our reactions, encouraging the communication process - we promote a safe environment for sharing our feelings - thus encouraging trust as well.)

 

Dissolve Your Body's Angry Arousal

 

We saw earlier how the body develops certain arousal patterns when we get angry. The body is primed to fight or flight.

 

There are 2 things we can do physically to manage this arousal of the body.

 

1st, we can exercise the body & release the tension that's been built up in the body. The increased blood pressure & pulse rate is put to good use if you exercise your body. Moreover, physical exercise causes the human body to produce natural chemicals that make us feel emotionally well.

Learn How to Say "I'm Angry"

 

The purpose of the cooling-off period isn't to drive the angry feeling underground & to deny or suppress the emotion. Its real purpose is to give us time to find a creative & constructive way of communicating & revealing our angry feelings besides just expressing it.

 

One common problem that many people face is their failure to share with & reveal their feelings to others. One of the reasons is their lack of an emotional vocabulary.

 

They haven't been taught to identify, name & share their various feelings. We often reveal our feelings non-verbally.

 

i.e., we may slam the door or throw a plate on the floor. In this case, the opposite partner may choose to ignore our attempts to communicate our feelings or may himself be provoked to fight back with violent responses.

another personal note:
Some of us who've been victims of abuse & have escaped those abusive relationships in our lives, are trying to learn how to identify what we're feeling. It's very possible that you don't know "how to do anger!" 
 
Personally, I still don't know whether or not I'm angry because I was never allowed as a child to be angry. My father would say, "You don't have anything to be angry about, so shut up!"
 
Or he might say, "Wipe that look off of your face, you better not be angry with me, I'll give you something to be angry about if you want to be angry."
 
You've been stifled so many times that you're totally unaware of when you're feeling angry because you've stuffed it for so long. Remember that as soon as an angry feeling would register in your brain, instead of feeling angry, you forced it to "go away."
 
In emotion & feeling work, you learn the truth about anger. It's still difficult to identify it as a victim of abuse. Be patient with yourself & explain this feeling to others who you are close to. They may have never thought that you may be experiencing this. Choosing to open yourself up leads to learning how to feel safe with people & allows you to begin to develop a sense of trust with others.
 
kathleen

The second thing we can do is to learn to physically relax when we feel angry. When we do so, the body's arousal is reduced & we may not feel so angry.

 

At the same time, we are reducing the physical damage that may occur as a result of the unexpressed arousal of the body caused by anger. Exercise & relaxation are two lifetime habits that are very useful for a healthy lifestyle.

 

The Art of Forgiving

 

It's important not to harbor within us unresolved anger.

 

Such anger builds into resentment & hatred & affects us negatively. It'll harm our emotional & physical health.

 

We must learn therefore to resolve our angry feelings & keep short accounts as far as they're concerned. Learning how to communicate our feelings as we saw earlier usually does this. This may result in reconciliation with the offending party. On the other hand, it may not.

 

In such circumstances, we may have to learn how to forgive others.

 

It's been said that to forgive is to forget, which is quite true. To forgive is to accept that a wrong has been done & that it's made us angry.

 

A decision is then made to bury the offence & not let it bother or even destroy our peace. The danger of keeping accounts of the offences of others is that it'll build up within us & may one day erupt with the slightest provocation. It'll make us feel miserable & disrupt our various relationships.

 

Changing Our Perspective

Forgiveness is possible when we can change or alter our perspective of the situation or the person.

 

Sometimes, the person may be seen in a better perspective when we can change our perception; i.e., a mother may get very angry when her 4 year-old child messes himself up at the dining table.

But when she realizes that her child hasn't fully developed the coordination of his movements & that he's only 4 years old, she's able to respond more suitably.

 

Sometimes, the situation might look different when we reconsider our perspective. What may have initially looked like a crucial issue may turn out to be relatively unimportant.

 

We may therefore feel much less angry when we think in terms of our new perspective.

 

Humor goes a long way in helping us to look at situations in a refreshing way. An impatient motorist who horns at you & overtakes your car recklessly on the highway would naturally make you angry.

 

On the other hand, you may want to laugh at his impatient & foolish ways. You may see him further down the highway caught in the same traffic jam as you are.

 

Besides humor, you may also tell yourself that you don't wish to play his game: "If he wants to shorten his life thru such behavior, that's his business. I will not join him".

 

Changing our perspective can go a long way in helping us to, resolve our anger. If you're walking in a crowded department store & somebody punches you from behind, your immediate response would he anger.

 

You turn around, ready for some action & then realize that it was a close friend you hadn't met for some time who had given you a friendly punch. Your anger immediately dissolves & you engage in a friendly chat. This is the power of changing your perspective.

 

When To Seek Help

 

Anger isn't always easily resolved. All of us have had some struggles with it from time to time. But some have more difficulty coping with their angry feelings. When does one seek help?

 

You need help if you feel you can't cope with your anger. It may bother you in different ways. You may find yourself expressing your anger thru violent & aggressive means.

 

If you're physically abusing people, you need help. You may also find yourself losing your temper easily. This could be very disruptive to the way you function. You may find it very difficult to maintain healthy relationships because of this. You probably need help if this is the case.

 

Your anger may also show itself in the form of physical ailments. On the other hand, it may be turned inward in the form of depression. If you think that you have an underlying problem with anger that is causing physical or emotional problems, you may need help.

 

Who can you turn to for help? You may begin by speaking to a trusted & close friend & learn how to share your feelings. If you need further help, you may consult your doctor or seek help from a professional counselor.

continued on the above personal notes....
 
Victims of abuse or very poor parenting may identify anger with violent reactions. When no longer in an abusive situation, in trying to express anger, these people may act out violently because they've only known anger to be expressed violently. You may have heard a battered woman say, "He hit me because he was angry."
 
Think about this if you've been in an abusive relationship & try to not be so hard on yourself in trying to figure out why you're associating violence with anger. It'll all fall into place one day, just be kind to yourself. The Lord knows it's about time you learned to take care of yourself in a healthy manner!
 
kathleen

Self-Evaluation

It's also helpful to go through the process which triggers your anger. The following are some self-review questions:

  1. Identify an instance in your life when you felt very angry. Can you remember what it was that made you angry? What happened?
  2. How do you normally respond when you feel angry?
  3. In what way do you usually communicate your anger?
  4. Things that are unpleasant tend to capture our attention. What about when something goes right? Maybe someone made the extra effort not to irritate you?
  5. Complete the following sentences:

a) I feel angry when someone...

b) I feel angry when something...

c) When I feel angry, I...

d) When someone feels angry, I...

Dealing With Anger In Love Relationships

Why are we so blind to our partners' efforts? For one thing, it is hard to keep track of them. When he forgets to clean up after a midnight snack, for example, the evidence is in the sink in the morning. But how do you keep track of the times he does clean up? Infringements are not only easier to spot, but we look for them deliberately because they serve a purpose: they give us an excuse to cut back our own efforts.

They also give our anger justification. In long-term relationships, anger builds up over time & we sometimes feel irate without an immediate cause. It's uncomfortable to be angry for no reason, so we look for evidence, like detectives searching for clues to make a suspicion true. Unfortunately, finding fault not only creates resentment, it stops us from appreciating each other.

In love & family relationships, frustration can also often result in anger. People have several expectations & needs in such relationships.

When they're not met, they feel frustrated & angry. A tired working wife may expect her husband to help out in the kitchen in the evenings & if he doesn't, she may get angry easily. Parents might feel frustrated that their child isn't performing well in school & express anger when the child brings home a mediocre or poor report card.

Advice / Suggestions

Working at a relationship means doing what is in the best interest of two, even if it doesn't come naturally. To stick with it, we need to see our partner struggle as hard as we do. In the end, what counts isn't what we do to each other, but what we do for & with each other.

The following are suggested practices which we can follow:

  • Working at a relationship means doing what is in the best interest of two, even if it doesn't come naturally. To stick with it, we need to see our partner struggle as hard as we do. In the end, what counts isn't what we do to each other, but what we do for & with each other.

·         Think about

o        Has he/she done something specifically to make you happy?

o        Has tried to curb an annoying habit?

o        Made a nice gesture?

·                     When expressing dissatisfaction, be gentle & stay away from absolutes like ‘you never’.

·                     Pay attention to both you & the other person’s efforts. Acknowledge the efforts, be obvious about your appreciation.

·                     It's far easier to work on a relationship if both parties focus on the other's efforts as well as their own. To help couples do this, they're encouraged to answer the following questions. It helps them shift from disapproval to appreciation:

·                     What specific gestures have you seen your partner make to improve the relationship?

·                     Can you think of an incident where he did something on your behalf?

·                     Has she done anything she didn't really want to do just to make you happy?

·                     Has he held back from saying things you don't?

·                     Has she controlled herself when she might have done something you can't stand?

·                     Has he tried to change a habit or behavior pattern that you've complained about?

·                     To aid the process of developing appreciation, couples must make their efforts concrete.

·                     When you think your partner isn't doing his or her share, ask yourself whether being resentful & fault -finding will help you or your relationship.

·                     Practice the Three A's: awareness, appreciation & acknowledgment.

·                     Be aware of your partner's efforts. Try to notice the little things he or she does for the good of the relationship.

·                     Appreciate that those efforts demand compromise & sacrifice & that your partner loves you enough to try.

·                     Acknowledge your partner's contributions. Don't keep your appreciation to yourself.

·                     After you establish a track record using the Three A's, you might find that your partner's behavior spontaneously changes.

·                     If you still feel short-changed by your partner's lack of effort, ask yourself if your objections are fair & reasonable.

·                     If they are, try to express any hurt & frustration you might feel without sounding critical.

·                     Tell your partner what changes you would like him to make. Ask if he thinks these changes are fair & reasonable & if he is willing to make the effort.

·                     Ask him if there are any changes he would like to see you

negative coping mechanisms used with anger...

Some things to NOT do when you're angry:

·         calling one another hurtful names

  • being sarcastic
  • blaming
  • using criticism to make a point
  • walking out
  • lecturing
  • getting physical

None of the above Methods of Dealing w/Anger Are ACCEPTABLE

Getting to Know Yourself Better

Easing Up On Yourself is a good place to start.

Get a Sense of Timing for when anger usually develops. If you & your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night; it could be that you're too tired, distracted with other problems or it's just become habit.

Make a concerted effort to change the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments. Sit down with your spouse & determine when the best time to discuss problems is.

Avoidance: If your child's messy room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door.

  • Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you.
  • Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!"

That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finding Alternatives: If your daily commute thru traffic leaves you in a state of rage & frustration, give yourself the project to learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.

Better Communication may avoid anger or cut it short

Angry people tend to jump to & act on conclusions; with of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion:

  • Slow down & think thru your responses
  • Don't say the first thing that comes into your head
  • Listen carefully to what the other person is saying & take your time before answering

"The REAL PROBLEM."

  • You like a certain amount of freedom & personal space. Your "significant other" wants more connection & closeness.
  • He or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.

It's totally natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected & unloved.

Using listening skills constructively can guard against erupting anger between 2 people in a heated situation.

It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part & it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger or a partner's let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

Sometimes, it's a good idea to come to an agreement beforehand that if someone is angry about something, it's time for instant negotiations between the two parties to solve the problem that's causing the anger.

Anger Articles

Anger As A Tool

Anger's Gift

Emotions in Relationships

Anger: Path to Awareness

 

Following Anger & Desire

 

Anger & Aggression ~ Signs of anger, theories about how & why aggression develops & means of preventing or coping w/anger (in yourself & in others).  Chapter 7 of online book, Psychological Self-Help.

 

Anger in Our Teens & in Ourselves ~ Teen & family anger, the forms & underlying reasons of angry behavior, identifying & managing anger & what parents can do. 

 

Managing Anger: Understanding the Dynamics of Violence, Abuse, & Control ~ Managing anger is no simple matter. It's a powerful emotion & our patterns of relations that involve anger, which are established in childhood, are difficult to change.

 

 

a personal note: i've been thinking overtime about emotions lately...

as far as anger goes...

 

if you have been raised in anger.... you will perpetuate it

 

if you have been living in anger - your chldren will be angry

 

learn how to overcome anger....

 

there are so many more beautiful emotions to feel

 

When we feel energized by anger, we might ask ourselves how we put this energy to the most productive use. As w/the use of other forms of energy such as electricity or oil, we might want to use it efficiently, not wastefully.

 

 

what to do about feeling angry...

 

once we recognize our anger, what do we do with it?

 

Responding To & Learning From Anger

Anger is an intense emotion. It's evidence that we feel strongly about something. As w/every emotion, it's a lesson for us. It can teach us to identify what we valueneed, lack, believe & what our insecurities are. It can help us become more aware of what we feel strongly about & which emotional needs are important to us.

what you can do about anger

1. Recognize the fear driving your anger

Since fear is the engine that drives you to do such things such as hit, yell, or scream at someone, ask yourself, "What am I fearing right now?"

  • Do you fear the person who will not do or say what you want?
  • Do you feel anxious when you're not in control?
  • Recognize that your need to control may be unrealistic & counter-productive.  

If anxiety about a situation is great, you may have difficulty dealing w/the anger from this particular reason & you'll probably need to work very hard on this anxiety. Once you do, you'll be able to master your fear & anger more effectively.   Find the source.

2. Finding the source...

Try to step outside of the anger to begin to look at it in a different manner. Get to know this anger from a different perspective. Study it, research it to find its roots. Looking at anger from this perspective, slightly distanced from it may open new avenues of thinking for you.

You may need to look back throughout your life, even as far back as your childhood. Focus on things that may have made you angry in the past & examine those situations again, until you feel you're pinpointing crisis situations, that may have "triggered" your anger. Ask yourself whom you were angry with.

 

Anger Is Not A Dirty Word

Anger Is A Valuable Tool For Self Expression 

Anger allows us to be clear about what we Do & Do Not Prefer in our lives.

Some Causes of Anger

  • 1. Not getting needs met
  • 3. Lack of information.
  • 4. Unexpected change.
  • 7. Not having a choice.

Tips for Calming Down

  • Pick your battles. Sometimes the issue isn't worth the anger, or worth arguing about.
  • Take a deep breath; count to 10. Think about the issue before a single word comes out of your mouth.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Use self-talk to calm down. That is, say something soothing to yourself such as: I need to relax & stay calm. I can't afford to blow up.
  • Reframe the issue. i.e., when your son says something rude to you, it may be less a matter of him disrespecting you than a sign that he has a problem w/his anger. Framing it this way, you focus on the fact that he needs your help in overcoming this problem.
  • Use humor. Humor can sometimes be a good way to calm anger, but be sure not to use sarcasm, which can sometimes be hurtful.

Improve your self-esteem:

Everyone experiences anger at times. It's normal. Positive & healthy self-esteem is vital to resisting the use of anger. Self-esteem improves when you look to the good w/in you & not to the bad, flawed or inadequate.

Practice Letting Go:

Letting go is the key to freeing yourself from excessive anger. Our culture focuses on maintaining control rather than teaching us the art of letting go. By letting go, you'll actually gain control over yourself.

When you become aware of excessive anger w/in you, you can begin to talk to yourself in a different way. You may want to consider forgiving whoever made you angry.

Forgiveness can expel the negative energy w/in you & allow you to start to move forward in your thinking. i.e., you might say to yourself:

  • I can let go & it's okay. Letting go doesn't mean I'm out of control.
  • I can let go & still feel in control. Letting go makes me feel better, that'll make the situation better.
  • I don't need anger to change this person or situation. Anger isn't controlling me; I'm the master of my anger.
  • I'm not an angry person. Anger is destructive. 

be prepared for anger 

Being prepared means to think about your behavior & thoughts. Be conscious of how things make you feel. Don't simply push the anger down deep inside when it develops. If you're in a situation when anger usually occurs, prepare yourself for it by being mindful that it may develop.

Write down or make a mental note when you frequently feel excessive anger or express it either outwardly toward others or inwardly toward yourself.

Become aware of the circumstances that trigger your anger. That way when the situation arises, you'll be better able to make a positive change in yourself. You may not always succeed, but you'll make progress, especially when you have small successes.

Use "I" messages:

"I" messages are powerful ways to communicate w/other people when you're angry, upset or hurt.

"I" messages can defuse a potentially explosive situation & are a good alternative to verbally abusing another person. "I" messages don't put the other person involved in a defensive position. This may allow them to "listen" to your feelings more readily & not be reactionary.

Typically, "I" messages take the form of telling the person how you feel because of what they did or didn't do.

"I" messages focus on behavior, not the person as a human being. i.e., a common anger expression might be:

"You idiot! Where have you been all night! You're such a stupid, no good, kid! I hate you! Get out of my sight!

i.e., an "I" message can take the form of, when you don't call me or let me know when you're coming home, I feel hurt & unimportant in your life. It's important for you to call me. I know you want to be independent, but let's discuss boundaries & limits. I don't hate you. I'm upset w/your behavior. Unfortunately for you, there are limits & we need to talk about consequences.

"I" messages should express how you are affected by another's behavior.

Avoid "Shoulds":

Mentally setting overly tight boundaries for yourself & others, by constantly saying that people "should be" getting something other that what they are - generates frustration & anger.

People are what they are. Change is possible, but acceptance is key to stress mastery. Engaging in these "shouldisms" is often self destructive & usually harmful to your relationship w/others. Some examples of "shoulds" to avoid are:

  • She/he should be more loving.
  • When I walk into a room, people should immediately say hello to me.
  • When I assigned her the job, she should've completed it right away.
  • He should love his parents more. He should visit them more often.
  • They should show me more respect. After all, I'm their superior & I deserve it.

i'm not angry

 

i'm not really mad at what you've done

it's really fine with me

 

that you could hurt me so

and not even feel a thing

 

just apply another bandaid

on my very scarred scarred self

 

it's just another injury...

that you choose to cast upon me

 

i wonder why i don't get mad

i expect you to be mean

 

i remain in wait of more attempts

to wrack my soul with grief

 

i don't get mad

i just expect you always to be mean

 

so why when things are quiet

do i spit upon your name?

 

in little tempting moments

i despise you both and blame

 

i blame you for your contempt to ruin

the love that was so pure

 

i hate the fact that you think you won

and have no conscience sure

 

i know that when the heavens call

your name when it's your time

 

i know that then you'll understand

how empty feels inside

 

some say that it's forgiveness

that we offer to retrieve

 

our life, our love, our inner self

but forgiveness i don't need

 

i don't need to give forgiveness

because i don't get mad at all

 

i just accept the hurt you choose

to impale upon my soul

 

kathleen

anger recognized - past denial - making positive changes

Here are some ways to deal with anger without resorting to violence:

  • Learn to talk about your feelings if you're afraid to talk or if you can't find the right words to describe what you're going thru. Find a trusted friend or adult to help you 1 on 1.

  • Express yourself calmly - express criticism, disappointment, anger or displeasure without losing your temper or fighting. Ask yourself if your response is safe & reasonable.

  • Listen to others - listen carefully & respond without getting upset when someone gives you negative feedback. Ask yourself if you can really see the other person's point of view.

  • Negotiate - work out your problems with someone else by looking at alternative solutions & compromises.

Anger is part of life, but you can free yourself from the cycle of violence by learning to talk about your feelings. Be strong. Be safe. Be cool.

anger due to dysfunction in families

What is the anger reaction to loss in a dysfunctional family?

  • Anger at having to strive so hard & to be so good.

  • Anger at living in a family that needs so much & gives back so little.

  • Anger at parents for being so critical & irritable when one is trying so hard.

  • Anger at self for constantly discounting one's own needs & selling out to other's demands.

  • Anger at parents for not caring about me.

  • Anger at a troubled person in the family for engaging in a dependency behavior.

  • Anger at family members who conspire to belittle & manipulate the troubled person.

  • Anger at self for causing a problem for self & others.

How is anger often dealt with in a dysfunctional family?

  • To maintain a "good" son or daughter image, one must not show anger toward parents but must bury the feelings (anger in), which feeds guilt & depression.

  • Submerged anger leads to being vigilant for any attacks (real or perceived) on self. This provides a stimulus to draw the anger feelings to the surface, resulting in overreaction. "Your anger in this situation is disproportionate to the importance of the event."
  • Self-hatred leads to turning off feelings, which can lead to projection & blaming others for the problems.
  • Anger leads to rage that leads to severe punishing of the troubled person or other family members.

anger in relationships... Anger is a form of communication, which tells your partner your perception of what has happened or what was said. Anger is a normal & spontaneous reaction. Some of us choose to withhold our expression of anger, in an attempt to maintain peace & tranquility in our relationships.

The more we withhold feelings instead of letting them out, the more likely we are to have an angry outburst as the pressure builds inside.

It's wise to know your mate's true feelings at all times. You honestly may not be aware of how your actions may hurt, belittle or offend the ones you love. Sometimes it takes an expression of anger to get your attention.

Expressing anger, however, shouldn't be confused with attacking your partner.

Anger Management

"Calmness of the mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It's the result of long & patient effort in self control...The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater his success, his influence & his power for good."

Dr. Phillip Welsh author of Seven Essentials of Health  

Anger is normal & a healthy energizing response to real intrusions. Co-workers & people in our lives can cross our boundaries, we can drive 10 miles to pick up something only to find it's not there & we weren't called. Memories of traumatic events can also trigger temporary angry feelings. Anger is a normal feeling in response to situations like these.

But anger that lasts too long or happens too frequently probably indicates a need to learn anger management skills.

Easily angered people don't always curse & throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill. Research has found that, typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic & not skilled at emotional communications.

Unfortunately, growing up we often learn it's NOT correct to express anger or even feel angry. Some of us learn it isn't OK to express our REAL feelings (Real men don't cry) but observe our parents expressing plenty of anger. As a result some of us don't learn constructive anger management skills at all.  

Here are some signs of the need for anger management:

    • Cussing or swearing a lot, using high drama descriptions
    • Feeling frustrated a lot
    • Constantly putting others down
    • Criticizing everything
    • A low ability to put oneself in another person's feelings
    • Chronically irritable or grumpy
    • Seeing the dark side of things more often than the bright side
    • Often making cynical comments
    • Often thinking or saying, "That's horrible."
    • Often thinking or saying, "Everything's ruined."
    • Often thinking or saying, "That g**d** boss/machine/person."
    • Often reacting w/ high drama
    • Often using "always" or "never" about yourself or others
    • Often demanding & expecting (instead of asking & waiting) to get something from someone or get something done by someone
    • Often responding to hurts w/ anger instead of responding w/ hurt

    Not surprisingly, people who have trouble managing anger aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

     

    Anger management strategies include a restructuring of the way one views & thinks about life situations & more. Here are some widely-recommended anger management approaches see links below for more details:

    • Relaxation daily. One needs to control the physical response as well as the emotional. Meditation, prayer, relaxation techniques; all serve to lower the heart rate.
    • Soothe yourself throughout the day: Say "Relax, you're OK, everything's going to be all right, take it easy."
    • Replace cussing & high drama w/non-intense words: "It's just a little frustrating but we'll fix it," or "It's not the end of the world."
    • Learn good communication skills - you might be saying things that unwittingly cause some of your own frustrations. See verbalabuse.com, or look for "conflict resolution techniques" books & web sites.
    • Replace emotion w/logical observation: "The toaster broke. I need to put that on my list."
    • Start using positive expressions: "We'll get there", "Inch by inch it's a cinch." "What can I accomplish w/this extra time?"
    • Don't demand, ask & don't expect, listen: "Would you have time to do such & such?"
    • Say "I would like" instead of "I must have." "I would like" mentally gives you more time to get it, reducing frustration.
    • Postpone problem-solving, you don't need to find a solution this minute. Be like Scarlett O'Hara. Say, "Oh well I'll think about that tomorrow."
    • Postpone responses in conversations. Physically stop your tongue & breath, especially in heated discussions. You don't need to say anything at all. Say, "I'm thinking about it" or "I need more time to digest that," or "Interesting, I'll have to think about that."
    • Develop empathy. When someone criticizes you focus on them & their feelings & try to imagine how they're feeling. The ability to empathize w/others quickly on the spot is the hallmark of emotional maturity.
    • Make humor a priority. Read jokes, watch funny movies, try to incorporate laughing into your daily routine. This diffuses situations that used to make you tense & defensive.
    • Eliminate sarcasm & sarcastic humor from your mind & your daily exposure.
    • Give yourself a break - especially after work. Transition time alone will go a long way to help you REMEMBER all of the above!  

    When you have a situation that legitimately has caused you anger, here's a quick lesson on how to handle it constructively, describe & set boundaries:

    i.e., Say to the person: "When you (fill in a behavior), I feel (name the feeling or emotion i.e.,stressed, scared, frustrated, overwhelmed) & to protect myself I will _________(fill in the blank w/the choice you have decided upon i.e., leave the house, ask you to stop...).

    Living with chronic anger is miserable, but it's worse for those around you. Fortunately, it's easy to fix! Why not get started today w/a positive attitude & a relaxed approach to life?

    "It's plain that a life that includes deep resentment leads only to futility & unhappiness....to live we had to be free of anger."

    Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

    Replace a bad habit with a good one: Get in the habit of laughing! .

  • Angry People Are Happy People

    After faking my own drowning death in 1969, my family went to a memorial service for me...... & I went to Las Vegas.

    Hoping for a job in one of the casinos, I passed myself off as "Cash Cordell" - Cameron Cash Cordell, that is.

    I made up a story about being the illegitimate son of a San Diego sailor. I told people my mom’s maiden name was "Cash" & that she had given me the last name of her first husband.

    That was the beginning of a 3 year odyssey of living under other names & lying to people every day of my life. There were only 4 true things that I told people about myself; my height, weight, color of hair & color of eyes.

    I lived a perpetual lie, day in & day out.

    Under other names, I borrowed money from banks, was bonded by an insurance company & was even invited to the Inaugural ball for Governor Winfield Dunn in Tennessee.

    I said all of that to get one point across - "I’m familiar w/the world of lies & deception." Billions of lies are being believed every day.

    For instance: many of my reader’s believe that the title of this article is the truth. They believe that angry people are happy people! You probably believe that, too!

    Whoa, Charlie, don’t get carried away with your reaction to my words. You just might trap yourself. I talked with a woman about a messed up portion of her life. I asked her if she ‘wanted to be happy’. She said, "Sure! Who doesn’t?"

    So, I showed her how her reactions to other people’s problems was making her unhappy. I told her she couldn’t keep having those same kinds of reactions & still be happy. I asked her again, "Do you really want to be happy?"

    She said she did, but I told her I thought she was lying to me & to herself.

    A few days later, she came storming into my office, madder than a plucked turkey. She started telling me all about the latest episode in someone else’s life & how it infuriated her. I started dancing around, singing -  

    Angry people are happy people, happy people, happy people; angry people are happy people, so let’s all be angry now-w-w!

    It’s a proven fact that people can't truly laugh & stay angry at the same time. So, if you can keep from reacting in anger to an angry person, you stand a chance of calming them down.

    If you can then succeed in making them laugh - right in the middle of their tirade, it'll break the spell & they can start drifting back to normal.

    But, you had better watch out! If a person doesn’t want to give up their anger, your shenanigan's will only make them madder. It can backfire! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    Anyway, after goofing off for a while & trying to lighten up the situation, I asked this woman, "Do you want to be happy?" She said, "Yes" & I shook my head & declared, " I don’t think so. I think you’re lying to me."

    I went on to explain, saying, "Either you want to be happy or you want to be angry - now which is it?" She glared at me & said, "Right now, I want to be angry!" Immediately, I threw up my hands & responded: "Hey, that’s fine. It doesn’t make any difference to me. I’m not going to say you can’t be angry if that’s really what you want. But, the other day, you told me you wanted to be happy, so which is it. Do you want to be happy or angry?"

    You can’t have both at the same time!

    I made it severely plain that for every minute she chose to remain angry, she was taking away a minute of her own happiness. At that moment, I don’t think she minded making that sacrifice.

    But, I pointed out the fact that this was not a one-time thing. What she allows today she will allow tomorrow & the next day & 180 more times during the year.

    If you piled up all the angry moments that a person lives - from the time they are kids until old age - you'd have a mountain of unhappiness staring you in the face.

    We allow it because it happens in bits & pieces & comes upon us at unexpected times. We give in once, twice & then 20 times, until angry responses become a habit & a way of life to us.

    This lady is a nice lady. She is friendly & has a nice personality - most of the time. But, she admits that anger often kidnaps her mind & forcefully carries her away. Can anyone say they enjoy being held captive by a person or by an emotion?

    I asked her if she wanted to ‘be that way the rest of her life’ & she emphatically answered, "No!"

    Others have told me the same thing, but then they can’t tell me one thing they're doing to ‘become different’. These things don’t just ‘go away’ on their own. People don’t just ‘accidentally’ overcome a character flaw or an emotional weakness.

    Several years ago, my wife & 3 kids were washed downstream in our big Dodge Polara. The headlights bobbed up & down in the water. My wife remembered reading about 2 men who had drowned in just such an incident only 2 weeks earlier.

    How could she save herself & 3 kids? If she could only save one, which one would she save? These & many other questions came flooding thru her mind.

    As she & the children prayed, the back tire caught on a submerged bridge & they were able to climb out onto the bridge & walk to safety.

    From then on, she hated low-water crossings, but hating something doesn't change it! You can’t accidentally resolve problems like that. Bridges don’t just jump across low water crossings. It takes premeditated planning. It takes time, money, knowledge, sweat & toil.

    Hating the way you are will never change you. It’s going to cost you something to find the real root & source of your particular kind of anger. There isn't just one solution that fits all. So, let me ask, "Do you want to be just like you are - for the rest of your life?"

    Do you look forward to more & more years of those merry-go-round cycles you're locked into?

    If you said, "No!" to both of those questions, I'd almost dare to say you're lying to yourself. I'd have to say, "You want to be like you are more than you want to take the time & the effort to find the ways to change the inner mechanisms that make you like you are.

    Ahhhh, but you've already tried & nothing works - right?

    What would you say if I told you some people ‘want’ to keep their chronic headaches? They say they can’t stand them. The headaches make them miserable.

    So, why don’t they get tested for food allergies, or see if they're caused by sinus problems?

    Do they have dust mites, mold or mildew in their home & is one of those the cause?

    What about hormonal imbalances, eye strain or emotional stress & tension?

    Could a chiropractic adjustment bring relief?

    Is it a high blood pressure or a low blood sugar problem?

    Have they tried all the headache medications?

    How about natural enzymes, minerals or vitamins?

    Would massage therapy or acupuncture help?

    I let someone read the original draft of this article. They got upset & said, "You can’t say people ‘wanttheir headaches. Some of them have tried everything & still can’t get rid of them.

    I’m sure that’s true & the person who said that had tried lots of ways & means to be free from headaches. But, they admitted that they hadn't tried everything. Sure, I know - it’s just too much of a bother to go to all that trouble & expense to be ‘headache free’.

    Headache cures are an elusive thing, because so many different things can be the cause. So, do headaches make people happy? Would they be happier without the headaches?

    Why don’t they try ‘a little harder’ to be headache free & to ‘Be Happy"?

    Whether it’s headaches, anger or something else that’s robbing you of happiness, don’t let hopelessness keep you from trying one more thing. Swallow your pride - go for help. Somebody has been where you are & someone has some answers.

    We can all say we want happiness - but not many of us want it bad enough to really reach for it - not enough to struggle for it - not enough to sacrifice a few other things to get it.

    We're either lying to ourselves or we're being swept downstream in a flood of doubt, unbelief, pride, frustration, laziness or sheer apathy.

    I’m aware that some people can’t afford a diligent search. Poverty makes their situation seem hopeless. I know some things are incurable & some problems seem unsolvable. I’m not a cruel, sadistic creep.

    I’m not trying to kick a cripple & laugh at him because he can’t walk. I know some people have deep emotional disabilities which can’t be changed. They can't be any different than they are, no matter how much they try.

    If that’s really the case in your life, then I apologize for all these words. I’m sorry. I’m not aiming them at you. I was merely trying to reach those other people. The ones who lack the motivation to try; the ones who could do something to make their lives different, if they only would.

    But, even if you feel like your situation is hopeless, I’m here to tell you there's always ‘hope’ for a miracle. I’ve read hundreds of stories of sick or disabled people who went thru hell trying to find the right specialist who could help them.

    After going to 7 clinics, 13 quacks & 45 reputable doctors, you'd think they'd give up, but many of them didn’t quit. They eventually found the one doctor or the one medicine which would help.

    Every day, new stories of phenomenal experiences are being lived out. Cripples are receiving new limbs. People born blind are having operations which give them sight. Parents are finding children that were given away at birth.

    Adopted kids are successfully finding their biological parents. The location of the Titanic has been discovered & it's coming up from the depths of the sea - bit by bit & piece by piece.

    Miracles of accomplishment & emotional healing are taking place every day - by those who diligently seek for the miracles they want. Where is your miracle? Look for it!

    Yes, it's possible for an angry man to finally ‘be at peace’ within himself & then for the whole family to ‘be at peace’ among themselves.

    If it's possible, who's going to reach for it?

    I’m not an expert on ‘Anger management’ - but, I've learned a few things about controlling necessary anger & using it for good. I’ve also discovered a few ‘tricks of the trade’ in eliminating much of the unnecessary anger that plagues people’s lives.

    I don’t have the time or space to share those things with you right now, but I want you to know: It's possible for your life to go into ‘PEACE MODE’ - ON A REGULAR BASIS! And then - your influence can bring peace & happiness to many.

    My main objective today was to find out if you REALLY WANT TO BE HAPPY or if you are merely ‘blowing smoke’. I wanted you to realize that you can’t be angry & happy at the same time.

    I hope you find out what your real ‘wants’ are. Ask yourself the question: "Do I want to be angrier than I am now or happier than I am now?" Start walking or ‘thumbing’ your way in the direction you really want to go & toward the goal you really want to reach.

    If your goal is to be ‘angrier’, that’s no problem. Simply start getting angry more often about more things & stay angry a lot longer than normal. In just a short time, you'll be able to turn yourself into a really angry animal.

    If your goal is to be ‘happier,’ then simply get angry less often, about fewer things & when you do get angry - talk yourself out of it as soon as you can. Minimize the strength & the duration of inevitable anger.

    Keep making those improvements - over & over again. Pretty soon, you'll have developed some ‘happy habits’ of life. You'll have built up some good ‘automatic responses’ to bad circumstances.

    Determine that the stupidity of others isn't going to rob you of your happiness. Break out in laughter at things that used to send you into a rage. Learn to accept life for what it is & not for what you want it to be. Learn to accept people for who they are & not for what you think they should be.

    Practice being calm while others are uptight, tense & angry. Be at peace within yourself while others are manufacturing storm clouds of wrath within the reservoir of their own misery.

    Don’t become miserable just because others are. Pity them, be sympathetic & show them some kindness they may not deserve. They will calm down eventually.

    No storm can last forever. Even hurricanes wear themselves out & die down. An angry man can't possibly sustain ‘high anger’ indefinitely.

    Outlast him. Show him you can stay calm longer than he can stay angry!

    Find a creative way to deal w/your kids. Discipline doesn’t have to be hard on you or distasteful to them. Change the tone of your voice. Refuse to argue or scream. Plan your reactions to unwanted behavior, before it erupts.

    There is a way to develop pre-meditated happiness! Think. Think about it! Just think. If you can’t think - then, buy 6 books & read. Let someone else do the thinking & tap into their creative experiences.

    Try to be at least ‘5 minutes happier’ each day for at least 3 days out of every week. By the end of the year you'll notice the difference in your life.

    If you can double that amount every year - for 10 years - you'll be much, much happier than you are right now.

    Handling Blocks to Anger

    What happens when anger is blocked?

    When my anger is blocked I:

     

    ·        feel depressed & don't know why I'm so down.

    ·        cry easily, even uncontrollably at times for no apparent reason.

    ·        feel sad.

    ·        find myself being chronically hostile, pessimistic, or unfriendly.

    ·        can be very sarcastic, caustic, or cynical.

    ·        find myself going in circles in regard to personal growth, with little hope for success in the future.

    ·        deny that I even have anger.

    ·        resent suggestions from others to work on my anger.

    ·        am confused by what others describe as anger in their lives.

    ·        refuse to accept that anger is an important tool for personal growth.

    ·        joke about the value of anger in my life.

    ·        resist those things that make me feel uncomfortable or ill at ease.

    ·        experience physical distress.

    ·        feel exhausted, weak, lethargic, or disinterested in life.

    ·        am afraid of anger expressed in my presence.

    What are blocks to anger?

    Blocks to anger can be varied, including :

    Belief that anger is bad. Since I believe that all expressions of anger are bad, wrong, undesirable & unhealthy, I believe that the way to be healthy is never to allow myself to get angry.

    Naiveté or lack of knowledge. Being sheltered, ignored, pampered, spoiled, or overly coddled can protect me from anger in my life, leading me to believe innocently that there "is never a reason to get angry.''

    • Guilt. Feeling such severe guilt, remorse & self-denigration for past expressions of anger inhibits me from identifying, expressing, or experiencing current anger.
    • Depression. Experiencing a flat affect, lack of interest in life, lack of enthusiasm, or energy, or constant sadness can dull my emotional response to life, leaving me unable to experience or express authentic anger.
    • Pollyanna outlook on life. Wanting only to look at or remember the "bright'' or "happy'' side inhibits me from tuning into the realities of life, past or present, that deserve my anger.
    • Fear of conflict or confrontation. Recognizing that if I express my anger, I open myself up for others to disagree with, criticize, or confront me with their anger.
    • Desire to be a good role model. Believing that anger is unhealthy for our children, subordinates, or work colleagues I choose never to express anger in their presence.
    • Need to entertain or be humorous. Always wanting to keep others from focusing on the negative aspects of reality leads me to ignore, inhibit, or fail to experience anger.
    • Lack of clarity about what is authentic anger. Always second guessing whether or not my feelings of anger are valid will eventually leave me in an anger vacuum
    • Feeling ridiculous. Considering anger work-out exercises to be silly, foolish, or childish will result in my inability to experience the true emotion of anger & its cathartic release during these therapeutic work-out sessions.
    • Overuse of medication. By addictive drinking, drug use, sex, gambling, food intake, shopping, etc., I can so medicate my emotional response to life that I'm unable to recognize or experience authentic anger
    • Why would anyone be unable to express anger?

    anger blocks are developed in many ways, including:

    ·         living in a dysfunctional family of origin.

    ·         being the codependent of a troubled person, one addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, etc.

    ·         experiencing a traumatic life event perceived as being caused by the expression of anger

    ·         getting no positive response to my past expressions of anger.

    ·         the resistance to change in life.

    ·         the unwillingness to be open to alternative modes of expressing feelings.

    ·         a lack of desire to become vulnerable & unmask anger for what it really is.

    ·         insecurity in my life, in my relationships, in my family, or at work.

    ·         a lack of trust that others will accept me the way I really am.

    ·         a sense of inferiority:

    How can blocks to anger be overcome?

    Blocks to anger can be overcome by:

    • self-confrontation as to how I'm feeling about the negative aspects of my past & current life

    • giving myself permission to take the risk of making a fool of myself by participating in anger work-out activities

    • keeping a daily log of my feelings including how my day has been & recording the negative aspects & my feelings about each one.

    • role playing an angry confrontation in a caring environment with my support group.

    • yelling at the top of my lungs to loosen up emotional expression whenever I'm driving.

    • learning to be assertive

    • expressing my negative feelings appropriately to the others in my life.

    • working on my self-esteem & self-worth so that I believe it's OK for me to be angry.

    • redefining anger as a necessary tool for my personal growth & improved mental health.

    • accepting that anger is a necessary step in grieving & accepting the losses in my life.

    • reminding myself that I deserve the benefits of the expression & resolution of authentic anger.

    What steps can be taken to overcome blocks to anger?

    Step 1: I need to review What happens when anger is blocked?, (above) then answer the following questions in my journal.

    A. How often is my anger blocked?

    B. How's my experience of past anger different from my experience of current anger? Is one blocked more than the other? Why?

    C. How would my life be different if my anger were no longer blocked?

    D. How's overcoming blocked anger important to my happiness?

    E. How do I feel about dealing with blocked anger?

    F. How free do I feel to pursue overcoming the blocks to my anger? What's holding me back?

    Step 2: After exploring the results of blocked anger, I need to review What are blocks to anger? (above) & answer these questions in my journal:

    A.  What blocks exist for my past anger?

    B.  What blocks exist for my current anger?

    C.  Are the blocks identified in questions A & B the same? Different?

    (1)  If the same: Why & what does this tell  me about my personality?

    (2)  If different: Why & what happened in my life to change the way I deal with angerr?

    D.  Which blocks to my anger could be overcome? Which ones seem impossible to overcome?

    E. How willing am I to work at overcoming the difficult or seemingly impossible blocks to my anger?

    Step 3: After identifying my blocks to anger, I'm ready to speculate on how these blocks came into existence. I'll answer the following questions in my journal:

    A. How was anger dealt with in my family of origin? How did this affect my own expression of anger?

    B. How does my behavioral style, developed in my family of origin, influence the way I handle anger? Which blocks to anger are characteristics of my personality style?

    C. How have my relationships with troubled persons affected the way I handle anger?

    D. How have negative experiences with the expression of anger in the past influenced how I handle anger now?

    E. What would happen to my relationships if my blocks to anger disappeared? Example: family members, peers, professional associates, loved ones.

    F. What are my greatest fears about unblocking my anger? How do these fears hold me back? How do they keep my anger blocked?

    Step 4: Having recognized the sources of my blocks to anger, I'm now ready to develop a plan of action to unblock my anger.

    Outline for Unblocking Anger

    1.  Blocks to my anger include:

    2. To unblock my anger daily I will:

    3. The following "support'' people will help me unblock my anger:

    4. My efforts to unblock my anger will be recorded in my journal daily.

    5. To measure my success in unblocking my anger I'll make the following changes in my personal habits, emotions & activities.

    Step 5: If my anger is still blocked, I'll go back to Step 1 & begin again.

    Anger as a Symptom in Mental Illness

     

    personal note: Because of my own personal concerns regarding the recognition of mental illness - I think the following info could be of help to you. 

     

    The relationship between our emotional states & the possibilities that one could be experiencing a mental illness / disorder - could mean that the emotional state is a symptom of a mental illness/disorder.

     

    I've included this information as a beginning opportunity for those of you who either do or don't suspect a mental illness or disorder because of an emotional problem might begin to "recognize" the need for further investigation.

    it's in the news!

     

    Anger May Be Healthier Than Fear: Stress-linked hostility easier on the body than becoming anxious, study suggests

    excerpt: Anger in Depression and Bipolar Disorder -

    "Anger is that pet tiger you take out for a walk."

    "What We Know About Anger

    This is pure anger talking, as potentially as deadly as cyanide on a personal level, more powerful than a nuclear weapon on a collective level. Sooner or later everyone must learn to deal with their anger or face the consequences. For people with mood disorders the stakes are even higher, as anger is to an episode what a match is to a keg of gunpowder. The process also works in reverse, as our population, including our loved ones, generally have a lot to be angry about.

    Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury & rage," says Charles Spielberger PhD in a brochure published by the American Psychological Association.

    People prone to anger tend to experience events as more stressful than others. In response to stress, adrenaline & cortisol are pumped into the system, priming the body for flight or fight, appropriate for caveman daily living & the occasional modern contingency, but not for most situations we find ourselves in.

    Anger is an adaptive response to threat, arousing powerful aggressive feelings & behaviors. Escalating stress & anger effectively stoke one another. When the process rages out of control, the excess adrenaline & cortisol set off a cascade of destructive cellular reactions that result in the brain being unable to cope.

    Depression, goes the old saying, is anger turned inward. Various studies have found anger attacks to be common in 40 to 60% of those with unipolar & bipolar depression. The rate is about the same for bipolar mixed states. Surprisingly, no studies appear in the MedLine database documenting anger in mania. The DSM-IV lists as a separate illness "intermittent explosive disorder," which Susan McElroy MD of the Univ. of Cincinnati thinks may be related to bipolar disorder.

    Equally surprising, the DSM fails to list anger as a symptom for either depression or mania, perhaps because the trait is endemic in the general population, as well & so is regarded as normal (which is a very scary thought).

    Make no mistake - any state of mind that can disrupt your work & social relationships & potentially freeze you out of any life worth living  shouldn't be regarded as normal. And because our illness amplifies feelings & makes us lose rational control, we need to regard ourselves as skating on very thin ice."

    I do suggest that you read the remainder of this article - it does have some additional info concerning anger management in these situations.

    excerpt: ANGER AND DEPRESSION

    "People will accept that head injury can change your thoughts & memories, but have difficulty understanding that is also changes your emotions. Your emotions don't exist in some cloud that follows behind your head.

    They're in your head just like everything else. Two of the more common changes in emotion are anger & depression. Someone may have been a "hot-head" or an angry individual before their accident. Since the head injury, this person’s anger is multiplied 2 or 3 times.

    i.e., a dog may pee on the carpet. This might be an angering situation for most people. But following a head injury, the anger is so extreme that the person may want to harm the dog.

    Anger after a head injury is quite different from "normal" anger. Anger following a head injury tends to have a "quick on" & a "quick off." Basically you can be in a good mood until some small thing irritates you & you suddenly get very angry.

    But this anger doesn’t seem to last; you're angry for a few minutes, someone changes the topic of conversation & you quickly stop being angry. In another variation of anger problems, some little thing sets you off & then the "whole day is ruined" (you’re not mad but seem to be in a bad mood).

    mind / body connection

     

    how the body reacts to angry feelings...

     

    Anger causes certain changes in the body. The body shifts into high gear, generating energy needed for action.

    • More sugar & adrenaline pour into the bloodstream
    • The heart pumps faster
    • Blood pressure rises
    • Blood flow quickens
    • Muscles tense

    anger is the most poorly handled emotion in our society today... but it doesn't have to be.

     

    Helpful...Anger can get us "fired up" so we can overcome obstacles & achieve goals we thought were impossible.

     

    Harmful...Anger ignored or expressed inappropriately can hurt us & others.

    teens & anger

    Anger in Our Teens & in Ourselves

    by Linda Lebelle

    Chris punched his fist into the bedroom wall.  But it wasn't enough.  He picked up his soda can & threw it into the hall. The brown sugary liquid dripped down the walls & onto the carpeting.

    "You can't make me!" he screamed. "I'm not going anywhere with you!  I'll do what I want!"  Chris ran down the stairs & out the front door. His father ran after him, yelling at him to get back in the house, but he had already gotten into his car & sped away. 

    Chris was so mad at his father. He had better things to do than go visit family. He & his friends had plans & his father wasn't going to run his life. He knew he'd feel better when he smoked some weed. 

    (this is how some teens really feel. it could be a situation similar to one in your own life. click on the title of this article to read the entire article about anger & teens...)

     

    "My dad is always angry with me." He sort of gets off feeling like he's all powerful & all knowing, like he has all the answers & I'm incapable of deciding for myself what my life should be like.

     

    It's my life I'm supposed to be living, not his; but he doesn't get it. I think if he would just lighten up & let me be me I would be a lot better off.

     

    I don't really want to disappoint my parents but sometimes they just control me so tight that I feel like I have to do something drastic to get out & breath on my own." anonymous teen...

     

    Teen Anger, Teen Rage combined, with Teen Violence, is on the rise with the lack of respect teens are showing their parents as well as authority.  

     

    When a teen's out of control, they only can hear themselves & what they want. It's usually their way or no way! There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The feelings are very real & should be addressed as soon as you see them become more & more regularly in your teen's behaviors.

     

    Be careful with these feelings of anger. Some parents just don't know how to cope or help their teens & just want to send them away into a program that will force the teen to change behavior. Sometimes when you place a negative teen into a negative atmosphere, most teens will only gain resentment & more anger.

     

    No matter what, extreme anger must be dealt with as a teen who may be feeling extremely angry most of the time, it's time to take a deep breath, relax for awhile & do some soul searching as to why you feel the way you do....

     

    some teens just want their parents to notice the anger & then make things okay.... it's just not that simple in today's world. more often, teens are beginning to realize that if things are going to change in their families & environments, it's up to them to make the change & no one else....

     

    it's like that in the adult world.... unfortunately... our world today is set up for people to look after themselves more than any other way..

    Anger can be triggered by many factors.

    Some people are temperamentally more volatile, sensitive & easily angered. Developmentally, there are periods of life where growth struggles bring about increased frustration because teens are trying to understand what they get to control & what they don't get to control.

    There are stressful circumstances with friends, sports, school, or home which can cause increased feelings of anger.

    In thinking about anger, it's important to remember that it's usually a secondary emotion. The underlying emotion is more likely to be rejection, fear, failure, frustration or sadness

    For boys, society is often more accepting of anger than it is of these other underlying emotions & so anger may be what you, as a teen boy, shows most readily. It's important to bear in mind that there are other feelings underneath that need to be expressed & resolved.

     

    Here are some suggestions for working with the feelings of anger:

    • When you find that you can talk to either your parents, a friend or professional about your anger feelings, ask whoever you're ready to talk to, to try to have supportive feelings towards you while you explain your feelings & reasons for your feelings

    The reason for this is that you want to talk to someone who is ready to listen, not preach to you & offer support & understanding instead of becoming angry themselves or defensive.

     

    As the teen with anger problems, you must understand yourself, that your parents may naturally respond to feelings of anger with disappointment & frustration the more you lose control of your anger feelings. Ask your parent(s) for their support with your problem & ask them to agree to trust you in your honest efforts to solve your anger problem.

     

    (You could say something like:  "I know we both get frustrated when I lose my temper, but let's see if we can understand what happens thru a discussion w/out you getting mad & instantly coming up w/what seem like simple solutions, because that just makes me feel more agitated.")

    (begin to consider choices & consequences of behaviors)

    • Help yourself by exploring some acceptable ways to express anger & other feelings. This is how you can begin to learn how to control the expression of your feelings, not the feeling itself. So rather than trying to suppress or ignore your anger, learn alternative, safe & appropriate ways to express that anger.

    (Each family needs to decide what ways are acceptable to deal w/anger & which aren't: "In our family, we yell a lot. We don't call names or say hurtful things, but people get loud when they're angry." "Dad prefers to have time alone when he is feeling mad. It helps me to punch the punching bag or take a run around the block.")

    As a teen, you need to begin to stop blaming yourself so much for your angry reactions. Until you begin to educate yourself about anger, emotions & feelings, you may not have known how to express your feelings because of the models in your life.

    This simply means that you've learned coping behaviors from observing the coping behaviors of someone in your life. Maybe it's your mother's reactions that you've begun to model or even your father's behaviors.

    Parents make mistakes just like any other normal human beings. Sometimes they just don't realize that they have taught their children negative coping behaviors because they weren't taught how to cope with their feelings either.

    (When you begin to feel anger welling up inside you, STOP!)

    Once you stop what you're doing, look at your situation to see what's happening around you that's making you begin to feel angry.

    Is it a situation or a general attitude feeling that you have? Have you eaten a nutritional meal that day? Have you felt threatened at school or at home? Has someone hurt you badly either physically or emotionally? Is someone blaming you for something?

    Begin to recognize that feeling of anger brewing up inside you & always stop when you feel it to describe the "trigger situation" that has made you angry. Once you realize what's making you angry, you can take steps to control your anger once you are faced w/another "trigger situation."

    Anger Keeps Coming Back The following excerpt is from the self help psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.

    My Problem Is That My Anger Keeps Coming Back. This is a clear indicator that the issue hasn't been resolved. Your anger is skewed. It's either off target &/or the wrong emotion is being expressed. Yes, this does imply that I consider much of the socially-correct bashing so common these days to be skewed, neurotic or off-target (you pick the adjective).

    It's been my experience that my clients' anger difficulties most often have their roots in childhood trauma knots that my clients don't wish to face. The part of those trauma knots that is most often avoided is hatred, childhood hatred. Until those clients are willing to feel that hatred, they continue to have difficulties with anger.

    Anger is ALWAYS based upon unfulfilled expectations; fully let go of the expecting & your anger will be no more.

    Emotionally Healthy Adults (with respect to anger)

    • generally don't get angry when verbally attacked.
    • are able to change their responses. This implies that the next time an identical anger - causing circumstance occurs (except #2 above), they don't get angry
    • get angry rarely - once they express the anger, it doesn't return.

    Obviously, few of us achieve the above.

    Nevertheless, you'll be much happier the closer you're able to duplicate the above anger responses of emotionally healthy adults. Do you want to make it your personal long term goal to change some of your anger responses?

    ANGER Work in Establishing of Healthy Boundaries

    Do ANGER Workouts on the lack of healthy boundaries in your relationships

    Once you have ALERTED yourself to the emotional hooks in your relationships which keep your boundaries weak, then you need to do ANGER work about how angry you are that there are these hooks in your relationships which are so strong & powerful.

    You need to get your anger out about: "Why can't my relationships be like the ideal fantasy, I always dreamed they would be." "How hard it is to establish & maintain good relationships." "It takes so much work to keep relationships healthy."

    You need to do your anger work about how unfair it is that nothing in life comes easy & how you have to work so hard to be healthy & ALERT to all of the hooks which keep you unhealthy in your  relationships.

    To do your ANGER work you must be sure to address the different faces of anger which the lack of boundaries in your relationships may result in.

    Becoming Invisible in the Relationships

    As a result of getting hooked in your relationships & having no boundaries in them, you might become invisible. This comes from your needs being ignored, your being socially isolated & being made to deal with these relationships on your own, alone & away from your family, friends & support system.

    You need to get out your anger over your rights being ignored. You need to get your anger out over your fear of not speaking up lest you "cause waves" or start a conflict. You need to get your anger out that you aren't seen, heard or considered in your relationships.

    You need to get your anger out that you stopped thinking, feeling & acting on your own lest you were seen & problems resulted from such independence of action on your part.  

    Silent Withdrawal from Your Relationship Partners

    As a result of getting hooked in your relationships & having no boundaries in them, you might experience silent withdrawal. This withdrawal involves not allowing yourself to feel feelings of anger or disappointment because things aren't going well in your relationships.

    You might even be driven to use your compulsive behaviors to medicate your negative feelings. You might become more compulsive in your drinking, drugging, gambling, overeating or other addictive behaviors (eg.: shopping, credit car use, risk taking etc.).

    This act of holding in your anger, about your relationships not giving you what you wanted, just exacerbates your anger. Your keeping silent to maintain a "Peace at any price" stance to avoid conflict with your relationship partners just makes your anger greater & more intense.

    If you continue to hold your anger in, you will became more & more depressed which feeds the need to self-medicate & withdraw more from your relationship partners.

    By this action you may also pull away from family, friends, support networks & life in general. You need to get your anger out about how hurt you are that your relationships aren't what you wanted. You need to get your anger out about how you have given & given in this relationship until you have no more to give.

    You need to get your anger out about how you've lost yourself in your relationships because you have no boundaries between you & your relationship partners. If you verbalize your anger in healthy ways you'll become a better problem solver in relationships. This will help you & your relationship partners to creatively address & confront the issues pulling your relationships apart.  

    Rage over Your Pain & Hurt in Your Relationships

    As a result of getting hooked in your relationships & having no boundaries in them, you might experience rage which comes as an over-reaction to your hurt & pain.

    You might finally realize that you've been conned & duped by your relationship partners into unhealthy relationships & get so angry that you fly off into rages. You need to get your anger out in healthy ways so that you don't feel guilt after these rages. The guilt will only hook you back into the unhealthy relationships.

    You need to get your rage & anger out in healthy ways so that it doesn't turn into anger-in which results in your becoming depressed which feeds your compulsive self-medicating behaviors of drinking, drugging, gambling, overeating etc.

    You need to get this anger & rage out so that it doesn't turn into self-anger & self-destructive rage. You need to get this anger out so that you can forgive yourself for "being so stupid" or "being so naive" that you could have been "conned & manipulated" so by your relationship partners.

    You need to get your anger & rage out in a healthy way so that you don't act "crazy" with your relationship partners which then can be used against you later. You need to get this anger & rage out of your system in healthy ways so that you can be "squeaky clean" with your relationship partners as you confront the problems in your relationships.  

    Need to Run Away

    As a result of getting hooked in your relationships & having no boundaries in them, you might want to run away. You might find yourself wanting to get away with your relationship partners & create a "geographic change."

    This is thinking that in a different place you can work out relationships in a better way. You need to recognize that this is just holding in your anger & things won't be any different in a new place. You might be repressing your emotional response to your current relationships & find yourself running away from all relationships. The chances are that you'll get out of your bad ones but in a new place will probably find other bad ones to replace them with.

    You might be so wrapped up in your fantasy & ideals, of how relationships are supposed to be, that you run away from these bad ones only to fall into the trap of new ones. The new ones more closely approximate what healthy relationships are supposed to be & yet they aren't.

    Running away from problems is only to run right back into them in a different format, place or time. You need to get your anger out about your current  problems so that you don't repeat the same pattern in the future.

    You need to rid yourself of all of the negative feelings & emotions which come from the unhealthy aspects of your relationships so that you're free to experience healthier, more positive feelings in the future.

    You need to confront head on the anger & rage you feel about being disappointed, duped & conned in a boundary‑less relationships so that you don't repeat the pattern in the future. To run away & not face them, is a guarantee of repeating the pattern in the future.

    Tools for Anger Work-Out

    Goals of Tools for Anger Work-Out

    In the chapters of Tools for Anger Work-Out you'll explore the nature of the anger response. You'll look at current anger & at unresolved anger issues.  You'll look at "anger in" & "anger out" responses. You'll review the behavior that is enmeshed in these anger response modes.

     

    Anger, hostility & aggression are often confused with one another. In this book you will learn that anger is a healthy emotion that needs to be expressed freely but therapeutically. Anger is a feeling that needs to be vented by itself without hostility or aggression.  No one deserves violent, raging behavior. 

     

    A direct assertive, thorough angry confrontation is better for everyone involved. We must release the violence of our anger on "safe," inanimate objects. This reduces the hostility & aggression that confuses us & makes us irrational.

     

    Anger work-out is the releasing of our angry feelings thru active, emotional provocative techniques. Anger work-out enables us to function assertively & rationally, able to protect our rights when we feel violated.

     

    To handle anger in a healthy, healing way is one goal of this author. I've developed strategies to channel anger into healthy, productive behavior.

    Best of luck in your anger work-out. Forgiving & forgetting is possible thru therapeutic anger work out.

    Dear Dad:

    I've failed to thank you over the last 50 years for the many gifts you have bestowed upon me, gifts that have contributed heavily to my development as an angry, bitter, guilt ridden, depressed & generally unfulfilled person. 

     

    I have so many personality & character flaws that I might never overcome them all.  Without your gifts I might have become a happy, loving husband & father whose successful career might have provided a deep meaning to my life & greater happiness, prosperity & opportunity for my family.

     

    Let me enumerate those self-serving gifts:

     

    Thank you for not holding me when I was frightened, hurt, or just wanting to be loved. I was literally scared stiff that winter at the age of about 4 when you spanked me for being afraid to walk that long dock over the river.  It loomed high over the water; the cracks between the planks seemed like chasms.

     

    Thank you for always shooing me off to Mom if I wanted or needed help with something.  You didn't have time to help me tie my shoes, pull a splinter from my hand, or tell  me why the birds sing.

     

    Thank you for the Exlax you forced down me when my brother was being potty trained.  I was still only 4 years old & curious as to why Mom made over him just for sitting on the potty.

     

    Thank you for never reading me stories or the comics.  We just might have had a laugh or two together & I might have crept into your heart.

     

    Thank you for the abject guilt you laid on me with that obscene lecture when I was caught "playing doctor" with my little girlfriend.  We were both simply curious at the age of 6 or 7, yet you made every word sound foul, nasty & lewd; made our actions seem despicable & unforgivable.

     

    Thank you for one of your favorite greetings:  "Don't bother me now, I'm . . ."

     

    Thank you for one of your favorite expressions of love:  "Get out of here before I bash your head in."         

     

    Thank you for your support of my attempts at music:  "Don't practice (the piano or trumpet) while I'm home. I don't want to hear that noise."

     

    Thank you for taking me to my first Boy Scout meeting, dumping me at curb (in the early evening) & picking me up what seemed like hours later.  I never found the meeting & never joined the Boy Scouts.

     

    Thank you for avoiding my school functions, church plays & band recitals. Mom tried to make it all right, but I saw thru those flimsy excuses she made for you.

     

    Thank you for never playing ball or any other games with me; you wouldn't even watch me when my friends & I played ball in the field down the street.

     

    Thank you for never helping me put together a model airplane, boat, or car; I finally learned to do it by myself & didn't need help from anyone.

     

    Thank you for the lickings I got at home for getting one at school.

     

    Thank you for the lickings I got, for whatever, until I cried & for the lickings my brother got until he cried; but sometimes he wouldn't cry for so long a time. I would often begin crying before he would.

     

    Thank you for all the backhanded compliments:

     

    ·       "A 'B' is OK, but why didn't you get an 'A'?"

    ·       "An 'A' is OK, but why didn't you get an 'A+'?"

    ·      "Two A's are good, but you could get all A's if you tried."

    ·       "If you had only tried harder you could have been in first place."

     

    Thank you for your concern for my safety & well-being by repeating:  "Don't get into any trouble because it will reflect on me."

     

    Thank you for sharing with me that Mom was "frigid & had never had an orgasm." I've heard since that there's no such thing as a frigid woman, only inept lovers. It might also have been that she knew she was only a surrogate for one of your girlfriends.

     

    Thank you for constantly telling me how Mom kept you from fulfilling your desires.

     

    Thank you for always telling everyone who would listen how you tried to fulfill your desires, but Mom just wouldn't have it.

     

    Thank you for always broadcasting how you wanted to do things, but Mom wouldn't let you. It was a constant source of woe to me.  Look at poor Dad; he's so mistreated.

     

    Thank you for all your lies, even about insignificant things, then stretching each lie even further in an attempt to get out of it.

     

    Thank you for lying to people about the quality or condition of your car & other goods when you were selling it or trading it for another.  You set such a good example of "do as I say, not as I do."

     

    Thank you for lying to people about your accomplishments. Even though you were good enough as you were, you had to exaggerate your accomplishments to feel you had the peoples' respect.

     

    Thank you for letting the air out of the front tires & causing me to lose control of my car during that race. The car had been handling beautifully. I had beaten the club champion's time in the previous event & would have been in first place if I hadn't gotten the two-second penalty for skidding over the "stop" line.  You probably had to stop for air in the tires when driving the car home that day.

     

    Thank you for calling me home from my engineering career.  I abandoned my engineering career so that we might develop a mobile home park or a fish farm.

     

    Thank you for summarily dismissing all the sites I had selected for the project as "not right."  You wouldn't even look at my research or listen to my logic.

     

    Thank you for listening to your barber, bartender, mechanic & even the lawn man before you would listen to me regarding development potential. That site you said wouldn't be ready for development for another 20 years was developed as a mobile home park within the 12 months.

     

    The neighborhood is now one of the hottest in that area.  A very small portion of that site was sold a couple of years later for more than what 30 acres would have cost us & the mobile home park finally sold for over $3,000,000.

     

    Thank you for allowing me to waste a year of my life plus spend all of my savings before you decided you didn't want to participate in any real estate development deals with me.

     

    Thank you for leaving mom without a retirement pension.  When you retired you opted to take a greater pension for as long as you lived, which meant that the pension would stop when you died. 

     

    Thereafter mom would get nothing but social security. You could have opted for a lesser amount initially, which would have provided a continuing pension for mom if you had died first plus a continuation at that rate for you if she had died first. 

     

    Since you died soon after retirement, neither of you enjoyed the retirement pension you had earned.

     

    Thank you for leaving mom without even an insurance policy on your life. You sold life insurance for over 30 years, yet the only policy you left was the small one the company provided as an employee benefit, the one you had no choice about.

     

    Thank you for the sexual innuendos you frequently drew into the conversation when speaking to my wife, daughter, sisters- in-law, or female friends. They often sounded more like veiled propositions than humor; rarely were they done in mom's presence & never were they appreciated by your audience.

     

    Thank you for molesting your granddaughter. She was so confused by the incident, which you dismissed as a misunderstanding saying "Why would my papa" do that.  My brother & I were angered by your actions, but not at all surprised. We never did tell mom for fear she would kill you; we didn't want to lose her to jail!

     

    Thank you for refusing to accept the responsibility for your own well being when it was discovered that you had kidney cancer.  You knew you had to abide by a special diet, that you must take your medicine faithfully & exercise to remain ambulatory. Instead you indulged yourself in self-pity & insisted on being waited on hand & foot until the day you died.

     

    For all of the above I thank you enough to let go of my anger & see that none of it ever hurts me again.

     

    Your son,

    A Poem

    Anger Work-Out

    ·                   I painfully face the torrent of anger

    o                  in my head

    ·                   I tearfully see the targets of my

    o                  in my mind

    ·                   I sense the bile, panic, fear, and terror

    o                  in my gut

    ·                   I convulse in quakes of volcanic magnitude

    o                  in my chest

    ·                   I violently pound on the pillow

    o                  and

    ·                   I scream in earth shattering cacophony

    o                  in my room

    o                  as

    ·                   I grow in forgiveness and healing

    o                  in my heart

    o                  and

    ·                   I increase in love and self-esteem

    o                   in my life

     

    by Jim Messina

    The ANGER System

    The Anger System - for anger workout and emotional release

    As you progress in your recovery from the behavioral consequences of low self-esteem, you will need to deal with the powerful emotion of anger. Tools for Anger Work-Out by Jim Messina, Ph.D. contains a variety of strategies for working out the different faces of anger.

    It's important to use all of these tools during your recovery process. It's important to recognize the course of the anger cycle so you can use the SEA's ANGER workout system to escape this cycle.

    The typical unhealthy anger cycle is:

    When you express anger in your old "sick'' way, the automatic natural response is guilt for hurting the feelings of the person. You immediately feel remorse. You then suppress the anger.

    However, you still feel resentment over the real or perceived stimulus which prompted your anger. If you're again irritated by this or a similar stimuli, you'll express anger again.

    It isn't useful in your recovery process to express your anger directly on people in the old "sick'' way which keeps you trapped in the anger cycle. For this reason, use the ANGER workout system when you get angry.

    What are the two types of anger?

    Anger In:  This is feeling angry but directing it toward oneself, or inwardly directed anger. It's depression or suppressed hostility.

    Anger Out: This is feeling angry & directing it toward other persons or things, or outwardly directed anger. It's the showing of repressed hostility & resentment.

    A - Accept

    First, you need to accept that what you're feeling is anger. There is often a tendency to deny this powerful emotion because your experience with anger in the past has been painful, hurtful, or disastrous. Don't deny your anger. Face it head on for what it is.

    N - Name

    Second, you need to name & identify what's getting you so angry. You need to name what it is about the stimulus which is triggering your response. Utilize the TEA & ALERT systems to help you to analyze & think out what's going on to get you angry. You need to identify not only the current anger but also the old unresolved anger that the stimulus may be provoking.

    G - Get It Out

    Third, you now need to get it out of your system by expressive emotional release of anger workout. Get yourself in a private place (if you can) to use one of the following activities to aggressively ventilate you anger on inanimate objects rather than on people:

    ·         Yelling in your head silently

    ·         Yelling in a car with windows closed

    ·         Yelling in a room away from others

    ·         Yelling into a paper bag or pillow

    ·         Beating on pillows, cushions, or mattress

    ·         Hitting a punching bag, weight bag

    ·         Screaming in a vacant field or lot

    ·         Screaming with a towel in your mouth

    ·         Ripping a telephone book, newspaper, or catalogue

    E - Energize

    Fourth, once you have aggressively ventilated & experienced emotional release of the anger, you'll energize yourself to feel calmer, more relaxed, less anxious, less tense, or less stressed. Aggressive anger work will enable you to be more rational & realistic & better able to use the TEA & ALERT systems to promote your recovery.

    R - Resume

    Fifth, once you're energized, resume your involvement with the person who was the stimulus of the anger & assertively confront the person with how you feel in a calm, cool, rational manner.

    How does anger differ from hostility & aggression?

    A.        Anger refers to an emotional state consisting of feelings that vary in intensity from mild irritation or annoyance to intense fury & rage.

    B.        Hostility refers to an emotional state involving angry feelings that result in a complex set of attitudes. These attitudes motivate aggressive behavior directed at people or things.

     

    C.        Aggression refers to a set of behavior traits directed at destroying objects & injuring or punishing people.

    What feelings are felt during an expression of anger?

    Fear, rage, wanting to make it better, upset, emotional release, sick, physically ill, displaced or misdirected attack, apprehensive, sad, hurt, offended, frustration, lack of feeling, revengeful, embarrassed, shaky, wanting to make it better, guilty, tense, uncomfortable, scared, "flight or fight'' stress response, loss of composure, "normal''

    What are some common ways of dealing with anger?

    Repression

    experiencing but immediately forgetting or stuffing the anger

    Non feeling

    never even identifying the feelings or sensation of being angry

    Displacement

    getting angry at a person or thing when something or someone else is the actual target of the anger

    Controlling

    holding in the emotional storm of the anger

    Suppression

    experiencing the anger but holding it in with no expression of it
     

    Quiet crying

    suppressed anger with no verbal or physical cathartic process; this stifles the emotion of anger and changes it to sadness and pain

    Assertive confrontation

    a direct response of how I feel about the person or thing that angered me

    Overreaction

    fury or rage at something or someone who perhaps does not deserve such a reaction.

    What is the anger reaction to loss in a dysfunctional family?

    • Anger at having to strive so hard & to be so good.

    • Anger at living in a family that needs so much & gives back so little.

    • Anger at parents for being so critical & irritable when one is trying so hard.

    • Anger at self for constantly discounting one's own needs & selling out to other's demands.

    • Anger at parents for not caring about me. 

    •  Anger at a troubled person in the family for engaging in a dependency behavior.

    • Anger at family members who conspire to belittle & manipulate the troubled person.

    • Anger at self for causing a problem for self & others.

    How is anger often dealt with in a dysfunctional family?

    · To maintain a "good'' son or daughter image one must not show anger toward parents but must bury the feelings (anger in), which feeds guilt & depression.

    · Anger leads to feelings of inadequacy that lead to a belief that "I never do good enough.''  This leads to resentment that leads to more buried feelings, resulting in guilt & depression.

    · Intense anger at self & others can become frozen into a chronic attitude of hostility.

    · Submerged anger leads to being vigilant for any attacks (real or perceived) on self. This provides a stimulus to draw the anger feelings to the surface, resulting in overreaction "Your anger in this situation is disproportionate  to the importance of the event.''

    · Self-hatred leads to turning off feelings, which can lead to projection & blaming others for the problems.

    · Anger leads to rage that leads to severe punishing of the troubled person or other family members.

    What are some ways to redefine anger

    · Anger is a signal that things aren't going our way.

    · Anger is a motivator for us to change things or to rectify them.

    · Unresolved Anger is a block to our emotional growth.

    · Anger is a sign that we must take an assertive stance to tune into how we're feeling & why we're feeling that way.

    · Anger is directly related to our thoughts. If we have angry thoughts we'll become angry. However, if we don't have angry thoughts, we won't become angry.

    · Depression is anger that has been suppressed.

    · A hostile attitude is often the sign of an individual with chronic, unresolved anger who expresses the anger in passive &/or aggressive ways.

    · Aggressive anger, which is verbal or physical, only intensifies one's anger once it begins to be expressed.

    · Catharsis of anger, which is the ventilation of anger, usually leads to an increase in anger & the expression of the anger usually intensifies.

    · Anger is usually related to me & my reaction to something or someone. It is controllable by teaching myself new ways to handle the "anger provoking'' situations, events, or people.

    · My angry reaction to a "current situation'' may be because the situation is a "trigger event,'' one that drags up "old'' anger that has never been resolved.

    · Anger can be turned into a source of strength to change my ways of acting & reacting to situations, events, or people.

    · Ventilating anger directly on people is aggressive behavior & typically benefits no one. I usually feel guilt, shame, or greater anger after such ventilation & whatever provoked my anger usually doesn't change.

    · Harnessing anger into a productive force in my life will assist my emotional growth.

    What can I do with anger?

    ·        Face the anger for what it is & don't avoid it.

    ·        Identify the feelings at the root of the anger or depression.

    ·        Use "I statements'' to express the feelings of anger.

    ·        Identify the guilt, resentment, rage, fear, embarrassment, depression involved in this anger.

    ·        Confront the issues that stimulate the anger. Analyze them for what they are: stimuli drawing on deepseated subconscious feelings of anger that indicate unresolved emotional blocks from my past.

    ·        Use imagery, role playing, an empty chair, or other object to confront past hurts & pains; express the submerged feelings that come out as I deal with this anger.

    ·        Inform people in my current life of my need to analyze my anger responses; seek their assistance & understanding in this exploration process.

    ·        If my current anger isn't the result of efforts to uncover submerged feelings of old anger, then treat the current anger with rational "I'' statements: "I feel angry because ?''

    What are some steps to take in handling current anger?

    Step 1:  Relax yourself by using deep, natural breathing & muscle relaxation.

    · Take deep breaths & silently repeat the words "relax'' until you're able to calm down.

    · Don't say or do anything until you're calmed down.

    · Avoid words or actions in the "heat'' of the moment.

    Step 2:  Recognize what arouses or provokes your anger:

    · Is it a situation, an event, a person?

    · Is it real or imagined?

    Step 3:  Use a rational approach to "rethink,'' "reframe'' & reason in your mind what's going on & why you're angry.

    · Is this a trigger event bringing up old unresolved anger or resentment in me?

    · How is what is happening to provoke my anger a product of my past? <