Anger is one of the most talked about emotions, and rightly so. Uncontrolled outbursts of anger can have catastrophic life changing consequences for the angry ones and the target of their anger. Our prisons and graveyards are full of people who have been the perpetrators or victims of anger.
Less extreme anger outbursts can be very damaging for relationships. The fear of anger can be a block to communication in relationships that need healing. Fear and anger typically go hand in hand, and not just because one person is fearful of anothers anger. Anger is a mask for fear in the angry one. If you have been angry ask yourself ‘what am I afraid of ? ‘. For example, a parents anger at a child returning home late from school is masking the fear that the parent is feeling for the safetly of the child. So in dealing with anger in ourselves it can be very helpful to identify the underlying fear, for this is really what needs addressing.
Another reason anger is talked about is because of the apparently conflicting views we hear about it. We are told that anger needs to be controlled, while at the same time we hear that unexpressed anger eats away at us even leading over time to serious illness. So which is it !?
Lets see if we can reconcile these apparently conflicting perspectives. Firstly, unacknowledged feelings and emotions have a way of controlling our behaviour. This denies us important information for making informed choices. Even if we are aware of our anger at some level, but deny it, it will tend to persist. After all it is true that what we resist persists.So square up to what is going on.
What we need is to develop healthy way of expressing our anger, which like all emotions is neither right or wrong in itself. Feeling guilty about being angry only makes us less likely to acknowledge it , so dont go there ! Feeling and expressing the anger in a controlled way is a totally natural and healthy thing to do. BUT you need to be in the driving seat not the anger. If you find that your anger is turning into some form of uncontrollable rage you are no longer in charge of yourself. You have handed over control to the anger. Therefore it is no surprise that people say ‘ loose the head and you loose the agrument’. Why ? Those listening rightly conclude that you are out of you mind and will not take ser4iously what you say!
So if you find anger rising up inside you acknowledge it but if you find that you are losing control take time out , count to ten, come back tomorrow or whatever it takes to call a halt. During this cooling off period try to understand what is really going on for you, namely what fear is being masked. If anger is a serious ongoing issue for you dont be slow to get professional help and there are lots of anger management courses.