Anger is an emotion that can have a place in our lives. Anger, can keep us safe – as well as create regret and harm! For some of us, anger visits daily – even hourly. So, when we find anger has moved in and unpacked, how can we over time, manage and reduce the triggers?.
Why do we feel anger?
There are many beliefs which may trigger anger in us, and most are subconsciously driven by the ‘emotional brain’:
1. Fear: It often comes as a surprise for clients I work with to understand that fear is a primary driver, often hidden from the conscious. Fear is more reactive than anxiety. Anger may be appropriate! E.g. someone begins to threaten an attack on us, and anger arising from fear can prepare the body to defend, run, or attack – in order to save ourselves (fight or flight stress response).
2. Anxiety: This is different from fear as anxiety is usually a rumination about some future event and catastrophic perceptions around an outcome. A form of neurosis, this may be a control based emotion. I’m going to avoid adding to the conflict around #brexit; enough to say, anger has shown itself on social media feeds from what were previously some of the most reasonable and compassionate connections I have ever known!
3. Control: During our psychological, formative years, if we suffered any level of emotional neglect, we may suffer in subsequent adulthood from an ability to manage emotions appropriately. The child and her beliefs formulated in the first decade may continue to re-cognise a sense of insecurity for the rest of their lives unless they take steps to address any emotional regulatory deficit. As a result, we may try to control situations in order to avoid a perceived consequence.
4. Express yourself: If we have taught ourselves to think our way through difficult emotions, we may become emotionally constipated and build up to explosiveness. This inability often arises as a direct result of the parents who failed to listen and respond appropriately to their child and her difficult experiences.
Research in the US has shown some interesting answers from respondents around the subject of anger management challenges.
For those of us who have yet to learn how to regulate emotions, it is never too late.
12 Tips to Lengthen the Fuse for Anger – and Stop the Clock! is available as a PDF to read, download and/or share.
You can also click on the image to zoom in and save to your device.
There are many more facets to this subject which I will cover in future posts. If you are affected by your own – or another person’s anger, please do seek advice or guidance from a counsellor. You/they will not be judged and will be provided with an opportunity to learn what is driving the anger as an emotion, while learning new, fresh ways to operate.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).