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 America has shown some interesting answers from respondents around the subject of anger management challenges.
12 Tips to Lengthen the Fuse for Anger – and Stop the Clock! is available as a PDF to read, download and/or share.
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.