Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Carey West MBACP (snr Accred)
4th February, 2010
Everyone feels anger at some time. It is a normal emotion, and most readily connected to a perceived injustice. (Whether that injustice is towards the person experiencing the anger, or another that they feel for)
However, *A*N*G*E*R* in others or ourselves is often seen as a threat
The threat is in the mode of expression Our ability to feel anger is inborn and right The way we express anger initially is learnt (either by example or because there was no example – or teaching) ANYTHING LEARNED CAN BE UNLEARNED OR CHANGED
The more usual ways people cope with their angry feelings can be summarised below:
SUPPRESSION where a person is unaware they feel anger at all – often only short term solution DENIAL where a person is evidencing angry behaviour (words) but they deny they are angry (this is more easily maintained than suppression) CONCEALING, where a person is aware they feel angry, but they do not say/do anything to express it ERUPTING/CONCEALING Where someone is on a see-saw where they suppress their anger until the “tank” is so full it bursts out & because of the eruption the person is (again) convinced they cannot let their anger out so they conceal or suppress it again.
*A*N*G*E*R* EXERCISE 1
Make a list of things that make you angry Now, ask yourself, “do I face up to these situations, or do I chicken out instead” In the future, how can you face up to the things you have identified? More appropriately, more firmly, & more bravely?
*A*N*G*E*R* EXERCISE 2
Think of a recent situation where you felt angry. Go through the following routine.
ASSESS – is your anger justified?
IF YES – Do not try to squash the feelings, this will cause you hurt & drive it inwards – find ways of expressing your feelings of anger safely write it down, take a long walk, AND MOST EFFECTIVE – say something about it e.g. “when you said that / did that, I felt (very) angry” – say it simply, gently but firmly. IF NO – STOP! Do not feed your anger by ruminating on it (chewing it over and over in your mind). If your anger is due to being fairly criticised, accept what is realistic and true, say you are sorry (if appropriate) and try to do better next time.
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