Anger and its destructive nature
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
12th June, 20120 Comments
Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him. - Louis L'Amour
While we all feel angry at times, we need anger as part of the human condition. It is a very important protective system that can prevent us from harm. The difficulty is when our anger gets out of control, it turns into a destructive force that can harm us, our relationships and how we feel about ourselves. People with anger issues often feel as though they have no control over their anger, they reach a point and they just snap. It is only later that they feel the guilt and the shame of their reaction.
There are a range of angers, from frustration through to rage. Similarly there are a variety of ways that anger might be expressed. Some might supress their anger, yet snap at friends and family, sometimes over the smallest thing. Others become very calm when they get angry as they try to get the anger in control. Of course many of us shout and yell.
Supressing anger can lead to a range of problems, not the least of which is that it is likely to explode out, often at a seemingly small thing and often at the wrong person. Often individuals find themselves taking out their anger at work on their families. It can also cause problems with our physical health such as blood pressure and the like.
Expressing your anger can have its difficulties too. Often we seem to lose control of what we say or we feel that people aren’t listening or don’t understand our point of view. If you can manage it a better way is to be assertive. Assertive is different from angry in that you express your feelings and what you would like to happen rather than lashing out.
There are things that you can do that will help you to control your anger and to feel that you are getting your life back again. Often clients find that these are most effective when worked at with a counsellor or anger management specialist. However broadly, a therapist will help you to be able to relax, to be able to help you create a safe space between the stimulating incident and the expression of anger so that you can begin to choose your reaction. Relaxation can also help with the physical effects, blood pressure, stress and anxiety.
The therapist will work through the real life situations helping you to identify the trigger points for your anger and how you can change your thinking to master the destructive thoughts and replace them with more helpful behaviours. Often there will be tools and techniques that you can use in real life – such as learning how to be assertive, that can put you in the driving seat of your life once more.
It is difficult but not impossible to overcome anger problems, but for those that make the journey there are rich rewards as they begin to feel better about their lives and themselves.
Related articles from our experts
- Anger management: “How do you transform a raging lion into a purring cat?”
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- Anger: the tip of the iceberg
Tania Freeman - MBACP registered Creative Arts Counsellor12th January, 2018
- The 'gem' of a gift in accepting your own anger
Paul Roberts Embodied Psychotherapeutic Counselling RMBACP12th October, 2017
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