Anger gets a bad press - A response
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Keith Abrahams Dip.HG.P
17th March, 20130 Comments
Anger is a basic human emotion – the normal person will feel anger about four times a day – which if properly expressed keeps us healthy. It normally arises in response to our need to be respected or appreciated and of courses when we feel attacked. It also arises when we have expectations that are not being met. It is frustrating and when we feel moved, it can lead us to ‘getting things done’.
The range of human potential responses to anger is vast (and by the way people with anger problems tend to experience anger about twelve times a day – keep a diary the frequency and reasons for you experiencing anger might surprise you!) The two main types are those that involve us exploding in a burst of rage and the other is the quiet seething or slow simmering.
Conventional wisdom says that that the expressing the anger is healthier than the not (“Its better out than in!”) especially as withholding anger tends to lead to feelings of depression and more frequent low level aggression. But of course if the anger is expressed in (let’s say even non-physical) violent terms, up to twelve times a day, then we are likely to not only get very exhausted, as it takes a lot effort, but we are probably going to find those closest to us wanting to find some distance and peace. The difficulty with moderating our responses to keep the peace, is that the more often we become angry, not only do we get better at being angry, since all patterns we practice tend to improve, but also we become more alert and on edge to the anger, like a honed athlete waiting for the starting-pistol. And aren’t there just plenty of triggers? This is why those with temper problems frequently seek help.
Help is being sought more frequently now as levels of stress, a key component to feeding frustration and anger, have risen. Recent surveys suggest that 1 in 3 people claim they have someone close to them who experiences anger control issues and yet only 1 in 7 seek help and support. The problem with the emotional brain, especially the angry brain is that it makes us stupid and as Forrest Gump says “Stupid is as stupid does.”
This stupidity has consequences. Relationships break up, heart disease become more prevalent and careers become ruined. Increasingly organisations now expect their staff to have honed interpersonal skills, including being able to manage their emotional responses. Those who can control and express their anger appropriately tend to get promoted.
Therefore, whilst anger can help us to get our needs meet, get things done and injustices righted, there is no guarantee that those around us will appreciate our ways of expressing it, healthily and controlled will lead to more success. Sometimes we just need a little help in learning how to do so.
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- Anger management: “How do you transform a raging lion into a purring cat?”
Shane Sneyd MBACP, UKCP & BPC17th February, 2018
- Anger: the tip of the iceberg
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