Do I have a problem with anger?
You probably already know if anger is affecting your life. Most of us will have experienced angry feelings at some point and sometimes this is clearly justified. It is when our anger leads to us overreacting to a situation that we may need some help to understand and manage our emotions. Anger affects our mind and our body.
You may be feeling/experiencing:
- Rage/a red mist.
- On edge, restless.
How your body reacts:
- Heart racing.
- Stomach churning.
- Weak and wobbly.
- Very hot/sweating.
- Head pounding/migraine.
Beginning to understand our anger, the things that make us angry, any triggers, anything from our past can help us to gain control over it and ultimately overcome it. An important point is that it is not people or events that make us angry but our reaction to them that makes us angry. Acknowledging this means that the responsibility lies within ourselves, on the inside, and not someone else or external circumstances. It also helps us to understand that we can choose how we react to situations.
There are many reasons why people can become angry. It may be that we come from a family where expressing our emotions in such a way is ‘normal’. It may be that there are issues from our past that we are repressing and therefore our emotions are expressed as anger. We may, for example, experience excessive anger if someone cuts in front of us whilst we are driving. It is likely that the intensity of our anger at such a situation has little to do with the other driver and more to do with upsetting memories from our past that we are subconsciously avoiding or possibly something that happened earlier in the day. Anger can be an easier emotion to deal with than deeper, more painful emotions such as sadness or even fear. Although anger is destructive and not an ‘easy’ emotion, it feels easier to shout and rage than to face deeper pain. It may simply be that we have never learned to control our anger and express our feelings in more helpful ways.
We may try to suppress our emotions or bottle them up, not acknowledging when we feel upset or disappointed. This has a negative effect, as unexpressed emotions can only be kept at bay for so long, they don’t just disappear. Eventually, the pressure builds and unacknowledged anger forces its way to the surface, erupting with even greater force. Trying to resist or suppress anger will only make it stronger, it just intensifies to the point of eruption.
Exploring your anger may well raise some difficult and painful issues so it is important to find someone you can trust to talk to. Whatever the reasons for your anger, talking to someone, communicating your feelings and emotions can help. Being able to share how you are feeling with someone else, may be the first step in regaining control. Seeking help is a courageous acknowledgement that you are responsible for your own actions, and in being responsible, can choose to change.
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About Fiona Foster
Fiona Foster is an experienced accredited counsellor registered with the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
Fiona runs a private practice within Greater Manchester. Her practice integrates different therapies to take into account the individual needs and uniqueness of each client.