Anger is a normal emotion to feel, just as it is normal to feel happy or sad. However, when anger is not expressed in a healthy and positive manner it can become out of control and lead to all kinds of problems not only for ourselves but also in family and personal relationships. When anger is expressed in a negative way it can come out as being very aggressive, by becoming violent and in threatening others. This is anger which is out of control which can quickly lead to all kinds of trouble for yourself and a breakdown in relationships. Anger can have a disruptive effect on our thoughts and behavior. It interferes with our ability to think and act clearly and can lead us to act impulsively without thinking first. Anger is sometimes used as a defense barrier when we feel hurt or embarrassed.
When anger is suppressed or turned inwards this can also lead to problems resulting in ways of suppressing the anger such as eating disorders, self-harm, drugs and alcohol addictions. People who find it difficult to talk about how they feel and perhaps trauma which they have experienced in the past often turn the anger inwards. This is also expressing anger in a negative and unhealthy way.
If you feel angry you have every right to express that and a healthy way of expressing anger is to be assertive (not aggressive).
Everyone has the right to express their feelings and to be treated with respect.
Sometimes when a person is angry it is easy to take that anger out in a negative way on those who are closest to us.
There are three types of anger:
A response to Frustration, when we want something we cannot have or cannot do. Feeling angry with ourselves or with other people who are not giving us something we want or need, feeling we are being treated unfairly.
Instrumental Anger is used in a calculating way to get what we want to achieve something, when presenting ourselves in an angry way, people are more likely to try to please or obey us giving us what we want or need.
The cathartic purpose is an outburst of anger, releasing all suppressed anger and emotions so that we can feel better for getting it out of our system both physically and emotionally.
Our unconscious motivators can be the reasons why we react the way we do, when we ‘lose it’ or a child ‘kicks off’ in school without knowing or being aware of this at the time. Responses to our deep-rooted unconscious fears and desires that in turn brings patterns of thoughts associated to them that lead then to behaviour the anger we present in that instant or situation.
Displaced Anger occurs when we are angry and we direct that anger on an object or take it out on the wrong or innocent person usually because it is easier than focussing and addressing the real reason or person that is the root cause of the anger. Repressed anger occurs when the unconscious part of our mind stores memories, memories that may be painful, feelings of hurt that slowly build up over time that we are not aware of, which then can control our feelings, behaviour and anger in our conscious awareness. This is the way our anger then presents itself.
I have several years under my belt working as a counsellor with anger. My aim is to support people to help them control their own anger and behaviour with the goal of then, exploring the root cause of their anger with them so they become aware of how to address and act or react the best way possible for them. I feel disappointed with society at times because clients of all ages and people in general just seem to measure themselves as a person on their anger. “I am a bad person because I get angry, I hit the wall and break my knuckles in temper because it is my fault I am angry”. This is one concept I work with to dissolve with all my clients. I am constantly trying to educate young people that it is good to feel angry and that in fact anger is not a bad emotion, it serves as a secondary emotion reacting to the hurt, rejection, upset, unfairness etc. that we feel is happening and experiencing in that moment, however it is how we think, feel, react and behave, that is the problem and not the anger as such.
The difference I am trying to make, is working with the young people to give them the anger management tools to understand their anger where it is coming from, how to recognise their triggers and understand them by acknowledging the emotions underneath and dealing with them, to be able to express them in a civil way by speaking rather than screaming, simply kicking off, punching someone or smashing the TV before it becomes a serious problem in their life.
Anger management is individual. Not one part or strategy will work for everyone. I believe and from experience that ‘counting to ten’ the old favourite does not work these days. Children and young people are displaying anger in a much quicker and more violent way, struggling to count to two! Maybe this is because they have already hit the crisis stage, but without being given the chance of support with their anger, this is all they will know, which then habit forming becomes their way of coping, reacting and behaving.
Anger Management Counselling
In an ideal world, anger management techniques and strategies would be taught and everyone would then have a grasp on their anger and the world would be a much happier place. Unfortunately, I feel in this generation, anger is more of a problem than ever before, maybe because there are more broken families, where attachment issues can arise and step parents and step siblings are playing more of a part in everyday life.
Anger, thoughts, feelings, reactions and behaviour become more difficult to control especially when drugs and alcohol are also involved. I am finding working with my older age group and adults this is also on the increase. Suppressed feelings seem to raise their ugly heads more easily when under the influence.