The most common feeling that emerges after denial has been broken is the feeling of Anger. It is often heard that when a person gets sober, they have the emotional age of when they began to drink. The way that we express anger is a learned behavior. Whether we learned it from controlling parents who constantly told us “Do not be angry” or from being in aggressive or violent relationships, the good news is that we can learn healthy ways to express anger.
It must be noted here that some are so uncomfortable with this feeling, that they simply repress it. People with repressed anger have to be aware that it can cause difficulty in many areas of life. They will avoid confrontation at all costs.
This fear of confrontation leads them into all kinds of people pleasing activities.
Then when they find themselves in a situation where anger is justified they explode.
When ashamed and guilt ridden with this kind of behavior, the person then returns on a mission to please everyone. I do see that repressed anger turns into resentment, keeping resentment in can turn to hate. This in turn is so uncomfortable that the danger of a person picking up a drink or getting depressed is alarming.
It is imperative that the statement “Anger is a luxury we can no longer afford” is truly understood in its intended purpose. So what is the solution?
Well the first thought we have to embrace is that Anger is not an action, it is a feeling. It is at this point we must approach Anger from the thinking man’s point of view.
It used to be that a person who had problems expressing Anger was taught to monitor himself from a behavioral perspective.
That is, while he was expressing himself, he should note if his heart was beating fast or if he had sweaty palms, he should take a “time out”.
I prefer to approach an anger problem from the cognitive point of view.
More often or not, we first have to address the issue of
how to express anger appropriately.
To understand this we must become intimate with respect, and be able to identify all aspects of disrespect. This is important because in communication, once an act of disrespect occurs it becomes dysfunctional. It is no longer communication - it is a battle. Who is right, who is wrong, who can yell the loudest, and who wants to be heard.
We know that one of the feelings behind anger is fear.
So if you want less Anger in your life- work on your fears.
An attitude of wanting to understand rather than be understood is “helpful”.
The acts of disrespect and beyond are too numerous to list but here are a
few of the most common. Talking while the other person is talking.
If two people are talking at the same time, no one is listening. Standing while arguing. Sit down, it is harder to yell while sitting, also you will be more likely to be at even eye level. You will note that sitting can also create a “safe” distance between people; it also prevents the intimidation factor of one person standing “over” the other. Try to keep hand movements to a minimum.
Stay in the moment, do not bring up the past, and allow the anger to flow out of you.
This is not easy, but it can be done.
Stick to the subject, do not blame, and try to focus on the solution, not the problem. If you are angry at a person, use cognitive statements such as “the part of you that…” so you imagine being angry at part of the person, rather than the whole person. Avoid using hysterical words such as “you always” and “you never”.
“When you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to correct it”.
“Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments”.
Confucius ~ 500 BC.