FAQ's about Anger
Do you often feel on edge?
Do you worry that you are about to implode or explode?
You are not alone.
Life is demanding.
In our daily lives, we experience stress at home, at work, in our communities, as well as about local and global issues.
With so many potential stressors, it is easy to understand why so many people are struggling and on edge.
Our resources are exhausted and our coping skills are buckling under the pressure. Under these circumstances, patience is in short supply and anger is a common result. Many people are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their anger.
Maybe it's time to add some tools to your anger toolkit!
What if you could understand your anger so that you could start to pre-empt being triggered?
What if you could learn new skills to help you express your anger more effectively so that problems actually find resolution?
What if you could discover how to use your anger to build your relationships rather than break them down?
In therapy, I help women and men get a handle on their anger and find ways to express their anger more effectively.
1. What is anger?
Anger is an emotion, typically characterised by negative feelings, that you feel towards someone or something that you feel has wronged you. Although it is associated with negative feelings, it does not have to be all bad. It can be good too. Let me explain...
I like to think of anger as being analogous to fire.
Improperly handled, it is all too easy for a spark to turn into a flame. Without limits and safeguards, these flames can wreak havoc and cause damage. However, when there is respect for fire and it is used within specific settings or parameters, then it can be a vital source of heat, light, and energy.
So too with anger.
Anger has the ability to damage and break down relationships, but it can also give you impetus to stand up for what you believe in or for you to fight for a cause.
Whether anger is destructive or constructive all depends on how it is used.
2. When is anger a problem?
If you are seeking help for your anger, it might be because your anger has started to affect your relationships, mental health, or possibly even your physical health. You may see negative or destructive effects of anger in your daily life, and you may even want to change how you express your anger, yet still find yourself battling with anger, no matter how hard you try.
3. What makes anger such a difficult emotion for so many people?
Anger can be a particularly difficult emotion to manage - it is fierce and intense, and it makes it hard to think clearly.
Anger can quickly lead to conflict and an ongoing battle for who has the ‘right’ view. It is all too easy for anger to escalate in these situations, and it can be challenging to find a third perspective that holds both views in mind. When we are angry, we might say hurtful things and we may push away those we love, even when we don’t really want to. Unresolved conflict can leave us feeling agitated, sad, depleted, and possibly even guilty or anxious about the hurt that we may have caused.
Given the difficulties that conflict can cause, it may be tempting to keep our feelings of anger to ourselves, but this solution also uses a lot of energy and depletes us. It can result in fatigue, increasing frustration and resentment, passive aggression, and the gradual erosion of our relationships.
The challenge with anger is that the expression of too much or too little of it is damaging to ourselves and those around us. The problem with anger, though, is that it can be really hard to find the middle ground.
4. Is there another way to deal with anger?
Yes. Acquiring and refining your anger management skills can help you improve how you process and communicate your anger. These skills will enable you to use your anger to build healthier, authentic relationships, as well as repair ruptures that happen along the way.
It is important to remember that anger management is a skill. This means that it is something that you can learn and practice. Unfortunately, many people are not sufficiently taught how to manage and communicate their anger healthily and effectively. This is because learning how to manage anger comes from experiencing relationships with others (either a parent, partner, or friends) who offer you a space for you to process and communicate your anger. Unfortunately, the world we live in offers few opportunities to have our feelings handled in this way. This is not necessarily because others don't want to help us with our anger, rather it is because knowing how to manage anger is a skill that most people are still trying to develop themselves, and also because the conflict itself makes it especially hard for others to see our point of view. In these situations, it is very common for the conflict to go round and round in circles, leaving both parties feeling frustrated and in despair.
5. How does therapy help?
Therapy is a unique space in which you can have the experience of someone thinking together with you about you, your needs, and how you communicate them. It is also an opportunity for you to think about the effect that you have on others, as well as about the buttons that other people push in you. Armed with this knowledge, therapy then offers a practice ground for you to try out new ways of expressing and dealing with feelings.
Therapy will help you learn more about your anger, where it comes from, what triggers your anger, how you can pre-empt it, and how you can communicate it more effectively. This approach will help you find more effective ways of getting your needs met and it will also help you work towards repair and resolution within your relationships. It is important to note that repair isn’t always possible or desirable. In these situations, the therapy work often becomes about mourning the 'wished for' relationship and coming to terms with the limits of the relationship. We will work together to understand your specific circumstances and find what is best for you.
I look forward to working with you!