Are you worried about not being in control of your anger or afraid when others get angry? Does anger get in the way of your relationships or your work? Do you isolate yourself because you are afraid of anger?
Without awareness, people tend to implode with anger or explode. There is a middle ground of allowing yourself to feel angry and express it in an appropriate and contained way.
People often seek therapy to help manage their anger in order to lead a more satisfying life, have better relationships and learn to say no in an appropriate way.
Because anger can be felt in different ways, during therapy we will look at what your relationship is to anger; what you learnt about anger from your history; what triggers you to feel angry or how you don’t feel angry and then we can look at how you express it.
As the picture of you and your anger becomes clearer so we can work to find ways of expressing your anger in a contained and clear way.
If you are willing and wanting to explore how you are in relation to anger then therapy can help you express your ‘No’.
Isn’t being angry just being aggressive?…
Anger is a feeling and it is OK to be angry. It is what we do with our anger that’s important and this is what the focus of therapy can be. So feeling angry is not being aggressive. Saying we are angry is not being aggressive. If you act out our anger in an explosive way then you are being aggressive.
Anger is a natural human emotion as a response to threat, disappointment, attack or an injustice. In its simplicity it is just us saying no I don’t like or I don’t want ‘that’.
It becomes complex when we don’t know how to express ourselves clearly or fear for consequences of expressing ourselves.
Anger as an emotion is often feared and judged. This fear and judgment can come from the experience of the ‘acting out’ of feeling angry.
You may have a history of living in a family with someone who was aggressive and emotionally or physically violent. You may have experienced of someone close to you withdrawing in a passively aggressive way. As a consequence you too may show this behaviour or indeed fear this behaviour in you so have no outlet to your feeling of anger. You may say you are fine when indeed this is not so but the least threatening path.
“But I don’t get angry, that’s my problem.” “I’m afraid that if I open the angry box I’ll be angry forever and who wants that?”
“I’m scared of conflict so avoid it. If I look at anger in therapy then it will all be too messy”
People will often shy away from talking to a therapist about their anger. Sometimes a person may feel shame about an explosive episode, some people are afraid that they may become monsters and go from zero anger to becoming the Incredible hulk.
The actual opposite can be true. To talk about our shame can help us manage it better and then address our relationship to anger. If we believe we will go from zero to extreme then it can be helpful to find the middle ground.
Anger is just saying no, it’s how we say it that matters.
what difference could this make?……
It was during my own therapy that I learnt about the importance of anger in my emotional vocabulary. I didn’t think I got angry when in fact I was just not saying or showing I felt angry. I would implode with my anger which was then veiled in anxiety.
I thought being angry meant you either shouted, got violent or sat there sulking with steam coming out of your ears. None of that was attractive and not where I wanted to go so I resisted talking about anger.
When I understood that anger was a spectrum from mild irritation to furry I was able to recognise my anger and started by allow myself to feel irritated and tell people that was how I was feeling without shouting or sulking. That was the start.
Now I can be clearer about when I feel angry and I have choices about what I do with my anger and how and when I express how I’m feeling and often this is just saying no in a clear, kind and polite way.
I don’t have to say everything is fine when it isn’t and I can manage conflict with more ease.
One of the benefits of understanding our relationship to anger through knowing what our pattern of expression or lack of expression is simply the benefit of choice. If I know what I am feeling and know that I have more options than imploding or exploding then I can be more connected to myself and feel empowered.
There is something very liberating when we find a way to clearly express our anger in a contained way without the need to act out.
If you want to know more about your anger, learn to feel it and use it in a more satisfying way then please get in contact.
If you just want this to be part of your therapy, that’s fine too so please get in contact.