Anger Management

A sense of injustice fuels most anger, there are triggers to anger from our past when we thought things were ‘not fair’ can result in behaviour that gets out of control. To understand our values and those of others, to understand why we react the way we do leads to the ability to control and change our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

You can feel your anger rising, you are feeling something is unfair, unjustified, disrespectful what can you do?

Are you winding yourself up by rolling up every one of life’s injustices into this one moment of rage? Are you reacting to what is happening now or something from the past that has been triggered?

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To respond aggressively may make the situation worse but, you want to come out of this feeling ok, to have regained your self-respect, below are some methods and thoughts relating to anger control.

Take yourself mentally out of the situation, imagine an invisible boundary around yourself that protects you, visualise it, allow it to give you the time to consider your response.

Defuse the situation by acknowledging some part of what has been said ‘You have a point’, you may think it’s a stupid one but accepting some fault can calm things down.

Take yourself physically out of the situation, this does not have to look obvious if you pre-empt your explosion, a simple ‘excuse me’ may do the trick and give you the time to think.

Breathing; are you having an adrenaline rush reacting with a physical need for fight or flight, deep breathing will slow your hearts beating, breathe through your nose, breathe so that you can feel your stomach push outwards in for the count of 3, out for 5 increase to 7 & 11.

Your fists may already be clenched, clench them harder, as hard as you can till the skin goes white, feel the tension reach your shoulders then, focussing on the difference in feeling, slowly relax, unwind your fingers, relax your wrists, extend the sensation of relaxation to your neck, your head and breathe.

Were you really listening to them or reacting in a way familiar from the past ‘they think I’m an idiot’, ‘this isn’t fair’, can you see a pattern? Will seeing that pattern and recognising it help you feel differently next time?

Is it how you really feel or is your anger coming up from the past, did someone important to you behave in this way, are you angry about something you truly care about or is the injustice pattern behaviour?

Is it just the wrong place at the wrong time? Were you already in a bad mood or trying to take a shortcut with something? Is your reaction due to you rather than them? Can you recognise the trigger to that anger?

Is it because they didn’t understand you, can you find a way to communicate effectively without using blame? Try: When you…., I feel……., I want……..

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Anger often comes from frustration with ourselves, we may feel that we should have tried harder at something, made more effort, may feel justifiably caught out but react in anger.

Anger can result from stress, from feeling unable to cope, from tiredness, anger can also be a reaction to feeling not up to what is being asked of you, a lack of experience, negotiation skills, training or ability.

Anger can also arise from a sense of inequality or injustice in a relationship, you may feel that your partner does not care for you as much as you do for them, a jealousy and insecurity, perhaps they seem to care more for the children or for an addiction.

Anger triggers ‘primitive thinking’, we use a part of our brain that only thinks in black and white, we cannot see another’s point of view and cannot imagine that we are wrong, we cannot think properly or take in new information, we may behave recklessly wanting revenge out of proportion with the angers cause.

Whatever triggers our anger it is not useful unless we can recognise its purpose, what caused it and why we reacted in that way.

Most of us drag baggage and beliefs from the past with us and we need to recognise where our reactions originate, the feelings that accompany the thoughts in order to alter our behaviour.

The techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) initiate a process of raising self- awareness and understanding. Anger Management is a process of learning why…. why you feel this way, why you react this way.

Copyright © Ros Welch 2020. All rights reserved

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