In my personal experience, anger is a secondary emotion that is triggered by a primary emotion such as powerlessness, rejection or inadequacy. It took me a long time to understand that my angry outbursts were more than spontaneous rage. Over many years of professional support, I discovered that when I felt powerless the result would be an angry outburst which was detrimental to my relationships and in one instance even cost me my job. From my own experience, here are 5 steps that can help you to manage the anger you feel in your own life.
1. Take responsibility
I would often have somebody or someone else to blame for my outburst and in this could justify my anger because “they made me do it”, I now know that I am responsible for my own actions and reactions. Taking responsibility for my own behaviour was a challenging process, but in hindsight I see it was one of the keys to managing my anger. By admitting you are responsible for your anger, you are also recognising that it is something that you need to work on and can experience a great freedom in knowing this. We need to own the responsibility for our actions and reactions if we are to commence change.
2. Identify the trigger for your anger
The trigger for my anger was a sense of powerlessness, and with professional support I now recognise precursors to potential outbursts such as a tightness in my chest which tells me I am about to ‘explode’. If you know what triggers your anger, then ask yourself this question, do you know what type of feeling you experience just before you have an outburst? Working on understanding this is a fundamental aspect of begin the process of dealing with your anger.
3. Have strategies when the feelings of anger become present
Having recognised where anger manifests itself before the outburst, I can now stop, think and take a breath before I embarrass myself with an outburst. I consciously understand that my anger is building and am therefore able to give myself the space to overcome that moment.
Note: This still continues to be a work in process. If you are tired, these precursors may be harder to recognise but strategies to manage anger will become more natural as you grow. It is always a choice to implement these strategies no matter where you are at in your journey with anger.
4. Have an outlet or two
It is important that your anger does not become pent up, and it is healthy to have an outlet for it so long as your anger is expressed in a safe environment. Physical exercise is a good way of getting frustrations out- assuming you don’t injure an opponent while playing a team sport! Exertion of physical exercise, not abuse or physical altercations with other people assist us in releasing angry energy.
Seeking professional help is also a great outlet for anger. It can be useful to talk to people you love, but often we are too proud to listen and/or we will get angry with them when they tell us some home truths. In seeking professional support as I did, not only are you in a safe place but your loved ones are kept safe while you work through the process.
Note: This process took me well over 10 years working with different professionals as I found that much like an onion, when a layer of myself was peeled back, a need to work through further issues arose.
5. Share your journey
Enhance your relationships with those you love by sharing understanding of your journey. Help them to understand that you alone are responsible for your inner journey, not them. As you become emotionally healthier, sharing your thoughts and processes with those you love can enrich the trust within your relationship.
Do you struggle to control your anger? Are angry outbursts common place in your life? Contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.