top of page

Dealing With Anger Management Issues

Although anger is described as a normal healthy emotion, and everyone gets angry at one point, we have received mixed messages about anger. The mixed messages have confused us. The confusion usually stems from whether anger is constructive or destructive. Consequently, we tend to struggle to deal with our and other people’s anger.


We may think other people's anger does not affect us. Still, it does directly and indirectly, especially when we are placed in the unenviable position of having to respond directly or decide on the appropriateness of another person's behavior. Further, anger, like most things in life, gets attention when it becomes unmanageable. When we attempt to control something, it usually means containment after some disruption. In the case of anger, we have done or said something that has upset the balance of an otherwise stable environment.


So, how do we deal with anger?

Is it ok to be angry?

Is anger destructive or constructive?

Where and when is it appropriate to express anger?

Does being angry means, I’ve lost control of myself?


When we get angry, we usually try to hide it using the immature defense mechanisms of denial, projection, or displacement. In the last post, the uncensored unsent angry letter, I quoted the Stoic Philosopher Seneca describing anger as “brief madness.” I will mention Seneca’s view here on hiding anger, he describes anger as a passion, “all other passions you can hide away and nurse in secret, but anger thrusts itself forward and becomes visible in your features, seething all the more plainly the greater it grows.”


Our attempt to hide anger shows that we are aware of the increasing frustration; importantly, anger is not unpredictable. We know what frustrates us from our previous experiences with people, places, and things. We must sometimes avoid these situations. However, if we practice avoidance as our principal anger management strategy, we will not learn to adjust our thinking and expectations related to our anger triggers. The things we try to prevent eventually become overwhelming; once we become overwhelmed, we may act indiscriminately.


Even when we do not attempt to hide our frustrations, we act in passive-aggressive ways; in other words, we become “nice-nasty.” Deciding to be “nice-nasty” is an example of the destructive ways we use anger. Sometimes people are unaware of your frustrations, but you hold them accountable. So it is constructive to assertively state your frustrations to the other person to make them aware you are frustrated.


We struggle with our anger to the point of feeling embarrassed or disappointed for feeling angry. Evidenced by statements like, “My emotions got the better of me,” “I acted out of character,” or “I should be in control of my emotions.”


The use of sentence stems can be an excellent strategy to manage and learn about our anger; consider the following sample stems:

  • As I get angry, one thing I notice that I do is…

  • When I am mad, I have trouble…

  • When I get mad, I usually feel…

  • During an anger episode, I usually feel…

  • After a bout of anger, I typically feel and think…

  • The angrier I get, my thoughts are…

  • Words or phrases that typically trigger my anger…

  • I frequently get mad when…

  • My anger is so intense I feel…

  • I mask my anger by…

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate my anger…

  • When I am angry, I am fearful I will…

  • I go from 0 to 100 when...

Another anger management strategy is the maintenance of an anger diary.


We have a role to play if our anger is constructive or destructive. The use of sentence stems helps us understand several things about our anger. First, we can learn our anger cues, warning signs, and triggers. Our responses can be used to track our behaviors when we get angry.


Stay Naturally Curious


Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page