ANGER—HOW TO RESOLVE IT
Anger is one of the scariest and most uncomfortable emotions. Observe an angry child and you’ll see how thoroughly it can take a person over. It can make you feel and act like a desperate animal, lashing out in rage and frustration at everyone.
As we grow we learn to control our behavior to some extent. An angry adult or adolescent can be truly dangerous, as we all know. But controlling our behavior doesn’t make our rage any less compelling. It just keeps us out of jail. We learn to keep it under wraps.
This protective wrapping can make anger hard to identify, especially for the person who is angry. Anger is commonly denied. As a result, it can remain unresolved for years, causing a variety of problems from chronic bitterness to addiction and illness.
The key to coping with anger is to recognize it for what it is. It’s the same for adults as for children—an emotional response either to not getting what we want or to getting what we don’t want. In truth, anger is a secondary emotion that either follows or substitutes for hurt, fear or frustration. Calling it what it really is can help to resolve it. Often, we prefer to be angry than to acknowledge hurt, fear, guilt or shame. Rage is somehow more righteous. Anyway, we’ve been badly wronged. And it’s not right!
Once recognized, the emotions must be accepted. We can’t control out emotions; we can only accept or deny them.
Once accepted, the next step is to express the emotion. Obviously, this must be done in a controlled way. You can blow off steam by digging a hole in the yard or smashing something to a pulp but be careful not to hurt or scare yourself or someone else. That’s a quick way to get in more trouble than you want!
Then, tell someone how you feel, preferably the person you’re angry at. Don’t bite their head off, just tell them you’re
angry. Do this only after you’re under control. Mind your manners if you can but do tell them. They may not be willing or able to help you or even hear you but this will enable you, at least, to release your pent-up frustration. This loosens it up a bit, releasing its hold on you.
Finally, accept your losses, lick your wounds and turn the page. Don’t hold a grudge. It will contaminate your life. Anger prolonged is resentment, contempt, bitterness—in short, poison.
But in truth, anger is just a feeling, no more real than any other feeling or thought. It’s just a reaction in your mind (and body). Do you want to stay angry? Many choose to do that. They sort of enjoy the righteous indignation. But you don’t have to. Let it go. When it returns (and it will), let it go again. Don’t allow it to take over your life. It may ruin, shorten or even end it. At the very least, it will make what should taste sweet into a bitter pill that’s painful to swallow.