HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ANGER TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR LIFE
Do you have an anger problem?
We see these angry people on TV all the time. The husband and wife, arguing while they’re washing dishes, who end up smashing plates full of food all over the kitchen. The angry teenager screaming “I hate you!” at his parents while he smashes his cell phone into the wall and then runs to his room and slams the door. Even young children get into the act, stomping on toys and throwing tantrums left and right. And then someone usually says something funny, the audience laughs, and the whole incident is forgotten.
What they don’t show you on TV is that someone has to clean up that mess in the kitchen. And someone has to pay to replace the plates. They don’t show you that the reason the teenager thinks it’s OK to scream and destroy his cell phone is that he watches his parents act the same way. And they don’t tell you that the reason the toddler is so angry is that everybody else in the house is always screaming and throwing things.
What they don’t show you on TV is all the harm anger can do. It has lasting effects on everyone around you. The toddler who is standing in the doorway witnessing the plate-throwing incident between mommy and daddy is learning that, when you’re angry, it must be OK to scream and throw things. Mommy and daddy do it. And it must be OK to call people names – mommy and daddy do it all the time.
On TV you don’t get to see that same toddler, a few years later, physically attack their third-grade teacher or try to poison their fifth-grade teacher because they didn’t like the grade they got on the math test. You don’t get to see that same toddler grow into an angry teenager who takes a gun to school or the mall.
All you see on TV is that someone gets angry and that it’s OK to violently express that anger…and then everyone laughs.
In real life, it’s pretty easy to recognize when someone we know at work or school, or even just an acquaintance, has a problem with anger. They yell a lot, they throw things, they stomp their feet, they call you names and say terrible things to you, they behave irrationally, sometimes even putting themselves or someone else in danger.
Unlike TV, though, the things they say to you are not funny. They’re often very hurtful, things that they would never consider saying if they weren’t so angry. Things that they apologize for later, but that can never be taken back or forgotten.
Their actions aren’t funny, either. Breaking plates and destroying property shows a lack of respect, not an appreciation of comedy. In fact, a lot of times, their actions are threatening. Imagine what that toddler in the doorway must really feel
. I doubt she’s laughing at all the fun mommy and daddy are having. More likely, she’s frightened, which means she feels threatened.
We see these angry people every day and we tend to shy away from them. There’s no telling what will set them off and we certainly don’t want to be around the next time their violent temper erupts. But what if these angry people are right in your house? What if you can’t get away from them? Worse yet, what if the angry person is YOU and you just don’t realize it? What if YOU are the reason your entire household is always so upset and everyone you love is angry themselves?
Too often we look for scapegoats, we look to others to blame for our bad choices because it’s difficult to accept that we ourselves may be the problem. The way I look at it, when the same issues continue to arise, when you often find yourself at the center of turmoil in your personal and professional life and you always arrive at the same outcome, for example,e your co-workers keep their distance from you and you find the same is true at home and your spouse and family do the same thing then perhaps the problem isn’t purely coincidental. If you find that you keep getting the same outcomes and reactions from people in your life, then it could be you. It’s what you’re doing that you’re not aware of. This should be a wake up call that you need to change. The sooner you can recognize this in yourself and that you need to change, the quicker you’ll have your life back on track.
Just remember, if you keep getting the same reactions from people in regards to your behavior then you need to take a good long look at yourself and change some things. Wake up and observe other’s reactions to you, why do they treat you in a certain way?, what is it you are doing for people to treat you in this manner? Observe not only what you say to others but how you say it and how they react in response. You might find that you come across angry or have an aggressive tone when you speak without even realizing it.
ANGER AND ITS AFTER EFFECTS
In recent years we’ve heard more and more about anger management, mainly because the effects of anger have become so prevalent in the news. One of the most insidious forms of violence, domestic violence, is on the rise and its cause is directly attributed to anger. Men commit 95% of all reported domestic violence and domestic violence is the number one reason for women seeking emergency medical attention.
Poor anger management is also the leading cause of physical abuse resulting in serious injury or death of children. Researchers found that, in 2004, over 80% of children who were killed were under 4 years old. And Shaken Baby Syndrome, an injury that directly results from a poor ability to manage anger, affects between 1,200 and 1,600 children every year. In 2004, an estimated 3 million children were found to have been abused or neglected.
Domestic violence is a learned behavior. Children who are abused, or who witness abuse or violence, often grow up to be angry, abusive, violent adults. The cycle often begins with men who have low self-esteem, who imagine the world is against them, and it builds into an all-consuming anger that eventually escalates to violence and abuse. These men become husbands and fathers and pass their abusive and violent behaviors on to their children and the cycle repeats itself.
Poor anger management leads to violence and by either allowing, excusing, or ignoring that behavior, we actually encourage it and allow it to grow. When angry people learn there won’t be any consequences for their violent behavior, the violence just gets that much worse. And as the other people in the household see how successful the angry person is, they too, turn to anger to get want they want. Especially since there are no consequences for their poor behavior.
Children who grow up in these angry, abusive households quickly learn that, in order to get what they want, it’s okay to destroy things and hurt other people and the cycle continues.
Once caught in this cycle of anger and abuse, it’s difficult to escape. The angry abuser commits a harmful action toward a member of his family, either verbally or physically, and then feels remorse for what he’s done. Then he becomes angry with himself for losing control, the anger escalates and the abuse happens again. The person who has poor anger management skills often convinces himself that he’ll feel better once he “lets that anger out”, but does he really?
You might think you feel better when you’re in the middle of that rage, but when it’s over how do you feel? You probably want to curl up under a rock somewhere. Don’t worry though. Just as anger and violence can be learned, so can anger management. The cycle can be broken.
TYPES OF ANGER
There are different types of anger. Different things make us angry for different reasons. Recognizing what type of anger you’re experiencing will help you to control it. So before we take a look at different ways of managing your anger, let’s try to define your anger first.
Exactly what it says. These people are so wrapped up in their anger that they can’t take it anymore. They often result in destruction or violence, or even physical violence, causing harm to themselves or someone else.
This type of anger is total without cause. Generally, due to low self-esteem, the person imagines that someone is against him and resorts to anger and violence to lash back at their imagined attacker.
These people typically use sarcasm or mockery as a way to express their anger and they stay away from confrontations and conflict. Which generally makes them even angrier with themselves for not being able to handle the object of their anger directly.
Probably the most common type of anger, this occurs as a direct response to someone else lashing out at you or doing something that makes you angry.
People use this type of anger to punish themselves for something they think they’ve done wrong. They may cut themselves, or overeat, or even starve themselves.
Anger that’s expressed verbally, not physically. People who experience verbal anger use insults and criticism to put people down and hurt them psychologically.
When something is volatile, it’s explosive. Anger is the same way. This type of anger can erupt out of nowhere and can be extremely violent. It often comes and goes without any warning.
These are the most common types of anger. Do you recognize any of them in yourself? As I said, different types of anger occur in different circumstances. And something that made you angry yesterday may not even bother you today. But it’s important to understand the different types of anger that you may be experiencing so you’ll be able to decide how best to handle each different situation.
THE BENEFITS OF ANGER
It’s important that you know you’re not alone. Everyone experiences some type of anger every day of their life. And the point of learning to manage your anger isn’t to suppress it and completely do away with it, but to learn how to channel it in a positive way to improve your life and your relationships.
While uncontrollable rage and anger can have very negative effects on your life, properly managed anger can also be very positive. For one thing, anger can be very motivational. Think about it. When you’re angry with your boss, you tend to work harder to show him he was wrong. When you’re angry with yourself for not meeting a goal or accomplishing a task, you try that much harder to get it done.
Experiencing anger is also another way our bodies signal us that something is wrong and that we need to take care of it. When we angrily snatch up our child just as they’re about to get into the street, or we stand up to a bully for a friend or colleague, or when we jump in and help that stranger who is being mugged. These are all occasions when our anger has spurred us to act in an effort to right a wrong.
Many of the most important changes in society have come about because someone was angry with the way things were and wanted to right the wrong. For example, the Civil Rights Movement and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and PETA.
If it weren’t for outraged activists, we wouldn’t have the laws we have that protect children, the mentally ill, people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds, the handicapped and disabled. And the list goes on and on of people who have been helped because someone became angry and decided to channel that anger toward a positive end rather than one of destruction and violence.
The next time you get angry and say or do something you’ll feel sorry for, just remember that anger does have it’s placed and doesn’t beat yourself up about it. Instead of wallowing in guilt and making yourself even angrier, take responsibility for your actions and work on managing your anger instead of letting it manage you.
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