Why do I get so mad? I really wish I hadn’t said that. I wonder if she will forgive me? Who cares anyway? It was her fault, she made me mad! Have you or someone you know made comments like these?
Anger is a confusing emotion. Some folks say we shouldn’t get angry, and if we do, we shouldn’t show it. Others say let it all out.
Anger and aggressive acts have long term impacts on relationships. Any time a person reacts out of anger, it is usually hurtful. Sometimes a husband will make an off -hand remark which unintentionally hurts his wife’s feelings. She, being hurt, reacts out of anger and yells at her husband about not appreciating her hard work. He is caught off guard and retaliates, and an argument begins. Harsh and hurtful words fly, and possibly dishes and chairs too. The children are afraid and unpleasant memories are made. Children learn that verbal and even physical aggression are acceptable ways to express anger. So, the next day at school when another student bumps into the child, the child yells threats and pushes the other child. A note is sent home, the child is yelled at and hit. And the cycle continues. This seems like an extreme example, but it happens much more than we think, because family violence is also a family secret.
We all get angry and that is okay. It is how we handle the anger that matters. The first step in anger management is recognizing that you are angry. Take a moment to figure out why you are angry. Think about the best way to express that anger. In the above example, the wife could have told her husband, “I feel unappreciated when you say certain things”. She vented, he gets a chance to explain his comment, apologize, or find out more about how and why his wife has these feelings. (Communication! A plus in any relationship). Had she kept the anger bottled-up, she would continue to let the anger grow and anything her husband did would have annoyed her. At some point she might have “blown”, either at her husband or at the children.
Or keeping the anger inside may have caused physical symptoms and she might have really had a headache by bedtime.
Take time to cool off. Usually when we get angry we tense up, breathe short, shallow breaths, and our heart beats faster. In other words, we get ready to fight. One of the most effective ways to calm down is to take several deep breaths, letting them out slowly. Count to 10, 20.. 100. Take a walk. Remove yourself from the situation.
Think about ways to express your anger. Are your words or actions going to make the matter worse or create more problems? Do you feel like slapping your children when you are angry? I have often heard “I’m so mad I just want to hit someone or break something”. Stop and Think. Will spanking my child when I am this angry be an effective way of teaching and disciplining, or will it only help me feel better by releasing my anger? Could I bruise my child? Will I regret the spanking later? What kind of example am I setting in regard to using physical means to express anger? Am I modeling violence as a solution?
In other words, evaluate the consequences of your actions and then choose the best way.
Anger is a strong feeling that will always be a part of our lives. When it is uncontrolled it can ruin our lives and the lives of others; when it is repressed and denied it can cause physical ailments and bitterness. However, anger that is well managed can make us stronger and more effective in dealing with others.
Seeking counseling for anger management will help you identify the triggers to your anger, as well as the personal costs of anger. You will become more aware of how anger hurts yourself and others. You will learn communication skills, coping skills, relaxation skills and problem solving skills. All these will help you cool down and manage the anger in a healthy way.