by Counsellor, Leamington Spa, Staffordshire
What is anger?
Anger is a normal emotion we experience when we feel that ‘someone has broken our rules’ about what is fair and just. Anger can range from ‘irritation’ to ‘fury’. Sometimes the way that we express our anger leads to difficulties and can impact on our relationships with others.
‘Anyone can become angry—that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy’ – Aristotle.
Some people are taught in childhood that anger is unacceptable. If anger is not expressed then anxiety, depression and physical symptoms may result. Sometimes people project their anger onto others and suggest, for example, that their partner seeks help for their anger problems. Counselling can help to understand exactly what is happening.
Sometimes our anger is caused by or is exaggerated by things which are causing us stress in our lives. Problems arise when anger occurs frequently and is intense and enduring. This can have a negative impact on our relationships both at home and work. People often judge us when we are angry and may respond to us in an angry way. We can get a bad reputation. People may start to avoid us or deliberately wind us up to see how we respond.
Feeling angry can be a good thing if it creates energy to make changes, for example to improve communities and the lives of other people and to help to stamp out injustice. However, anger often has negative consequences and hurts others as well as ourselves.
Do you recognise any of the following statements:
‘I feel angry all the time. I am always shouting at others.’
‘I bottle all my anger and resentments up and then I explode like a bottle of pop.’
‘I know I’m doing it and it’s as though I can’t help myself.’
‘I wish I was a nicer person and more relaxed.’
‘I need to be in control all the time and get angry if things don’t go my way.’
‘I feel angry with everyone and everything.’
‘I feel ashamed of my behaviour. Sometimes my reactions are completely unnecessary.’
How can counselling help?
Exploring the circumstances may help to identify the triggers to anger and to discover the meanings attached to situations. Two people may react to the same conflict situation in different ways. One person may shrug their shoulders and walk off and the other person may become angry and start behaving aggressively. Counselling may be helpful to explore the reasons for this and to challenge any unhelpful thinking.
Copyright 2010 Christine Bonsmann. All rights reserved.