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All that RAGE: Anger and Anger Management

 Anger is considered a negative emotion. But when channelized for a higher or greater cause, anger can be used for transformation. However, most often, anger is counterproductive and self-destructive. We need to learn anger management as it often lands us in trouble. Though anger can be used ethically also, but most people regard it as insulting and negative for us.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. Buddha (563 BC-483 BC) Founder of Buddhism.
Anger clipart

The following are snatches of a conversation between an anger patient “Chris” and an anger-management therapist:
Chris: Doctor, I cannot control my anger.
Therapist: Okay…. Can you please elaborate?
Chris: Small things irritate me, and then I explode. I cannot control myself and I become abusive.
Therapist: Okay… so, little things irritate you. They pile up and then you burst out.
Chris: Yes.
Therapist: What do you do when little things irritate you?
Chris: I can’t do anything!
Therapist: Can you give me an example when an outburst occurred recently?
Chris: For example, last Sunday I took my daughter for an outing. I was anyway irritated because of the office work. My daughter started being very stubborn- she wanted a very expensive doll. I suddenly lost temper and thrashed her, said thing I shouldn’t have said. I feel very ashamed of myself.
Therapist: I see… what happened in office?
Chris: They are just small regular things… I was irritated by my team as I had told them to do something, explained it to them… they said they understood but produced something absolutely crappy.
Anger in kids
Therapist: So, what were you irritated at?
Chris: They said they had understood and yet did not deliver….
 Therapist: So, if they don’t deliver, what happens?
Chris: It’s not about the delivery of the product. It’s their attitude which irritates me.
Therapist: What about the attitude?
Chris: That they take their work for granted. They do not function maturely….
Therapist: So, you don’t share a similar attitude towards work, and let’s assume they behave immaturely. What about it irritates you?
Chris: I feel taken for granted. I feel helpless.
Therapist: What did you do?
Chris: I shouted at them and made sure that they corrected the mistakes.
Therapist: So, the shouting reduces your irritation?
Chris: Well, not really. I just pushed my irritation aside for the time being to make sure that the work was done. But I was still very irritated. So, when my daughter was being stubborn I snapped…
Therapist: What happened when your daughter was being stubborn?
Chris: I just felt so taken for granted and just didn’t know what to do…. 

anger management

                  Anger can be of various types. 
               Here are some that may resonate with you.
      Anger as a coping strategy:   
            Here, the client finds it difficult to cope with situation, he feels helpless and this triggers his anger. If he acknowledges his helplessness at the onset of an outburst, he can devise an effective strategy to deal with the situation. What the client thought of as small incidents in office were actually triggers for his anger. If he had dealt with the situation at the time he had experienced it, he may have been more successful at preventing the outburst later.

Solution: When you feel helpless, don’t be ashamed of the feeling. Acknowledge it and then find a strategy to deal with the situation that is making you helpless. In the client’s case, it might be that he needs to communicate more effectively, or when he delegates, he needs assess the work progress more closely. When you plan your strategy, you also think of negative strategies. A strategy might not give an instant solution. It is important to stay focused on the solution.

anger management movie2. Anger as a grudge: When we hold on to anger towards a person or a situation long after the event has happened.
For example; “I can never forgive my sister in law for what she did to me immediately after I got married.” It may not matter that the person has minimal contact with his sister in law now. This grudge creates bitterness within and hampers one’s ability to enjoy life fully. We feel right and justifies in holding on to this kind of anger even though we may be the only ones who are affected by it.

Solution: Is it to forgive the person and let go of the internal pain. Often we say, “I can’t forgive”, we actually mean to say, “I won’t forgive”. We can always choose to forgive and let go. It might take some time.

3. Anger to defend ourselves: When we feel personally attacked we respond aggressively. ‘I am being attacked’ is often a perception than a reality. A lot of times, criticism or other’s behavior makes us feel vulnerable, and we use anger to deal with it.

Solution: Acknowledge your vulnerability. Understand the things in your environment which are making you feel attacked or intimidated. You make a list to identify in real time, and find another strategy to deal with the situation. Detach your self-worth from “other’s response”. Try to accept people’s behavior as their problem.
anger management movie

Anger is only an emotion. Though on one hand it can lead people to do shocking things, actually it is an indication that something is bothering us. If we can go beyond this emotion and try to find a solution to either change or effectively deal with the situation, we would have used it constructively. Ultimately, it is our choice how we use and deal with it. We need anger as a tool to cope with the situation and not that of a hazard. Anger-management is what we chiefly nee in our real live.