Anger Is Not Always What It Seems: How Anger Management Therapy Helps
Research in the field of psychology has been painting a more complete picture of anger.
We typically understand anger as an expression of frustration or annoyance or a response to a threat of some kind.
Anger can also be a defense against perceived emotional threats, thereby diverting the person from unwanted feelings generated from trauma or loss or depression.
In other words, anger can help to numb or fend off pain. Anger may be understood as a symptom of unacknowledged fear and hurt.
How Do You Experience Anger?
The emotion driving your anger could be hiding just below the surface.
Getting angry could be a form of self-medicating in order to ignore a deeper problem.
You may recognize the following scenario: The day may start wrong. It could be only a small thing, but you cannot help but feel slightly off. Later, small things seem to pile up, creating a snowball effect where every frustration or worry becomes magnified, causing you to feel edgy but you are not sure about how you actually feel.
You may wish you were not always so irritated by the little things. You may also wish you had a higher tolerance for discomfort.
Do you feel remorseful, confused, sad or even helpless after responding in anger?
Are your sleep patterns disturbed? Are you experiencing a loss of interest in your passions or things you once enjoyed?
If you frequently beat yourself up for behaving badly, yet at the same time, blame others for making you angry, you are probably in need of anger management training.
The Problem with Anger
Unnecessary angry outbursts can alienate those you love. Seething anger, where you appear to others as simmering, can also create an environment of defensiveness or resentment between partners.
Small, passive jabs can induce feelings of discomfort, insecurity, and mistrust as well as bitterness.
The problem is that anger can block a person’s ability to see clearly. It can become the default mechanism and a dysfunctional way of behaving.
Although it may be an unconscious attempt to exercise control over one’s emotional life, it often fails because of the unwanted consequences. This process tends to create more frustration, triggering unhealthy cycles of powerlessness and defensiveness.
Frequent expressions of anger tend to undermine or do real damage to relationships, affecting the way others feel about you as well as behave towards you.
When anger turns violent or threatening it is often those closest to you who end up as collateral damage. Even those who care most about you have a limit to their tolerance.
Getting to the Source of Your Anger
Anger can be insidious. At one moment, you feel fine. At another, you feel tense and unable to stop the surge of negative feelings.
Your anger may be the result of your feelings of insecurity and sensitivity. Anger in that case is not the primary emotion, but a symptom of other issues such as depression or anxiety.
When you take things too personally or concentrate on the negative, you tend to believe your angry response is justified.
Anger management counseling can help you to understand the source of your anger and begin to change the way you perceive your world so you can react to it differently.
It is possible to control your anger, restore your relationships, and make peace with yourself.
How Anger Management Therapy Can Help
Anger Management Counseling can help you to shift your perspective in order for you to have better outcomes in all your relationships.
When you can better differentiate or interpret situations, whether at home or at work, as
non-threatening or more neutral, you will be able to develop healthier more productive ways to communicate.
You may also discover that the source of your anger is linked to your depressed mood, anxiety, or past memories that have been repressed.
Understanding the source of your anger, the reason you have behaved in this dysfunctional way, is often the first step in real change.
With anger management counseling, you can begin to sharpen your ability to handle more situations with grace.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with people struggling with powerful issues such as depression, addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, and work-life balance.