What is Anger
Anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Another example of anger would be, when someone does something that we do not like, or feel threatened by, this feeling of anger can begin to show itself. When we experience a strong feeling of displeasure, often times, that is anger.
Have you ever been a part of an experience in which you were left with a strong feeling of displeasure? This happens to us all the time; that moment someone says something that we don’t like or approve of, this feeling of anger begins to emerge.
Most of us respond from this angered place instinctively as well as impulsively. For example, If someone were raised in a home or environment where the expression of anger were commonplace this individual might also express anger in a way that is reflective of that experience. By result, instinctively one might respond to situations and events in a similar way from people in their immediate environments. We learn from the people and things directly or indirectly within our personal ecosystem.
Anger is learned
In psychotherapy there is a term we use called “modeling.” It essentially means conducting yourself in a particular manner to display a proper way of managing or conducting oneself. When we model adequate behavior it can have great impact. It provides the other person with an experience that may lead to a future corrective behavioral response.
All behavior is learned behavior, whether you are aware of it or not. We don’t just wake up one day and start mistreating people, that is something we learn. Just how some of us have learned to behave negatively, we can also learn to behave totally opposite, motivated by being positive and encouraging.
If you are someone who struggles with anger issues, there is help and many options available. It all starts with an openness to providing yourself an honest assessment of your anger level. This will allow you to bring attention to this area and make the necessary adjustments or corrections. Especially for those who struggle with being positive and encouraging to others.
Who is Affected by Anger
If you’re an honest person you’d admit that anger has probably gotten the best of you at one point or another. What makes one individual upset does not necessarily make the next individual upset, it varies. It differs from person to person.
Often times when we get upset, there is a cause and effect situation taking place. Before we get upset, there is a cause (the things that piss us off) followed by the effect (the reaction to the situation, i.e, expression of anger). During this cause and effect situation what’s under the surface is the lack of understanding that anger is a secondary emotion.
For example, let’s say you have a teenage child who is 16 years old. He or she has been given a curfew of 11pm. Say for instance he or she comes strolling in at two in the morning. I’m sure for most of us, we are gonna be pissed, which is another word for being angry or upset.
Before the feeling of upset or anger emerges, there is a flash of other potential emotions that arise. Consequently, these emotions often do not receive the proper attention necessary. Acquiring this subtle attuned skill can aid in the discussion with the child later.
Anger is a Secondary Emotion
Initially the first emotion we might experience is fear; fear that something may have happened to your child or the child may be a part of an unsafe situation. Fear is not the only emotion being experienced. Another emotion might be sadness; sad because the whereabouts of your child are unknown and there is a potential chance that your child may be in danger.
When you think about it, there were various emotions that one had experienced. The harsh reality is we don’t acknowledge our full spectrum of emotions. We isolate our focus and primarily give our attention to the anger. When this happens, we run the risk of reacting impulsively and responding from a place of anger.
It would benefit us to have an understanding of anger being a secondary emotion. The emotions that transpires before the anger is considered primary emotions. Let’s rewind back to the analogy from earlier with the child coming home past curfew.
Once that child walks through the door, the primary emotion that is often displayed is anger. If we can become aware that anger is a secondary emotion it can aid us in our management of our anger. It will allow us to convey the additional accompanying emotions to enhance greater understanding.
What stands in the way of managing anger
- Feeling understood/feeling heard
- Effective communication tools
Here are a few steps to manage anger
- Deep breathing
- Positive thinking
- Learn forgiveness