What is Anger? Anger is a secondary emotion. What is a secondary feeling? It is the emotion that others see, like sad, happy, surprised, Bad, Fearful and disgusted.
What sits under the anger? Let us look at an example: road rage (meaning we have all had moments of this, maybe at different levels to others). Let’s start with waking up, running late, getting in the car, and halfway to work, you realise you left an important document at home. What do you think you would be feeling? They will vary depending on what experiences you have endured in your childhood. How have you seen others manage moments like this throughout your life?
Some of the things you could feel would be: Frustrated, cause now you have not only forgotten the documents, but the traffic is also going slow. Where do you focus that anger on? The other drivers. When you break it down, there is frustration for forgetting the document; when you get to work, the boss will ask for the record, and you could feel either humiliated or annoyed. So at the moment, you are in traffic, and all these things are going through your head, the car in front is taking too long to take off, your mind is racing with thoughts or shouts like: OMG, hurry up, oh for fuck sake, drive your dick, what are you doing, some of these comments could sound familiar. Imagine what is happening to your body, like what is physically happening; do you notice the knuckles getting tighter, your breathing changes, your shoulders are tenser, and your jaw is clenching tight? On top of all of this, your emotions are getting even more heightened by Adrenaline.
If you have read this far, I would like you to stand up and loosen up your body, give it a shake, and see what you notice about how you reacted to that.
Back to the car, now that you have stood up and had a shake, what was the cause of the anger? Was it the other drivers, or were you running late and forgetting the document that set it off to remember how your day started? What happened throughout the day? When did it change if it did? I know you correctly said well wouldn’t have been so bad if the driver was to hurry up. Maybe if we got up earlier or sorted stuff the night before, would the morning have gone differently?
In anger management, self-awareness is a part of recognising when and how a situation has impacted us.
When we are Angry, we have Emotional, Physical and Mental changes. We feel, our body tenses, and our thoughts change in our minds. When this happens, do we see reason? Are we being realistic? What is it that we are Angry about in this situation?
When I work with someone with anger, I like to talk about the culture, environment, childhood, values and beliefs. Explore what ticks them off and what it is about that situation. Also, encourage acceptance and accountability. Cause let’s face it, our reaction is our responsibility. Correct, we can not control what someone else says, But we can manage how we react.
I will leave a list of different emotions that sit under anger and would like to challenge you to express those next time you feel angry and look at what it is that is sitting there.
Let down, Humiliated, Bitter, Mad, Aggressive, Frustrated, Distant. Critical. Betrayed, resentful, Disrespected, Ridiculed, Indignant, Violated, Furious, Jealous, Provoked, Hostile, Infuriated, Annoyed, Withdrawn, Numb, Skeptical, Dismissive.
Remember, this is my perspective, things I have noticed in my work. Anger is not a destructive emotion; what we do with it can make it a negative emotion.