I was chatting with Curly headed boy the other day, as he’d been giving us some serious attitude for a few weeks. He was clearly angry with me, but I couldn’t work out what on earth was the matter.
So I picked one of those evenings – you know the ones when they want to chat lots, and talked him through anger and explained what it is.
The problem with anger, is that most often it comes from us not actually knowing how we are feeling and what has triggered us. So it often doesn’t achieve what we really need. By understanding it a bit more, we can make sure that things change.
I thought, maybe the gorgeous Danny Smith would like to chat about it over on Radio Verulam – if you would like to hear us chat about it, then you can listen again for 1 week here (I’m at 5.30-6).
So why do we get angry? …
1) Righteous Anger
This is the good anger. The one you don’t want to suppress. The one that will protect you and make you stand up for yourself.
This is all about when you know something isn’t right, it’s not fair, or is unjust.
It’s not always the right answer to compromise and keep the peace. Especially when we are people pleasers!
It’s also a protective anger – this is the one you would see in me if my ‘mother lion’ got triggered. It’s the the full on, controlled, ‘don’t mess with me’ anger.
2) Anger with someone else
Ironically we can often be angry with someone else, but get triggered by someone who isn’t actually anything to do with it. They do something minor and then get it in the neck because we are so angry with the other person.
Sadly the person that we are angry with are often less intimidating and easier to take our anger out on as well, so we find someone who is less threatening that the real person we are angry with.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to know why we are angry, because it’s not fair to be angry with the kids just because our boss is causing us trouble. Or even worse in the case of a divorce, it’s not right to be angry with the kids when it’s got nasty between the parents.
3) Overwhelmed anger
This is when there is something else that has stressed you so much, that suddenly you flip at the slightest thing. Stuff that would normally not bother you, that you can deal with, suddenly is too much. It’s often nothing to do with the person who we are actually with.
This is something us Mum’s are terribly prone to doing – we get tired, overwhelmed and stressed, and then at the end of a long day find ourselves shouting at the kids and threatening them with something really over the top.
Kids are good at this too – if mine get angry, I will first check to see if they are hungry, thirsty, tired or need fresh air. Then I look to see if they are over stressed for some reason. The thing is that they are kids – I can’t expect them to manage their emotions, so if they are in one of these states I am much more cautious with my punishments.
Did you know that teenagers literally have all the wires (technical term!) not work in their heads properly? They can’t recognise expressions as well as a toddler. Hence they jump to conclusions and get grumpy at the simplest of things. I used to find Reiki really helps them – it’s amazing how they can express themselves afterwards. Anything where they get some relaxing downtime will help them come back to themselves. (Plus food, drink, sunshine and sleep of course!).
The ideal here is to put our hands up and say ‘sorry’ – after all we all make mistakes and everyone gets tired and grumpy.
4) Not saying what we think anger
How often have you been angry with someone because they’ve done or not done something? But did you tell them? Or did you let it boil inside?
This encourages us to think that other people are to blame for how we are feeling. But the question is are they? Or is it purely our inability to deal with them? I’m not talking about serious and obviously wrong behaviour that would trigger No1 – I’m talking about us all seeing the world slightly differently.
The key to this is to say something in a gentle and factual way (check out my post on teaching people how to treat you) BEFORE it becomes a problem.
This is often really difficult, because we ignore the first signs of small irritation or discomfort, and only take notice when it’s bigger. So if you’ve waited too long, try to step aside, write down the facts and then have a chat with the person on neutral ground.
5) Pretending we aren’t angry
This is technically ‘not angry’, but we are angry, we just pretend we aren’t.
This is when people do those passive aggressive posts on Facebook. Or make sarcastic digs that are meant to be ‘funny’.
It can also make us into bully’s (check out my posts on bullying – I just got picked as one of the top websites worldwide by an Anti Bullying website).
6) Serious anger issues
Then there are times when it’s not that simple, when the anger is too frequent and starts to control us. When it means that we are aggressive, scary, violent, and it starts to affect our relationships.
If you have this sort of anger, then first check with your Doctor, as you might have a physical problem, that is causing it. If it’s not physical then they should be able to get you help from someone specialised in anger issues.
It can even have physical effects:
- Increased thirst
- Changes in thought patterns
Depression or Post Traumatic Stress disorder can make us angry instead of seeming down (check out my top books for depression).
No emotion is ‘bad’. The question is ‘Do you let it rule you, or do you use it where it will help you?‘
2 thoughts on “Anger – what the hell is it all about?”
It’s good to see this spelled out so well. Anger is such a powerful emotion and it can really get things done, if managed well, or even if not, actually! I heard somewhere (Radio 2 I think) that deep seated anger (like the kind a long term abusive partner can have) can come from shame. And there’s a lot in that too. Congratulations Lisa on being recognized for your work about bullying – WORLDWIDE! Must speak soon. Lots of love XXX
Ahhh yes, that makes total sense about the shame – thank you @Anya!