PREVIOUS: Anger Myths, #1
SITE: “Why we shout in anger” – a Hindu teaching
QUOTE: “Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.” ~ Ben Franklin
BELIEFS – T or F
● is an uncontrollable force of nature, & so can’t be reigned in
F: Many people believe that once they’re angry they can’t influence it (“I can’t control my anger – it’s just who I am”) & therefore have to let it ‘run its course’. Not so. While we don’t always have control of an external situation, no one can make us FEEL or BEHAVE in a certain way. Anyone can learn to be in charge of their emotions – via the Healthy Adult. It’s a set of skills, just like shooting a basketball or learning a new language. Practice, practice, practice!
● builds up until we ‘lose it’
F: Known as “the hydraulic theory” of anger, it says that anger builds up like water behind a dam, & will flood the valley if not released – with the assumption that we can’t stop ourselves from spilling it out on anyone who gets in our way.
T: However, if ignored, denied & suppressed, anger or rage will go underground & build up tremendous force. All painful/uncomfortable emotions need to be processed – on a regular basis. This is best done when our anger is only bucket sized, or even truck-load sized – rather than Pacific Ocean size, which is when we have panic attacks or attack others.
Even with old anger/rage, regular use of physical release techniques, deep breathing & meditation, relaxation exercises, visualization, pounding, IC scribbling…. can be very effective in venting the energy generated by our fury, so we don’t have to unleash it on others.
● is only a problem when it’s expressed (at all)
F: As few as 10% of people act out their anger inappropriately, & they are the visible ones – the squeaky wheels who get everyone’s attention.
Almost everyone else either suppress it (“I don’t want to talk about it!”) or repress it altogether (“I’m not angry – really!”), who need anger management just as much as the ‘ragers’.
● always leads to aggression / some form of violence
F: It may seem to be true if we were raised with one or more rage-aholics, & if we then also have chosen to stay with ragers as adults. BUT healthy people have learned productive ways of processing & channeling their anger, so it never leads to being self-destructive or abusive.
Of course, chemicals (alcohol/ drugs/ some medicines, even food allergies…) can generate anger & set off a compulsion to be nasty if we haven’t learned to recognize the symptoms & how to handle them
● is not a ‘problem‘ for someone IF we don’t sound / look angry
F: Anyone who does not understand & appreciate the potential value of anger may have a problem. There are ways to tell if someone has hidden anger/rage, even when they don’t admit to it – by holding themselves stiffly, always being fearful, being overly nice, being paranoid, jealous, controlling…. (Post: Categories # 7 – “Passive-aggressive anger”)
● is best dealt with by stuffing it
F: Some of us think that learning to control our anger means having to hold it in. Once we’re able to recognize when we are angry, we can learn how bet to express it. Healthy people don’t stock-pile emotions the way we had to as kids. (Post: Categories #7 – “Low-level anger”)
● has to be ‘held in’ if we’re going to control our anger
F: First of all – what one needs to ‘control’ is behavior & thoughts – not the emotion (T.E.A.). The purpose of Anger Management training is not to make us sit on our anger, but to provide successful ways of dealing with it – which includes changing our abusive self-talk! First we have to learn to recognize when we’re angry (T), & then have permission to feel it (E) without hurting ourselves or others. Then we can change our behavior (A)
(Post: Categories #7 – “Passive anger”)
● is stronger in men than women
F: Based on surveys, both genders have the same capacity & frequency (about once or twice a week), but men report more intense anger, & are more likely to act on it. Girls/women tend to hold onto angry feelings longer. So the only real difference is how each express this emotion, which is based mainly on socially conditioning.
● and love just don’t mix
F: They are 2 sides of the same coin. We usually don’t have strong emotional reactions to PPT we don’t care much or at all about. The more we love someone or something the more easily we can be disappointed, annoyed, frustrated, aggravated… by it/them, because we need them more & want more from them. This can trigger anger when they push our buttons
● will destroy a relationship if expressed to someone we love
T: It can do severe harm if —
— the way anger/rage is ‘vented’ is abusive, especially if it’s repeated over time
— OR the loved one is intensely narcissistic & won’t tolerate any form of ‘disapproval’,
— OR is so co-dependent, insecure & fearful that they’ll take our anger as a sign of personal rejection rather than a statement of our feelings
F: because Anger – not aggression – is a way to have boundaries in a close relationship, and is a sign of genuine intimacy (in-to-me-U-see), rather than hiding parts of ourself out of fear of abandonment. When we know we’re angry about something our loved one did or didn’t do, and choose to express it in healthy ways, it can actually increase mutual understanding & help enrich the relationship (MORE….)
NEXT: Anger MYTHS (Part 3)