Anger management 1

English: Emotions associated with anger
Image via Wikipedia

After a recent meeting, I found myself reflecting on the way that anger (in varying degrees) had prevented us from making a simple decision on a relatively innocuous matter.  I wondered if my colleagues would have categorised their emotions as ‘anger’.  I suspect that they wouldn’t have.

It seems to me that we often avoid describing ourselves as ‘angry’, and instead choose different words to make ourselves feel better.  Some examples:

  • irritated
  • impatient
  • frustrated (this is a good one, as it pins the blame/responsibility on the other person)
  • irked (my personal favourite – captures the essence of the moment)

If we see anger as a negative emotion, we will tend to avoid attributing it to ourselves.

So over the next couple of days I want to give a wee bit of thought to how we can handle anger differently; how we can make other choices; how we can harness the energy that anger releases and use it productively.

If you have any hints or tips, I’d love to hear them.

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6 thoughts on “Anger management 1

  1. Life is full of irritations and provocations. I find the ‘medium-sized ones’ to be the most dangerous of all.

    Really large issues, where someone has been clearly wronged tend to get dealt with quickly and the reason for the levels of anger are apparent to all and understood. There is usually some sympathy for someone who is a victim of obvious injustice.

    Small issues are usually best just forgotten about, as getting angry about mere trivia indicates a bigger problem with the angry person than the situation! Mere personality clashes where the other person’s way of doing things grates with us a bit, are the time for self-restraint and learning to be flexible and forgiving.

    Medium-sized issues are a problem though. This is especially the case because they can build up a ‘head of steam’ inside the person. The issue might seem insufficient to raise publicly, but yet is big enough to cause anger. When the medium sized issues accumulate inside someone, their levels of anger can accelerate to the point where it is likely to be vented over whatever issue surfaces next. This can be so destructive. When someone arranges all their accumulated angst around some minor presenting issue, they demean themselves in the eyes of others by appearing to be irrationally disproportionate, or even just petty.

    For me, avoiding this business of making a minor presenting issue the focus for expression of wider frustration is an essential element of anger management. Partly this is done by trying to make deliberate decisions in order to abolish the troublesome ‘medium-sized issues’ category. That is, an issue must be either upscaled to the major issues category – in other words brought into the open in order to look for a resolution: Or it must be downscaled to the minor category and I adjust myself to the situation.

    An issue cannot be left in the middle category where it broods, festers, and where its force might irrationally attach itself to some other problem.

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