Express, Don’t Repress
We all get angry sometimes. Injustice, stress, pain—all of these can cause your temper to spike. That’s fine, normal even. What’s problematic is anger that causes you to strike out at those around you or that is ongoing. Similarly, anger that is repressed instead of expressed in a healthy way can cause physical manifestations like high blood pressure—and that’s certainly not healthy over the long term.
Thing of anger as a warning—if you feel it, take a deep breath and realize that there is a reason for it. If you can identify the reason and handle it in a constructive way, your psyche and your relationships can be strengthened. However, when anger is out of control or easily set off, it can have real, destructive consequences. It can be damaging to work, education, personal relationships, work relationships, and other parts of life.
The natural flight-or-flight response to anger, from a survival standpoint, is to respond aggressively in some fashion. We have an instinctive tendency to try to defend ourselves, either through conversation or action. However, fear and anger can cause someone to lash out in aggressive or violent ways. Outbursts and aggressive anger can have lasting negative consequences that can especially affect relationships with friends and loved ones.
Because most people have been exposed to or subject to outbursts of anger at some point in their life, many find it easier not to confront their anger directly, and instead, try not to think about the anger or try to ignore it entirely. However, when an individual attempts to suppress their anger, it can have negative consequences. This passive anger can result in unhealthy alternative expressions of pent-up emotion such as passive aggression, cynicism, putting others down, and a multitude of indirect actions that are still the result of unresolved anger. People who have no learned to confront their anger in a healthy, productive way often experience their anger as passive—in fact, they may not even realize their actions or feelings are the result of repressed anger.
Causes of Unhealthy Anger
Unhealthy anger often comes from feeling trapped or helpless due to things such as financial issues, insecurities, chronic health concerns, issues with work or relationship problems, and so forth. Some causes may be from more immediate external conditions, such as an argument with someone, an inconvenience like a traffic jam while running late to work, or an unexpected financial pitfall. More internal conditions can stem from (usually negative) underlying feelings, such as insecurity, grief, built up worry or stress, feelings of inadequacy.
How Anger Management at Thriveworks Portage Counseling Can Help
The first step to feeling better is acknowledging that something is wrong and then asking for help. Thriveworks Portage Counseling providers use a collaborative approach with clients to create a plan customized to suit their individual situation. Starr primarily uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients reach their goals.
During cognitive behavioral therapy, your therapist will work with you:
- To help you recognize and understand the causes of your anger
- To teach you the appropriate, constructive responses to your anger that will address the actual underlying problems
- To help you distinguish between rational and irrational solutions to the causes of your anger
- To help you reevaluate how you think and react to specific situations
- To teach you how to calm yourself during a bout of anger
- To teach you problem-solving techniques that will help you feel empowered rather than helpless in stressful or frustrating times
- To work on your communication skills as a whole to improve how you deal with anger
The purpose of anger management therapy is to allow you to take control of your physiological responses to anger and other associated emotions. It’s important to learn to express your needs in the heat of the moment while maintaining your composure and without damaging those around you.
Anger does not just go away. Stressful situations will inevitably happen over time. However, with the right resources, you can work toward reshaping the way you approach your emotional responses to these situations and a qualified therapist at Thriveworks Portage can help you learn to understand the best methods to finding solutions that result in meeting your emotional needs in a positive way.