Anger can sometimes feel out of our control and can overwhelm us. It can also be held in or ‘repressed’. If our anger is not expressed, this can sometimes lead to depression. Sometimes when we bottle up anger we find ourselves taking it out on the wrong person or blowing up at what seem like little things to other people. We can become easily irritated and this can lead to problems in our relationships.
Anger can be:
- About ‘something’ (for example an injustice or a time that we were treated unfairly)
- About something that happened to us in our past (that may not have been explored before)
- Directed at someone in our life (a parent, partner or friend)
- Directed at us (by someone else)
- Internalised so that we become angry with ourselves
- Violent and destructive
- Hard to express
It is important to recognise that everyone feels angry and to recognise that anger is not a ‘bad’ emotion that should be stopped altogether. Anger can be used as a tool to bring about positive change to our lives. For example if a friend of ours was shot we may join an anti knife and gun crime campaign. It is how we express our anger that is important and if we can learn to express our anger in a constructive rather than a destructive way this will benefit us. This includes learning to assert ourselves and to have the confidence to say in a calm and clear way when we feel that something is wrong, without losing our cool.
Sometimes through counselling or therapy we can begin to understand and explore where our anger comes from, what happens physically when we become angry and to learn to recognise when we are getting angry. We may explore family patterns of anger and how anger was expressed in our family (or not) and how this may have impacted on our own anger. We can gain knowledge and understanding about the triggers that make us angry, calming techniques and strategies to help us deal with conflict.