Today is Saturday, January 11, 2014.
It took me a while to figure this one out. What’s the difference between expressing your anger and explaining it?
Children express anger all the time without being able to understand or explain it. They “act out” their feelings, much of the time totally unaware of what, exactly, has made them mad in the first place. Teens and adults often do the same. When was the last time someone snapped at you seemingly for no reason? When was the last time you or someone else broke a pencil, slammed the door, or threw something with unnecessary force? Those behaviors are what we mean by “expressing” anger. Shouting, grabbing, punching, pinching, biting, spanking and slapping are all ways to express anger. Hitting a punching bag or squeezing something soft may be a more socially acceptable way of expressing anger, but it’s still not the same as explaining it. When you think about it, none of these expressions of anger leads to a solution to the original situation that made us (or someone else) angry in the first place.
The only way to resolve the underlying issue is to express why you are angry, and that means being able to describe the situation clearly to ascertain the exact trigger for your anger, and being willing to explore your unconscious beliefs, motivations, and assumptions that led to your feelings of anger. Anger is usually associated with underlying fears, and we have to be willing to get to the bottom of these, as well.
The best time to understand your anger is not when you’re angry, however. It’s after you’ve cooled off a bit. The first thing to do is find ways to avoid acting out your anger. In other words, learn to detach from your anger so that it does not drive your next action or the next thing that comes out of your mouth.
Here are some web sites that speak to the issue of detachment and how to go about it:
Once you learn to step back from your emotions and thus avoid reactionary, knee-jerk behavior, you can then afford to take the necessary time to cool down, so that you can think more clearly. If you have trouble getting to the bottom of your anger issues, you may wish to seek counseling so that someone else can walk you through the process. The vast majority of time, your anger will be related to a deeply held fear, and once you identify that fear, a solution will suggest itself. 🙂