Batten Down the Hatches Here Comes Hurricaine Anger!!!!!!
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Hurricane Bertha is going to cause havoc today with storms expected, torrential rain; so for many of us we will be stay at home all snuggled up on the sofa watching family films and generally taking advantage of time at home. Whilst I’m sat here listening to the ran I can’t help but think about how weather is similar to our feelings, for instance todays rain can be seen as sadness, storms as anger, sunshine happy.
Batten down the hatches here comes Hurricaine Anger! Anger is a tricky emotion from when we were little we would be told off, beaten, punished by having to stand in a corner and many many more ways I’m sure for expressing how we felt, OK we may not of done it in the most constructive of ways but we learnt that showing that we were angry created a negative response from those who looked after us, unfortunately most of us carry those responses with us in to adulthood and to this day are unable to express our anger in a constructive way. Hurricane Bertha and the storms and rain that it will bring is a good representation of explosion of anger. How many of us keep our anger inside in fear of upsetting others only to explode later at something that seems trivial or at the wrong person (or even implode on ourselves)?
The Anger Inventory is a great way of looking at how we deal with our own and other people’s anger:
Do you admit that you are angry when asked by someone else?
Do you have a tendency to take anger out on someone other than the person you are angry with?
When you are angry with someone, do you discuss it with that person?
Do you keep things in until you finally explode with anger?
Do you pout or sulk for a long time (a couple of days or so) when someone hurts your feelings?
Do you disagree with others even though you feel they might get angry?
Do you hit others when you get angry?
Does it upset you a great deal when someone disagrees with you?
Do you express your ideas when they differ from those of others?
Do you have a tendency to be very critical of others?
Are you satisfied with the way in which you settle your differences with others?
Is it very difficult for you to say nice things to other people?
Do you have good control of your temper?
Do you become depressed easily?
When a problem arises between you and another person, do you discuss it without losing control of your emotions?
Do you have a tendency to criticise or put down other people?
When someone has hurt your feelings do you discuss the matter with that person?
Do you have frequent arguments with others?
Do you often feel like hitting someone else?
Do you at times feel some anger towards someone you love?
Do you have a strong urge to do something harmful?
Do you keep control/calm when you are angry with someone?
Do you tend to feel very bad or very guilty after getting angry with someone?
When you become angry, do you pull away or withdraw from people?
When someone is angry with you, do you automatically or quickly strike back with your own feelings of anger?
Are you aware of when you’re angry?
Provided the timing is appropriate, do you express your angry feelings without exploding?
Do you tend to make cutting remarks to others?
Do you control yourself when things do not go your way?
Do you feel that anger is a normal emotion?
Avoiding or dealing with our anger can result in a variety of problems including depression, passive aggressive behaviour, apathy, health/physical issues, hostility. If we deal with our anger in a constructive way we can let go off the energy (feel it, think about it, talk, act and forgive).
Although it can be cathartic to vent our anger it may not always be in our best interest to do so, it may also be more self destructive. If my clients are feeling angry but are unable to express it to the person that they are angry at I often encourage them to journal what is happening, write a letter expressing all their feelings and burn it and sometimes the anger is so physical I encourage them to go for a run or to the gym to start the process.