How does anger express itself?
When angry, I often say and do things I do not mean and later, live to regret it. Anger gives my brain a burst of energy, prompting my mind to come up with self-serving plans to protect and find comfort.
The story of anger has been one that I contemplated about sharing. My personal experiences and knowledge about anger has shown me that anger can be triggered by shame, sadness and discomfort. Dependent on my response to anger, the same triggers are also the consequences of anger. It becomes a never-ending cycle that I get stuck in.
Trigger (Primary feelings: shame, sadness or discomfort) > Anger (secondary emotion) > Anger Response > Consequence (shame, sadness or discomfort).
Does this sound familiar? Am I alone in this?
Well, maybe you can relate to some of my common (but not so helpful) thoughts and behaviours when angry:
- Thought: “I am never letting this person hurt me like this again.”
- Triggers the response of ignoring, avoiding or pushing them away
- Thought: “I will find joy in doing things that give me comfort right away”
- Triggers the response of eating buckets of ice cream, calling friends and venting/gossip, minimize the incident/the person/your feelings
- Thought: “GET EVEN. I will hurt this person as much as they hurt me.”
- Triggers the response of destroying things that are meaningful to them or name calling
Lesson learned: Regardless of the triggers that elicit anger, it never gave me the right to hurt others. I am regretful of the many things I have said and done to the people I have been angry at. There are way more productive ways to cope with this emotion. A way that serves you long term. A way that does not ruin relationships.
Change is not easy, but it is not impossible either. If you are experiencing anger, here are some words of advise from me to you. “Me” as in someone who has experienced it, studied it, reflected on it and still actively working on it.
- Know that you are NOT crazy! Your feelings are real and you are entitled to your emotions. How we want to express or respond to anger is a natural thing. However, just because you think of something, does not mean you will or have to execute the plan.
- SLOW down. STEP back. Take a BREAK.
- Ask yourself, what is anger protecting you from? Anger is often a secondary emotion to an emotion much more consistent and vulnerable. Learn to cope with the feelings that anger is protecting you from.
- We are NOT in control of how others feel, behave and think. Sometimes people are hurtful, whether they were intentional or not. People do disappoint. There are so many things that are beyond our control, it is not our role to take on others problems. I have learned that it times of disappointment, to lean on God. Example:
To my fellow peers with road rage: when you see a terrible driver (mostly people like me), pray that they do not have to experience a serious car accident to learn to be a better driver. Pray that God may look after them and guide them to be better drivers. You honking at them, swearing and aggressing towards them will NOT make them better drivers. Unfortunately.
- Love yourself deeply, passionately and prioritize you first. It is important to learn to set boundaries that help you recharge and allows for self-priority. Surround yourself with people who understand and care…look around, there tends to be more people than you think. Don’t sit and wait around for someone else to heal your wounds. There is no one else that is going to love you better than you love yourself.
I am beyond blessed that there are people who love me and have seen pass my anger. However, the reality is that these people are few and far in between. If you are angry I encourage you to talk to someone about it – someone will understand because anger is not a rare crazy thing.
Good luck peeps.