RETHINKING ANGER MANAGEMENT
One of the most common calls we receive at Healing Hearts revolves around anger management. During a first meeting with a client who has anger issues, I often explain anger management is not needed. Rather, we need to work on anger understanding and rage management.
Anger Is Not A Problem
Anger is a simply a reasonable and healthy reaction to something else. It may be in an attempt to handle an emotion such as sadness or fear. Anger is often triggered by the opening or exposure of a deeply buried wound. The something else might also be the crossing of personal boundaries which leaves a sense of being disrespected. It could be the frustration of attempting to communicate and remaining unheard. These are a few, but certainly not all of the potential underlying sources of anger.
Anger Is Designed To Protect Us
Painful emotions such as sadness or fear are often triggered by loss. This sense of loss may rest in the past, resulting from childhood trauma or the abandonment of unwanted or unexpected divorce. Unconscious reminders of past experiences can leave us feeling vulnerable to the pain caused by the wound left behind. Anger masks our sadness or fear and covers our vulnerability.
I help clients work through painful emotions
and to become comfortable with their vulnerability.
Having appropriate boundaries, not too soft and not too rigid, is a skill which can take a good amount of effort to develop. Part of the skill is learning to communicate and reinforce the boundaries we have set. Reinforcement is sometimes the most difficult aspect of personal boundaries. When someone violates a boundary it can feel like disrespect. Anger is an attempt to enforce the boundary and protect us from disrespect.
I work with clients to create appropriate boundaries
and reinforce those boundaries in a healthy manner.
The inability to communicate our needs or feelings can be painful. Sometimes it feels as if we have tried to say something every way possible, yet we remain unheard. Not being listened to can leave us feeling unimportant, even invisible. It can trigger a feeling of being unlovable. Anger surfaces in an effort to convince ourselves and others of our value.
I work with clients on communicating to be heard and
gaining awareness of their intrinsic value.
Anger Has Many Faces
Dictionary.com lists numerous synonyms for anger. Some are annoyance, irritation, displeasure, and rage. When seeking anger management counseling, we are not asking to manage our annoyance. We are not searching for a therapist to help control our irritation or displeasure. Most often we want to develop the ability to manage our rage, whether that rage presents as violent outbursts or complete cut-off.
Rage can be managed in a number of ways. It can be headed off at the pass through mindful awareness of the physiological indications that rage is on the horizon. It can be neutralized midstream with breathing techniques. Imagery and visualization can help when building tension is identified. Yoga is suggested for dealing with ‘chronic’ rage. Some recommend simply leaving the situation.
All of these can be effective in the short term. Long term these management techniques serve to ‘stuff’ the feelings and can do more harm than good.
Organic Rage Management
Healthy, long term rage management is achieved in conjunction with learning to unpack and understand our anger. This is effective for both situational and the chronic anger which results in raging. Just as physical pain informs us of the need for our body to heal, anger informs us that there emotional healing necessary. As we heal emotionally, our rage is managed naturally.
I am ready to help you or a loved one understand the anger and manage the rage that may be invading your world. Are you ready?