The behavior of angering at someone is rarely effective. Whether you raise your voice, yell, call names or threaten; it’s really not helpful. What happens is people learn to avoid you or to get back at you by being passive aggressive.
Your feelings of anger are real, but anger is a secondary emotion. Anger covers up feelings of pain or fear. When you feel angry, before you start angering out at someone, ask yourself these questions. What am I afraid of? What hurts? Communicating with others directly about your fears and your pain can open the door for a better relationship.
When communicating, people often say, “I feel” when they really meant “I think.” For instance, you may say “I felt attacked when you said such and such.” What you’re really saying is, “You attacked me.” Another way of saying that might be, “I felt scared,” “I felt paralyzed,” or “I felt hurt when you said such and such.”
It’s really difficult communicating with someone who is unwilling to explore the underlying issues in a relationship. If you find yourself wanting to keep busy and distract yourself rather than dealing with the issue or the relationship, the feelings you’re avoiding become buried. Feelings buried alive staying alive. What happens then is those feelings later surface around a similar issue, generally in an explosive reaction. That’s what it means to become triggered.
I was motivated to write this blog after reading a FaceBook post from a man who was angry and calling another person names because of their political view. That is a big issue here in the US right now. I was curious about this man, so I looked at his profile. He listed his profession as a sports coach to high school students. My immediate thought was do parents know that this person is acting as a coach and mentor to their children?
Feelings of anger are normal. If you are often reactive in an anger manner, it’s rare that you would be able to fix this on your own. Therapy can be really helpful and give you an opportunity to vent in a safe place and not at the person you’re angry with. You can learn some coping tools so you don’t damage your relationships. You may also even heal the underlying pain or make changes to clear the fear.
What is really important, especially now that bullying is so prevalent, is we teach our children how to communicate, not by what we say to them but by what they witness us saying and doing to others. Therapy is a luxury that you can’t afford not to give yourself if your anger tears at the fabric of your relationships.