Learning how to manage stress and anger
Anger is a normal emotion that we all have. Humans have had anger since the caveman days, and it is necessary for our survival as a species. Anger, as an emotion, is neither good nor bad, it is just a feeling. It is, a response or a behavior, however, can cause all kinds of havoc both in the person who expresses it inappropriately and those to whom it is directed. Or it can be used as an energy to set things right.
One type of anger is shame feelings are a threat to the integrity of the self. Unbearable feelings of shame keep you caught in fear of being found out by others. When you are held prisoner by shame, the perceived deficits within yourself are so humiliating that you will go to extreme lengths to hide the flawed self. Like screaming in rage at another person to get them to back off!
Anger can be substituted when you feel guilty and cannot own up to what you have done. Can be substituted to avoid the more painful feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. It can be "used" to shut down the internal bad feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, as anger is a more comfortable emotion to feel. And it works! It can also be "used" to intimidate and force the other person to back off and stop their criticism.
Anger then becomes the prevalent emotion used to avoid feeling bad inside. The habit of shielding your self with the anger defense becomes a learned behavior of self-protection. Anger becomes entrenched as a protective device and you have trouble giving it up. Anger can work to protect you against threat temporarily. But it creates more shame because on some level you recognize that what you are doing is unacceptable. The guilt and shame of habitually angry people keeps growing because they circumvent the bad feelings instead of dealing with them honestly.
You spot it, you got it!
Projections are a defensive mechanism where we ignore what we do not like about ourselves
and become upset about that same trait in another person. They are the disowned aspect of our
personality. Blaming others protect us through distractions and help keep a lid on the terror
that knowledge of our dark side might provoke.
SO WHAT Now?
After reading all of the above, you may be saying, “OK, I understand and agree with
all of the above,” and then find yourself asking, “So now what can I do with all this?”
One option is to adopt the following strategy:
1) Track your anger. Keep track of the times when you get angry. Without
judging yourself, observe the patterns you see.
2) When you find yourself getting upset or angry, ask yourself the following
a. Who or what is the object of my anger here?
b What am I feeling vulnerable about?
c. What fears does this incident bring up inside of me?
d. What sadness might I associate with this incident?
3) If you feel compelled to express your anger, first ask yourself the following questions:
a. What are my motivations for expressing it?
4) Sit down with a trusted friend, and review you findings.
If you can relate to any of these issues – drop is a comment at the bottom of the page.
Share your story – how have you or the one you love dealt with anger?
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Angela is a nurse that has worked for 22 years in the same state funded hospital assisting some clients that others might refuse to treat. She works in the psychiatric ward.
At 5' 7" tall many of the patients she treats come in shackles and tower over here, but this power packed woman is able to release peace into a chaotic environment.
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