Recognizing & Managing Anger
7. Own the Anger
The anger is yours and you have personal control over how you will channel and express this powerful emotion. Another person may have said or done something that punched your anger button, but the button is yours, and so are the feelings it triggers.
Even though it is tempting to blame someone else and try to make them responsible for your own feelings, it will only make you a victim. Words and actions of others may trigger an internal reaction, but it is your responsibility to recognize when you get pulled in and how you will respond. How do you do this? Simple.
You just need to:
- Know when your buttons have been pushed
- Discard the need to justify anger
- Grasp that anger is an aggressive emotion
Know When Your Buttons Have Been Pushed
We each have different sensitive areas we call our emotional, or hot, buttons. How do you know when your buttons have been pushed? What does this mean? A “pushed button” means nothing more than that something has been done or said that hurts you in some way, and this hurt often leads to anger. Someone who pushes a button has found a point of vulnerability (whether intentional or not) and pushed into a sensitive area. A reactive emotional response of anger is often how you protect yourself. You need to be aware of your knee-jerk reactions that just don’t seem to match the situation. If your reaction is strong and doesn’t match the action, it is an indication that you have had a button pushed.
Knowing what your buttons are is the first step in managing your anger and can help you to avoid future aggravations. Or you may be able to recognize that you have an irrational response button and take steps to eliminate some of your anger.
Discard the Need to Justify Anger
Accepting anger as your own is easier if you discard the idea that feelings need to be justified. Remember that blaming isn’t an excuse. It is senseless to say that someone “should feel” a certain way. “Should” and “feel” are words that do not belong together. In fact, it is downright harmful to worry about what your feelings “should be.”
It’s one thing to be angry, but sometimes you can get caught up in a web of continual anger and hurt feelings as you spin your wheels trying to justify the anger. This often leads to the distortion of anger, and such worry will get in the way of finding out what your feelings are. Identifying your true feelings will help you decide the best thing to do.
Grasp that Anger is an Aggressive Emotion
Aggression—or what is commonly called aggression—has its place in our world. Without asserting yourself and pressing for your own needs, you might not achieve your goals. The same holds true for your children. You want them to assert themselves and take initiative in sports, school, and relationships. However, the word aggression has a different connotation.
Aggression typically refers to actions that are totally self-serving, that take advantage of another person, or don’t consider the negative consequences that may result. When anger manifests itself through aggression, the action becomes clouded with revenge, hurt, or possibly depression. It becomes a negative, destructive force, rather than a positive way of moving forward.
When you find these natural instincts on the rampage, you are likely to block the expression of the anger itself. You may not be willing to express anger because you don’t want to destroy relationships or cause other problems.