by Noam Gordon, Ms.C, LPC
Anger outbursts are not fate’s decree. They are not only manageable, but also controllable, and can be minimized dramatically. Self-directed anger is usually considered problematic, causing bitterness which leads to guilt feelings and sadness. Anger directed towards others is perceived as healthier, because the individual unloads their angers, and by doing so, ‘vents and refreshes’ their feelings and thus gains their relief. In practice, the relief following one’s anger discharge, is short-lived.
With proper Cognitive and Behavioral treatment, one can choose to avoid feeling angry. Learning the necessary tools and acquiring them, allows one to gain control over automatic hot-tempered thoughts which are generated in one’s mind.
The notion that people around us have real power to make us angry is deceptive.
Most of us genuinely believe that other people’s actions are the source of our anger. In fact, anger (like other emotions) is created and builds up in our minds, driven by our interpretation of other people’s actions. The notion that people around us have real power to make us angry is deceptive. Our emotions are the outcomes of the meaning we assign to an event, and not of the event itself. Therefore, I would like to propose the following 11 commandments regarding anger, and enhancing motivation to treat it:
- Anger does not stem from an external object, person or situation. Its source is one’s interpretation and negative thoughts, usually interpreting the stimuli as unjust.
- Staying angry is not beneficial for you and will only make you paralyzed and vindictive.
- Anger and joy cannot be experienced together. The more you abandon anger, learn and exercise correct realistic thinking, the more you experience good mood.
- Cognitive distortions are the main reason for anger. Correcting them will decrease anger.
- The primary anger generators are ‘unjustness/unfairness’ thoughts, leading to the notion that you were deliberately mistreated.
- Acquiring the skill of seeing a situation from another person’s perspective, known as empathy, allows you to believe that the other person does not see himself/ herself as unfair. The feeling of ‘unjustness’ is a powerful illusion; letting go of that illusion will significantly reduce your anger.
- People around you do not think they deserve to be punished by you. Therefore, your anger is distancing them away from you.
- Anger usually stems from an attempt to protect your self-esteem, when feeling criticized. Blaming others for your own low self-esteem is another self deception. Others are not responsible for the way you feel about yourself.
- Anger is the outcome of non-fulfilled expectations. Instead of trying to change what is out of your control, change your expectations.
- Insisting on your right to be angry in unnecessary. Of course, you are entitled to be angry all you want; it just so happens that feeling this way is very bad for you. Anger produces much more loss for you and the people around you than profit.
- Anger does not make you more ‘human,’ and giving up on it will not turn you in to a robot. Disconnecting from chronic anger will just make you happier and more relaxed.
You are probably thinking: ‘that’s all very interesting, but what do I do now?’
You need to make two decisions — the first one is to make a change. The second one is to carry out the change by taking an action. Pick up the phone, make the call and schedule an appointment with me.
To begin the scheduling process, call Madison Psychiatric Associates at 608-274-0355 and press 2 to leave a voicemail for the Intake Coordinator. We listen to messages throughout the day and do our best to return calls within two to three business days.