What do you do when you feel any of the following; injustice, disrespected, hurt, threatened, frustrated, irritated or disappointed? Do you get hot, tense, raise your voice, think of revenge, stonewall, get aggressive or passive-aggressive? Think of anger as somewhere between frustration and rage. The earlier we catch it the better, because that trajectory can lead to rage or wrath.
Emotional intelligence requires we understand the messages our emotions are attempting to communicate. Like picking up the phone, we want to hear what’s behind our anger…Is it sadness? Is it that we deeply care? Is it that we are attempting to hide vulnerability? Can we learn to be curious about what anger can teach us? Is it about setting boundaries? Is something stagnating and needing to move?
If we react from that old reptilian brain and the fight/flight mode, we lock horns and don’t resolve a thing in our relationship/s and simply create more distance. But if we actually want to authentically connect with another, then anger needs to be converted into a hearable message which promotes healthy boundaries. ‘Anger’ and ‘not listening’ go hand in hand. We all want to be heard and understood, and listening well is an art which requires controlling the aggressive impulse to lash out. Impulse control and less reactivity leads to productive, fulfilling, meaningful and loving relationships…and can take you to the next level of relational depth and intimacy.
Common issues that often occur alongside anger
Common issues include:
- Early Childhood Developmental disturbances
- Alcohol and other drug dependencies
- Divorce, intimacy and relationship breakdown
- Depression and Anxiety
- Restlessness and disturbed sleeping patterns.
How psychological treatment can help with anger
The old psychology say’s “let it out by hitting a pillow or screaming it out in the car”. The new psychology say’s “if that doesn’t work, try the folllowing…”
For anger dumpers, learn how to self-regulate with mindfulness strategies such as giving yourself time-out, reflect, relax, deep and slow breathwork.
Learn a new style of non-violent communication.
Learn how to pick up the phone and hear the message behind anger.
Learn how to convert aggression into assertive care and humility.
Learn how to identify unmet needs in early stages of development.
Learn how to deeply connect.
For anger withholders, learn to stay present in your body, ground yourself, keep your eyes open and allow the energy to rise up and find a way to consciously express or release it.
How Seed Psychology can help you
Our team are trained and experienced in the psychological treatment of anger and how to implement impulse control. Our driving focus is to help you improve your wellbeing and quality of life.
Written by Nic Morrey, Psychologist at Seed Psychology