Anger

Overview

Anger usually arises when we perceive a threat or an injustice. Anger may also arise when we encounter stress, disappointment or hurt feelings. When managed properly, anger motivates us to clarify the other person's intent, express our disappointment, or if necessary, set some limits to protect us. "Constructive anger is a means to a positive end," suggests anger management expert Doyle Gentry. (See Dr. Gentry's book, Anger Management for Dummies.

Anger can be destructive when it is not managed appropriately. We may feel stronger when we are angry, but chronic anger usually gets in the way of good communication. Anger may lead to inappropriate outbursts, interpersonal problems, and health problems such as headaches.

To help you manage your anger, the following information may be helpful. Note that if you grew up with anger and criticism being expressed on daily basis in your home, you may want to consider getting some additional help through counseling from a mental health professional.

 

Overcoming a Combative Interpersonal Style
(Making Relationships Work)


Combatitive Behavior

Solution

Demanding

 

Make requests, not demands. Soft approaches work
70-90 percent of the time. Remember that an 80
percent chance of success is much better than the
odds associated with combative behavior.

Intensity

Relax for 10 minutes at the end of the workday and remember: "I want to be there for my partner/friend."
Make it emotionally safe to be around you.

Dominance Seeking

Think "Team" rather than "opponent." Having to be the
top dog all the time can leave you one lonely dog.

Confrontational

Even though an issue may be important to you, it
doesn't have to be solved entirely right now.
Clarification is an essential ingredient in good communication and in making relationships work.
Also, if the issue is not that important, "Let it Go."

Impatience

Remember that your partner or friend probably has a good reason for not doing a task or complying right away, at least from his or her perspective.

Rigidity

 

 

Tell yourself, "Sometimes I may not be right or I may
not have all the relevant information:
New information from my partner or friend can reassure me that the
issue need not be a threat in the way I had thought.
Also remember that there are often
many ways to
solve a problem or to complete a task.

How to Calm Your Anger

The following animated presentation teaches a mental flexibility skill for turning rigid expectations into preferences.

 

 

Additional Reading

The Surprising Purpose of Anger: Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift, by Marshall B. Rosenburg