Living with anger

One of the common reasons why people seek counselling is anger. There may be occasions where it is justifiable, necessary and even useful to be angry. One of the most important things is to be aware of when it is ok to be angry and when would it may not be such a good idea.

When anger becomes uncontrollable, it may destroy relationships, worsen existing problems and even lead to aggression. But what is anger and why do we get angry?

What is anger

Anger is an emotion that is triggered primordially when we are exposed to any type of threat or when our needs are not met.

We feel angry when our self esteem is compromised, when we find an obstacle that stops us from achieving our goal, when we are treated unfairly or feel verbally exploited or physically abused. At the same time, if this emotion is channelled in a creative way, it can give us a boost of energy and strength.

Worries by mrcupofcoffee
courtesy of mrcupofcoffee on Creative Commons licence

A husband or a wife that feel their job is at risk may become aggressive towards their work colleagues, which may worsen their current position. If the anger or emotional arousal becomes uncontrollable, it can make individuals become physically aggressive. For example a person could end up projecting their anger towards their loved ones by being verbally or physically abusive.

Channeling anger

If in this scenario, this emotional arousal is channeled in the right direction, it could also generate plenty of positive energy which could lead the same individual to become more competent, competitive or creative in their workplace. Of course for most of us this might be more easily said than done.

A child whose parents are going through a difficult time could feel vulnerable and threatened by their environment. As a result, such child could end up manifesting their anger at school in front of their tutors or by bulling their colleagues. Other children in similar circumstances may use their anger in a creative way by writing, painting or participating in extra scholar activities.

Anger can be like a parasite, if left untreated, it can make us feel miserable and will slowly consume us and the people around us. Just like a teacher trying to lead a class but one of the students is constantly interrupting and molesting. This child can put the entire lesson in jeopardy. The teacher could send the child out of the classroom, but the same child can still create noise outside, making it very difficult for the teacher to carry on with his duties. Having a dialogue with the problem has proved to be more effective than ignoring it or sweeping it under the carpet.

The first step

Without being aware of the problem, we can project our anger against ourselves. This may lead us to self-destructive behaviours and the list in here could include (amongst others): alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual addictions and so on. But even worse consequences of uncontrolled anger can be felt by those who are the victims of a person whose anger makes them become physically or emotionally abusive. Those who are violent and physically abuse their partners tend to be quite charismatic characters outside their homes. They have the tendency of describing and justifying their behaviour with phrases like “What would you have done? Or “I had no choice…”

Balloon about to burst

Anger is not an emotion that suddenly appears, but it rather builds up over time. It fills up like a glass of water, eventually overflowing. It is like a balloon that is growing and when it gets to it’s threshold – it bursts. The answer lies in recognizing when this balloon of anger is starting to fill up and taking appropriate measures to relief it. Distraction and relaxation are one of techniques to deal with anger balloon. You do have a choice to let the balloon fill up, or release some air and prevent a big burst.

Some people have grown up in surroundings where anger and conflict have always been present during their development. They may have inherited this destructive mechanism from their close environment, and getting rid of it could indeed be an arduous task.

Managing anger

Whether we are victims of our own anger balloon or someone else’s, victims or perpetrators, therapy is a confidential place where people can feel safe enough to begin a dialogue with their own feelings and experiences without being judged. Therapy can be useful as it will help clients become more aware of the intensity of anger they experience and also aware of the unconcious porocesses that underlie this emotional arousal.  Psychodinamic interventions in this case have proved to help individuals recognise why and when the balloon is filling up and provide methods of relaxation.

In cases of those where anger becomes a danger to someone else, therapy should be able to stop the physical violence, as well as the more subtle forms of abuse, such as undermining, over-criticizing and emotional abuse.

Don’t let it take control

If you feel anger is taking over your life, whether initialised by you or your surroundings – take control over it. you can Contact me or find more information by visiting:

If you think you need to talk about anger problem and how affects your relationship I offer counselling in Waterloo. I also offer counselling in King’s Cross 5 minutes from central London. Contact me to arrange an introductory counselling session or ask a question.

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