I hope you aren’t thinking, feeling, speaking or acting on this statement of anger. But I do know, many people have the sentence running around in their minds…. so if you DO, and regardless if it’s related to the election, to a current work situation, to family issues, conflict with friends, holiday frustrations, or just encountering crazy, rushing drivers on your commute, let’s discuss it.
If you are a regular reader, you know anger is not a “bad thing”….Anger is a SIGNAL from our system that something needs clarification — that something is not okay, or off track — and needs to be figured out, straightened out, fixed, sorted through — perhaps made “right.” It can also be a warning sign of actual physical/external danger. Consequently, paying attention to anger when it surges, is important. But since real physical danger is, hopefully, an exception lets look at WHAT TO DO WITH THE ANGER that’s more typical.
TIME is important….to cool off, to reflect, to clarify, to analyze what’s actually going on. It’s indeed a time to take several deep, clearing breaths! Any ACTION needs to be a result of reflection and clarification. In other words, don’t slug someone, don’t speak in haste, don’t act in any way, in HASTE!
Also see if you know the difference between anger and RAGE. Genuine anger is a TWO-WAY INTERACTION. Both people are in the conversation, there is give and take, even when it’s intense and hard and challenging. Rage is a ONE-WAY INTERACTION — it’s one person yelling (not talking) to another — non stop — giving the other person no chance to respond. It’s a verbal battering with the intent to WIN, to HURT, to GET EVEN, to PUNISH… It leads no where fast — except to lots of unresolved conflict and possibly serious trouble. Rage hijacks the brain. Anger can do so as well when you don’t take a breath and slow down because it can escalate to rage quickly.
Examine the original sentence: I’M SO ANGRY needs a period, perhaps an exclamation point after it. “I’m so angry!” is generally a statement that is real. It states how you are feeing. The second part of the sentence – “I can’t stand it” is a THOUGHT DISTORTION. It’s that distortion, not the feeling of anger that causes the difficulty — because the distortion is NOT TRUE. You can, indeed, stand it. You simply and truly don’t want to! And I totally get that. I feel that way once in a while. But when you and I do feel we can’t stand it, it’s because we just made that thought up. We distorted reality. And the distortion threatens to escalate anger to a painful and difficult level. WE CAN STAND IT….We just might not WANT to! Just be cognizant of the reality that the anger is okay — the distortion is what causes the genuine trouble. Because if I tell myself I can’t stand it, I move too quickly toward inappropriate action.
If you are angry a great deal of the time, it takes a toll on your whole system — it creates stress, thoughts that lead you in the wrong direction, conflict in relationships, and just plain old disruption to your life and well-being. And you deserve to reflect and analyze where all the anger is coming from…. Most of us learn how to deal with and express anger in the family we grew up in….so that’s a good place to start. Reflect on what you learned from your primary caretakers or from any adults who influenced you growing up. Dig into the concept of thought distortion — the way your mind works. Read FEELING GOOD: THE NEW MOOD THERAPY by David Burns or my book: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? MAYBE NOT THAT MUCH! And at the risk of always repeating myself, try meditation! If you are worrying more than usual about the intensity of your anger, please talk to someone. Google classes for anger management in your area. You can always check out my website and contact me for resources. drlindalmoore.com
Take good care of yourself! And feel better! You deserve it.