There are a number of anger management myths which get in the way of our understanding of what anger is or isn’t. Are you the kind of person whose anger gets them in a spot of bother every now and again? You wouldn’t be alone.
Or are you the kind of person who never gets angry? Again, you wouldn’t be alone.
But if you are the kind of person who ‘never gets angry’ that is not healthy. At all. The reason will be revealed in the following myths around anger management. And if your anger has consequences you had not intended, these myths may also help.
So, let’s have a look at what those myths are:
Anger Management Myth No 1: Anger is bad
Actually anger is a healthy emotion. All emotions are healthy because they are like signposts to tell us that something in your life needs to be addressed. So, what is the message your anger is giving you? That depends as we are all different. But the most common one is a reaction to unfairness, of being wronged. What is your anger telling you?
Anger Management Myth No 2: Anger has to be managed
Actually what is more true is that it is important to be ‘anger-responsive’. This means noticing the anger, acknowledge the reason for it and then choose your response, appropriate to the situation. As Aristotle said anybody can become angry – that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time and in the right way is not easy. Anger-responsiveness is a skill which can be learned though and can make a huge difference to your relationships, your career and even your health.
Anger Management Myth No 3: Anger a reaction to what has just happened
Actually, the overwhelming likelihood is that an anger outburst is a reaction to a series of events in the past which have been triggered by what is happening in the moment. For example someone who gets angry that their partner is late is more likely to be angry with the fact that their partner is always late which reminds them of the other times when people didn’t consider their needs or have let them down. We can become sensitised to certain triggers which can cause a bigger reaction than a situation deserves. Does this strike a chord with you?
Anger Management Myth No 4: It’s best not to confront the problem
I notice that my clients fall into three main areas:
- Those who get angry a lot and confront everything
- Those who suppress their anger to avoid conflict – they may not even be aware that they are suppressing – they may be completely cut off from this important emotion
- Those who distract from their anger as a means of avoidance. Usually they distract from what I call ‘too-muching behaviour’. Examples are: eating to ‘stuff down’ emotions, drinking, smoking, gambling, shopping or Facebooking.
Avoidance doesn’t make the problem go away. It means you are building up a well of resentment that, before long, will explode out and usually to the wrong person, at the wrong time and in the wrong way. It may be that the cat is the one that gets it. Or you shout at the kids when they did little to deserve it. Or your health could be the fall-guy. But it does come out somewhere.
Anger Management is an art-form. If anger is having negative consequences on your life, learning how to be anger-responsive can make a huge difference to you and yours. You will feel an appropriate sense of control and peace.
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And do feel free to check out my other article Anger Management – The Truth.