Is anger management a failed method?

Anger issues can be made worse when under stress.

This is a short, simplistic view about what is an extraordinarily complex subject.

I must admit that I’m not too fond of the term anger management. To me, if you must actively manage your anger daily, you have failed to address the underlying reasons that are driving the emotional overreaction. I never provide anger management other than short term support to help provide some control while therapy progresses. It is always better to attend to the real driving force behind anger if possible. So only short-term management is preferred.

Working as an online therapist, I find that many clients had difficulty expressing valid emotion like anger over the years.

Angry people are bad people?

Anger has many forms, often verbalized in therapy as frustrated, irritated, irate, annoyed, and upset, its as if the word anger will make them look like a bad person, so they have to disguise it. Anger is often seen as a bad emotion, something to be suppressed and hidden. But in fact, anger is especially important to us and needs to be expressed in a helpful way.

 Feelings of anger are sometimes ignored or repressed/suppressed. Thereby, in some cases, people can become ineffective and unable to stand up for what is important to them. Many people seem to be ashamed of anger, but we are suppressing ourselves if we hide our anger. Anger can be used for good. It helps motivate people and help society concentrate on whatever is important to us. When people fight for social justice or personal injustice, many people have influenced political changes. Or stood up for their personal rights and freedoms. It can help people focus and keep going when it gets difficult.

We need to express anger.

We need to express anger or some of its many forms, such as feelings of frustration. Or when we feel offended, this does not make us bad people. It just tells us and everyone around us that we are unhappy. Just by accepting that as people, we have the right to these feelings, which we call anger, means we can then start to respect how we feel.

Anger helps us set boundaries; it also helps protect what is important to us as long as it is expressed in the right way and with the right level of expression. Too much anger can lead to even more problems, such as ending up physically hurting others and including some serious legal repercussions.

We need the right balance.

 So yes, expressing uncontrolled anger that turns into violence or becomes controlling and abusive is not a good way to express it. But ignoring anger or denying it can also lead to major personal issues. So, what we need is the right balance and the ability to express it correctly and in the right situation.

Too little anger can mean that we are taken advantage of or fail to protect what is important in our lives. Being able to say no when we need to stops people from taking advantage, and in turn, we become more self-sufficient.

With therapy, you may learn why it is hard for you to say no to family, friends or co-workers. Or start to understand why you neglect your own needs. Or discover why you seem to explode and must then deal with the after-effects, including guilt and shame, why it seems okay for other people to be angry but not you.

What does your anger say about you?

 

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