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"Notes" #29

The American election ended, well sort of, but I was left with feeling total shock at how close the vote was, and then and then I picked up on all the anger that Trump and his followers were spewing. Attack, attack; you screwed us out of winning by voter fraud; you cheated; anger, anger!

             Enlightened people move away from
                              conflict and confrontation.

So when I sat down Monday to put together "Notes" # 29, I stopped at the file marked "ANGER". I will speak to anger in general and not in reaction to the ridiculous "down south" shenanigans.    Dan


Why am I so angry and upset all the time?

What I hear quite often in my couples practice is: "Why do you keep bringing these negative thoughts up now; that's in the past?"
Well, I'll tell you why! The reason is that the speaker of these words is not seeing genuine remorse in their partner or they have some early unresolved feelings that they need to deal with and to let go of. You'll notice I didn't say, "forgive" or "forget". I said "let go of". You need to agree to not give these negative thoughts and feelings any more energy. Find somebody, preferably a competent therapist, talk it out, feel it out, and let them go.


Anger is a normal human feeling. What we do or don't do with that feeling can reveal a character defect, but it is not wrong to feel angry. Denial of anger, blaming, resentment, and manipulating others are character defects or shortcomings that result from not dealing with our anger in a healthy way.

People quite often choose to deal with their anger in inappropriate ways and make strange decisions to let their anger out, frequently on the very people they love the most and who deserve it the least. I find myself quite often saying to people, "You need to choose to talk about your anger and not be angry".

Why then is the person you choose to express your anger to directly most often a close friend or a loved one? Well, anger, as well as happiness, sadness, or fear, is a feeling that requires intimacy for its expression. A sensation of vulnerability often lies just beneath our anger, and we usually choose to show our vulnerability only to those we trust. Anger is a distinct form of intimate communication.

Anger is an interesting emotion we have all grown up with. We use it to establish power and create distance between ourselves and others. When we were young we started with temper tantrums hoping to get our own way and if it worked, anger became a method to control the people and events in our life.

Uncontrolled anger or rage has some very definite effects on our body: autoimmune issues, shorter lifespan, diabetes, cancer, heart attack, mental illness and depression.

As much as it is good for the individual to let go of their anger through venting, it is equally as destructive on the recipient of that anger if it is not done in a proper manner.

                 You talk about your anger; you don't be it!

Some suggestions for dealing with anger:
Cool down first before beginning a discussion on why you're so angry;
Breathe (5-5-5-- in through your nose, hold, out through your mouth); Remember to focus on the behaviours and not on the person's character;
Avoid name calling; don't swear; don't exaggerate and don't over generalize.

Talking about your anger can often lead to positive results.

The only antidote to anger is to eliminate the internal sentences,
If only you were more like I am, and
If only the world were not the way it is.

Anger Self-Assessment (author unknown)
Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you might have anger problems:

Questions (answer True or False)

I've had trouble on the job because of my temper.

People say that I fly off the handle easily.

I don't always show my anger, but when I do, look out.

I still get angry when I think of the bad things people did to me in the past.

I hate lines, and I especially hate waiting in line.

I often find myself engaged in heated arguments with the people who are close to me.

At times I've felt angry enough to kill.

When someone says or does something that upsets me, I don't usually say anything at the time, but later I spend a lot of time thinking of cutting replies I could and should have made.

I find it very hard to forgive someone who has done me wrong.

I get angry with myself when I lose control of my emotions.

I get aggravated when people don't behave the way they should.

If I get really upset about something, I have a tendency to feel sick later (frequently experiencing weak spells, headaches, upset stomach or diarrhoea).

When things don't go my way, I "lose it."

I am apt to take frustration so badly that I cannot put it out of my mind.

I've been so angry at times I couldn't remember what I said or did.

Sometimes I feel so hurt and alone that I've thought about killing myself.

After arguing with someone, I despise myself.

When riled, I often blurt out things I later regret saying.

Some people are afraid of my bad temper.

When I get angry, frustrated or hurt, I comfort myself by eating or using alcohol or other drugs.

When someone hurts me, I want to get even.

I've gotten so angry at times that I've become physically violent, hitting other people or breaking things.

I sometimes lie awake at night thinking about the things that upset me during the day.

People I've trusted have often let me down, leaving me feeling angry or betrayed.

I'm an angry person. My temper has already caused lots of problems, and I need help changing it.

Scoring the Anger Self-Assessment Test
If you answered true to 10 or more of these questions, you are prone to anger problems. It's time for a change. If you answered true to 5 questions, you are about average in your angry feelings, but learning some anger management techniques, including those suggested above, can make you happier and probably liked more.