Our practice receives many referrals weekly on anger management and how we can help individuals, couples, and even families from “being angry.” When clients call or send an email requesting a therapist to stop them from being angry, I usually try to correct people and say, “I don’t want to stop you from being angry. I want to help you understand your anger more clearly.” Part of individuals understanding their anger is understanding themselves in the process. it aids you in discovering and using better ways to fuel your anger in addition to what you are currently doing. Most times, we aren’t aware of our anger and the behaviors we engage in when we are angry. Oftentimes this is why people feel they need a cure for being angry. Many forms of anger exist—some people are violent, hostile, or aggressive, emotionally and physically. Before this happens, there are steps to not wind up THERE. I often tell my clients, once you get in the explosive phase of anger, it’s hard to calm down, and it’s hard to not make regrettable decisions.
Part of anger management is working together to figure out how we can NOT get there OR work toward getting better being in that angry place. Many people believe anger is bad and thus we are bad people when we get angry. Most of the behaviors we engage in when we are angry aren’t behaviors we enjoy. It doesn’t leave us feeling peacefully resolved does it? This is why many people associate anger with being bad.
In our anger management sessions at our practice—group or individual—part of the experimental piece of the work that I do with clients is to teach them about their anger. Understanding your anger is part of understanding yourself. What ticks you off, what makes you mad, and how you choose not to hit, throw, curse, or even yell at yourself and others when you’re angry? “So, Ms. Ebony, are you telling me, I can be angry and still be in control?” Yes, I am saying that. Yes, I am telling you that it takes times to understand yourself and your angry and, yes, I am telling you at times we have the RIGHT to be angry.
Just like we were given the feelings of happiness, sadness, or fear, anger is an emotion that God gives us as well. In the Bible, he tells us, “Be angry and yet not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26) Be angry, but choose to make decisions on how we ACT out our anger.
Many people may feel this isn’t necessary or valuable, but I believe it is. “So why, Ms Ebony, should you teach me how to understand my anger, when I feel it’s bad?” Is anger really bad? Can you think about a time where your anger fueled or birthed something within you? For example, has someone ever discouraged you by telling you that you wouldn’t be successful or you wouldn’t get the job? If so, did you prove that person wrong? That anger can be redirected in a positive way to amplify your ability to work hard to achieve your goal. Developing and learning new coping skills helps you when you begin to feel strong reactions to your emotions, which results in making impulsive decisions out of your angry. Don’t you want to stop regretting these negative behaviors?
Being a certified anger management specialist has challenged me with my own coping skills on how I deal with anger. I was challenged when I was training to be a certified anger management specialist, and I continue to be challenged to find the balance of being assertive and grounded. Yet I know that it’s within me to choose to live a peaceful life. I choose to understand myself so I can calm myself and accept that there will be times when I will be angry. The key idea is not that being angry is bad, it is knowing how to constructively deal with your anger.
Anger can be difficult at times to process and control. Controlling anger doesn’t always help, because it can only suppress for a later episode. Learning to figure out what’s making you angry and the underlying issues can effectively improve the way you deal with anger.
If you are interested in learning more about our anger management education and program, please contact us.
Peace and blessings,