The ABC's of Anger

Anger is an emotion that is often misunderstood and mishandled. Angry feelings are a fact of life; we all feel them at one point or another. The problem is that anger, as one of the most powerful emotions we can feel, has great potential for harm. That being said, did you know that our anger also has the great potential for good? Stay with me here. Anger can be a necessary motivator, to bring about needed change or protect from danger or injury. Unfortunately, when out of control or left unchecked, it can mean tremendous destruction for relationships and result in devastating personal loss.

Here is a brief process for dealing effectively with anger:

A

Acknowledge it

Recognize what is being felt as anger, then honestly admit it. Figure out what is making you feel that way (not who), and correctly define the level of anger. Are you just frustrated, possibly angry, or actually enraged?

B

Be aware of its effect

What is the anger doing to your mood and attitude? How is it affecting your physical health? This is as much a preventive step as a management technique. Our bodies will often give us clues about what we are feeling before our minds are aware.

C

Control it

Because we are more susceptible to poor judgment when we are angry, it is important to be in control of our actions and words. It is important to adequately manage the adrenaline and the mood that anger creates. So take a time out. Cool off. Get control.

D

Derail it

Underneath almost every experience of anger is some kind of more vulnerable emotion. In order to derail or diffuse anger, you must also identify what other emotions you felt just prior to the anger. Did you feel hurt? Disrespected? Disappointed? Abandoned? Humiliated? Fearful or betrayed?

E

Express it

Both your anger and your more vulnerable emotion need to be shared. Depending upon the circumstances, you might share these feelings with a spouse, friend, co-worker, ministry leader, counselor, or employer. It might also be beneficial to spend time in prayer and/or writing about your feelings in a journal. Challenging or “confronting” the person with whom you are angry may be necessary, but careful and appropriate expression is the key. There are times when confrontation is impossible, or simply unwise

F

Forgive

This is often a very difficult step, but to truly be free from the harmful effects of anger you must learn to forgive your offender. The forgiveness is for YOU—your freedom from bitterness, resentment, and a destructive life filled with anger. Forgiveness does not mean denying your hurt or dismissing an offender’s responsibility. It does mean that you let go of your anger and choose to forgive.
Anger can be an extremely destructive force in our homes. If you or someone you know struggles to control anger, please get help. Reach out to a professional counselor or even a local church for someone to talk to.

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