As a therapist I probably see around 30% of my clients for anger management issues.
This is no great surprise. Life for many people these days is not easy.
If you are on a low to middle income you will probably be having money issues, maybe working long hours for small reward.
For those on higher incomes, the price they tend to pay for that is long unpaid hours and increased responsibility and accountability.
Then you can add the frustrations of public transport and road travel, along with all the other frustrations such as the stress of family life, and you have a situation where stress levels amongst people can be very high.
Anger is an unfortunate by-product of that stress. If people are unable to control their stress or release it in a productive way, then it will be released in an unproductive way such as by drinking alcohol, using drugs, and of course inappropriate anger.
As an emotion, anger has no value to us most of the time. Anger implies a loss of control. Soldiers don’t get angry, and boxers don’t get angry, because they need control to succeed.
If we get angry on the road or at work, that anger can have serious consequences for ourselves and other people.
You may believe that getting angry with people will force people to do what you want. Perhaps it will, for a time. But over time, the people on the receiving end will find ways to fight back, or they will just walk away from you.
So if you are a manager of people at work, the may well leave. Or decide to make a complaint against you.
Anger tends to provoke anger in others, so road rage becomes infectious and a small incident can escalate to a serious or fatal one.
Anger at home is bound to place stress on a relationship and may even lead to separation and divorce.
Of course, anger expressed with violence can lead to prosecution and loss of job as well as the break up of a family.
But there is hope for those who suffer from anger issues. Anger is a learned behaviour, and any behaviour we have learned can be un-learned and replaced with positive behaviours.
When I use Timeline© Therapy, we go back in time to the moment when you first experienced anger, and we agree together that the angry response at that time, although understandable, did you no good whatsoever.
When you accept that, you realise that all your angry incidents up until now were equally useless and in fact have created all sorts of problems for you. Once that penny drops, it will change your behaviour in the future, your unconscious mind will correct your behaviour and you will no longer be at the mercy of this powerful emotion.
I recently helped a young man with his anger problems. As a small child he witnessed his parents behaving with anger and abuse towards each other. He recalled that he was terrified at the time, but he also learned by watching them that anger was ‘normal’, and so he became a difficult teenager and got into all sorts of problems.
Then, he met a nice lady and they had two children. But his anger stayed with him and sometimes he would shout and break things in front of his family.
When we did the Timeline© Therapy, he realised with horror that he was in fact creating the same behaviour in his own children. And that was a huge motivator to stop what he was doing, so he did.
No matter how helpless you may feel if it seems you cannot stop yourself getting angry, you can. Any learned behaviour can be un-learned.
There are some positive ways that will help that you can do for yourself:
- Exercise is really important. It works out the stress and frustrations and helps you feel good.
- Meditation is useful, it teaches you how to relax and let go of your stress.
- Having an absorbing hobby also helps because it relaxes you and takes your mind away from the causes of your stress.
- Talking openly and honestly to people who you trust will give you the chance to express yourself in a calm way.
- Relaxation techniques can be learned and you can use them any time you want, so if you are heading into a stressful situation, you can relax yourself and approach the situation in the right frame of mind.
You can of course come and see a therapist too!