Has a loved-one, friend, colleague or boss indicated you have an issue with anger?

  • Do you feel you can ‘fly off the handle’ or ‘lose the plot’ at a moment’s notice?

  • Do you find yourself in a rage when something seemingly minor goes wrong?

  • Does your anger stay with you for days after it was triggered and you find yourself endlessly chewing and ruminating on the resentment?

  • Do you find it difficult to feel and express your anger in a healthy fashion?

  • Do you find yourself being judgemental of others a lot of the time?

You may find your anger is taking its toll on your body with physical symptoms such as tingling, headaches, hypertension, autoimmune conditions and even heart disease.

Sometimes you experience powerlessness when it comes to controlling your anger.

You then end up turning your anger on yourself.

At this point, you may even medicate your anger, consciously or unconsciously with alcohol or drugs.

You don’t have to live your life on a trip wire.

The intensity of that very unpleasant feeling of wanting to lash out can be reduced and healed by learning to be more in control of your emotions.

You can become more responsive than reactive. You can become more assertive than aggressive. You can reacquaint yourself with the calmer, wiser and patient parts of your personality.

Many of us have difficulty in expressing our Anger (our Anger expresses us)

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Sometimes you keep your anger inside you by suppressing it, as you don’t wish to ‘rock the boat’, but it eventually bubbles up and bursts out and you injure and sometimes rupture relationships with your loved ones, friends, colleagues or anyone really.

Anger is a healthy normal emotion; it is how we handle it, or what we do with it that can be the cause of the difficulty or issue.

Anger tells us about our physical and psychological boundaries; someone steps on our toes or steps on our self-esteem by putting us down, we feel a boundary has been crossed and we experience anger.

We feel it when we see injustice towards ourselves or towards others.

It can take over when we feel betrayed.

It can turn into RAGE!

Old anger

You may be carrying “old anger”; anger that never received expression and has been building up layer upon layer until it forms a black mass of coal in your psyche and you find yourself not liking yourself.

How was anger expressed growing up in your family? Who do you know in this world who models healthy expression of anger? How would you know what healthy expression of anger looks like? These are some of the things you can learn in therapy.

Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
— Aristotle

“I’m just too angry to talk. I am barely able to contain my anger as things stand. I don't want to give it any more power over me than it already has.”

Counterintuitively, it is not talking about your anger which gives it its power. The edge comes off your anger the more safe and controlled expression you give it. A therapeutic space is ideal for processing your anger. Once you feel trust building up between you and your therapist, you will be more likely to feel you are able to express your anger without being judged for it.

“I should be able to deal with my anger by myself”

Have your tried? Has your solitary approach worked to date? Do you just end up heaping your own anger more and more on top of yourself? It is ok to get help with your anger. There is nothing wrong with getting support with these difficult feelings. They can be just too much for one person alone to hold. Anger therapy can help you offload.

“You are just going to tell me the same old stuff, ‘take deep breaths, calm down, relax, blah blah, go to yoga classes’”.

While techniques of anger management have their place in the realm of therapeutic supports, the focus of how I work therapeutically with anger is on what lies behind and beneath your anger. Once you do the work in this deeper psychological space, you will find you won’t need to rely on techniques as much as your relationship with your anger improves.

As mentioned earlier, Aristotle was dealing with anger management 2000 years ago. Anger is a vital part of our emotional world—it gives us tonnes of information about our values, our boundaries, who we are and how we relate to ourselves, to others and to the world at large.

Getting to really know our anger and safely expressing it is the therapeutic goal. This is what takes the potentially destructive power out of it.

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Countless people have managed to make friends with their anger and live more peaceful lives free from the overwhelming intensity of it. Or when they feel the overwhelming intensity arise, they have developed some behavioural skills which work for them to take the edge off it. However, these skills work better in conjunction with deeper emotional processing of their anger.

I can work with you by providing you with a safe space to express and explore your anger. This will also give you the opportunity to navigate through the possible root causes or underlying issues which may be contributing to your current exasperating and painful experiences of anger.

A free 15 minute consultation

Your health and relationships are important and releasing anger and resentment is difficult to accomplish by yourself.

Contact me today for a free 15-minute phone consultation at a time that suits you by clicking here to request a call back. During the call, ask me any questions you like about how I work with anger.

It is possible to come off that tripwire and live a more serene and peaceful life.

Written by Tadhg Hayes, MSc Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy.
Psychotherapist working in South Dublin.