A few days I ago I wrote about my inability to express anger and how I recently have been able get properly angry and stand up for myself when I feel that others are being disrespectful. If the person who was disrespectful was someone close I would just cry or I would get so surprised/defend the other person (in my mind), give them reasons to why they behave like they did and just take it or simply walk away. Now, I pick my battles and let it flow over me like oil on water.
My therapist told me that anger is the most misunderstood of all the emotions, and that anger in its essence is not bad. I always thought anger was really bad and a sign of weakness, an inability to control one’s emotions. To be on the receiving end of someone’s anger is certainly not a pleasurable experience and it feels like a verbal and physical attack. Anger involving abuse is obviously never a good thing but anger that motivates, focuses and helps you to move forward can be brilliant qualities to possess.
Whilst I was researching anger I found an article in a supplement called YOU from the 23/01/2011. I am afraid I don’t know which paper it’s supplementing which probably means one of the conservatives ones (ha-ha).
The article is called ‘Steps to Anger Management’ and basically is an extract from a book called: ‘Resolve your Differences: Seven Steps to Dealing with Conflict in your Relationship’ by Andrew G Marshall. It will be published on the 7th of February by Bloomsbury at 6.99 pounds.
The article lists all the negatives forms of angers such as: sudden anger, habitual anger, shame-based anger, paranoid anger, deliberate anger and moral anger.
It helps you recognise behaviour and how to deal with the different types of anger.
Towards the end a small column is dedicated to: Healthy Anger. What is interesting here is that marital therapist Andrew G Marshall does not show us how anger can be used in a positive way. Perhaps that was not the purpose here, after all, the book deals with relationship and anger and not personal development and anger. Still, I feel that for a relationship to function and develop each party has to go through, will go through voluntary or not aspects of personal development (it’s a bit difficult to get away from life and experiences) and the implications that comes with supporting each other during, potentially uneven, personal and relationship growth.
The marital therapist advises us to stick within these parameters in order to reap the positive benefits of anger:
1. Your anger is treated as a signal that there is a problem that needs to be addressed
2. It is expressed in moderation
3. The goal is to solve problems rather than just express the anger or let off steam.
4. You take responsibility for the anger, I am angry because…’rather than ‘You are making me angry’.’
5. You express the anger in clear ways, so that your partner can respond accordingly.
6. You let go of the anger once the problem has been solved.
It’s not always easy to solve the problem that once made you angry which gives you two options. Either you keep the anger inside of you and add it to the already filled to the brim container of kept anger or you let go of the whole thing. It is easier said than done to let go but I always find it useful to use my body in helping to shed the anger for example take a walk, go to the gym, meditate or create a personal “let go” ritual to carry out in private.