Jenny Collard on Why Anger is Not all Bad
“Any one can get angry – that is easy…but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy” – Aristotle, circa 350 BC
Anger is often a feared emotion, both by the person experiencing the anger and anyone in receipt of it. Anger therefore is often viewed as a ‘bad’ emotion and when it arises we are left feeling as though we are bad ourselves. However, anger, like all emotions, is a signal of communication from deep within us, and that communication needs to be heard.
Anger is the emotional consequence of having felt that we have been treated unfairly or unjustly and as such it seeks expression to have the unsatisfactory situation readjusted and put right. As such, anger is a valuable and useful tool that reminds us of our own self-worth and value. However when we struggle to express this powerful emotion in a way that is safe and balanced, anger can cause distance in relationships which ultimately leads us to feel bad and worthless. When anger is not expressed outwardly, we find ourselves turning it back in and ‘beating ourselves up’, so both the over and under expression of this emotion can cause serious problems to our view of ourselves.
We can quickly see that the expression of anger is both necessary, and complicated. This is where counselling can help, by slowing the thoughts and feelings down in an angry moment, therapist and client can begin to explore triggers and signals that lead to an outburst (or ‘inburst’). We start by exploring why we have the present imbalance of expression. For most of us, suppression of anger or inappropriate use of anger started in childhood so a good question to ask is: What did you learn about anger, growing up? Do the lessons you learned still serve you today?
By building an understanding of what is causing us to be angry, we can begin to accept our anger and express it in a meaningful and productive manner. Yes, expressing anger can be productive! Healthy expression of anger involves confrontation of what makes you angry and an effort to consider how you might want to respond to respect your own feelings and those of the other person. Healthy anger is not used to punish, is not violent, and isn’t used to intimidate, control or manipulate. It is expressed, discussed, and moved through.
To talk to someone about any issues that might be causing you concern. Contact us or call us on 0116 416 1626.
If you are a therapist looking for further training in working with anger please see our training CPD programme, where we will be hosting an Anger and Rage specific training with UKCP registered psychotherapist John Monk-Steel