What we’re told about anger – the myths.
“Getting angry is destructive and harmful”.
We believe that we will be damaging to a person or a relationship. Anger is the way to make a person take notice that you have a grievance. Anger is natural and can be an appropriate response, that is justified if you are betrayed, physically attacked, or subject to major social injustice.
→ Express your complaint immediately, as it happens if you can refrain from blowing up. Otherwise, wait a bit. Say “ I feel angry, when…..” or “I feel angry, because…..”. It will feel less destructive to the other as it does not involve tantrums, punching or shouting.
“Anger and love don’t mix”.
Hence you would believe that you should never feel anger toward someone you love. We can be angry at our love ones. What matters is to be firm, assertive about the grievance.
“If I show my anger, I’ll destroy her.”
People who appear frail and unable to cope with your burst might be manipulating you. You think they can’t deal with it. This is seldom so (unless of course, you express your anger destroying things, or the person is seriously raw on a particular topic). This might lead you to bottle up anger or to show your resentment at this situation through passive aggressive actions.
→ Express the anger to open the reality of your relationship with the other person. Subsequent anger will be less explosive.
“Getting angry is not the proper way to behave.”
This is impossible. We are biologically wired for anger. We need to express it when felt. The real question here is “how will I express that I am angry in a proper way”?
→ if your grievance is genuine, anger brings it to the notice of others. If properly handled it then leads to a resolution of the problem through discussion.
“If I allow myself to get angry, I might lose control and cause injury.”
Expressing anger directly does not necessarily lead to catastrophic results. Permitting the release of this emotion allows you to get in touch with it and less frightened by it, leading to better control over it.
-→ if your grievance is appropriate, express it. Assess the magnitude of its expression and how it is expressed (e.g., does it lead you to criticize or diminish the other?) Self-control is everything, which means to have the ability to calm down, on your own.
“If I get angry, they will retaliate.”
This is a childhood belief from seeing adults express anger and punish you.
→ Not likely to happen in adulthood unless you are dealing with a disordered or vindictive person.
“If I get angry, they will behave.”
No relationship ever can be based on fear. If you use anger to manipulate another into submission, people will avoid you.
“If I get angry, I’ll be rejected.”
A negative response to your anger does not imply reject.
→ While negative reaction might happen in a social or work relationship, an indication of closeness with a partner is their acceptance of who you are as a real person.
“We inherit anger”.
It doesn’t matter if dad or mom were angry people. You might have been born with a more reactive temper. This is not the issue. Anger is a learned behavior and can be changed.