Gary Chapman, marriage expert and author of The Five Love Languages says, “Anger is like FIRE. Control it. Use it. Be motivated by it. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it.”
Why? Because anger is toxic. For those who stuff their feelings and keep it from coming out, it’s like storing a combustible, radioactive material inside your body. For those who explode at any given situation, they are like an atomic bomb, that after the initial blast, leaves all kinds of fall out for others to have to clean up after, and in some situations, pick up the pieces.
And who is left to deal with the lingering effects of our anger? Our children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives.
While there is no “magic pill” to fix how people deal with their anger … there are classes to help people acquire skills to improve how they communicate and learn tools to resolve conflict quicker and more completely.
Healthy Relationships California is a non-profit organization that sponsors an array of Relationship and Marriage Education classes. A number of people have attended these classes hoping to make changes in their relationships, and learned however, to make changes in themselves and how they manage their anger.
Becky admits that she “fought dirty” with her husband. Dirty fighters tend to blame, yell, accuse and humiliate their partner in order to win or be “right.” That was all she knew until she attended a marriage course called PAIRS Essentials. It “sincerely opened my eyes to how I can communicate better with my husband! The listening technique exercises helped me ‘step out’ of my box of insecurity,” says this wife of 27 years. “I no longer blame my husband, but take responsibility for communicating and listening…We talk instead of fight over disagreements, now.”
Another wife found self-change to be the approach for handling her anger. “My favorite part of this course was the sentence ‘I CAN CHANGE BY MYSELF,’ so don’t worry about the other person.” Through the class, How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk, she learned a list of many things, “how to create and achieve my goals…how to help my children and how to have more time for my husband…how to manage my problems. For example, I didn’t know how to get out of a bad situation with an angry person. Now I am trying to listen and understand the other person then fix the problem.”
Adults aren’t the only ones who deal with anger, teenagers do too.
Jennifer is a teenager and her anger took the form of rage and fury. But the PAIRS for Peers class helped her find a new way to handle upsetting situations. “When I talk to my parents I try to stay calm when they say ‘no’ to me, usually I would get mad right away, throw a fit, and cry…. Now I can talk to them without the situation getting out of control. And now I always say thanks when they have done something I appreciate.”
The next time anger arises in you, ask yourself, “is my anger controlling me or am I controlling my anger?” If anger has the upper hand in your life, do yourself a favor: acquire the relationship skills and learn the communication tools to take control of your anger and improve your relationships.
Helpful Resources to Start Channeling Your Anger:
- Learn ways to channel your anger through a healthy outlet at PAIRS Essentials.
- Read the book, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way, by Dr. Gary Chapman (author of the 5 Love Languages)
The American Psychological Association offers ways to Control Your Anger:
- Anger can be suppressed and be converted or redirected into a more constructive behavior by focusing on something positive.
- Find out what triggers your anger, then develop strategies to prevent tipping over the edge.
- Deep relaxation tools can calm down angry feelings.
- Give yourself a break by scheduling some time for yourself.
Written by Lucinda Loveland – Copyright (C) 2011 Healthy Relationships California
What do you do when angry? Are you a person that withdraws when overwhelmed? Or are you the “attacker?” Do you agree that Anger is toxic? Why? (Share with us below)