Friday, November 21, 2008

Anger poisons relationships

Anger is something we all experience. It is a powerful emotion that can be very destructive. I wonder if you feel anger in other situations besides in your relationship. Sometimes we feel angry because of something else in our life (such as job unsatisfaction, low self esteem, money stressors, kid problems, etc) and unknowingly we take our anger on the person closest to us. This is a defense mechanism called displacement. An example of this would be - a man having a hard day at work who comes home and kicks his dog or yells at his wife. He is not per se angry at neither one but they are there and he takes his anger on them (or rather displaces his anger onto them) Sometimes anger in relationships may occur because it is driven by things such as jealousy, sexual or personal unsatisfaction, or disappointments (or anything else).
What may help you find the answer to what causes the anger is to start keeping track of when you get angry- for instance is there a pattern? Then, try to see if there had been times when you felt those feelings (even the anger) and did not act out on them. How did you cope? What did you do? Then, try to replicate this when you start to feel angry. I think that it would also help if you talk to the other person honestly when you're not angry.
Acknowledging the fact that you get angry is a step in this process and it seems that you have done so. Remember that feelings like anything else in life are temporary but what we tell or do when angry may leave lasting effects on the other person. I think that we all are able to act and be the way we want to be if consciously we make that choice. Sometimes it helps to admit that we don't always have to be right, we don't always have to have the last say, and we are not in some kind of battle that we have to exert our energy through being angry. Life is here to present us with all kinds of disappointments, choices, heartaches and lessons and we're given the opportunity to make the best of it (or not) It's up to us. Ask yourself why am I angry and how is it hurting me? Then, step by step try to work with those emotions that evoke the anger. There may be different things that make people feel anger but that pattern is usually the same. It starts we thoughts, feelings, and then our emotions erupting. What thoughts lead to your feelings? What do you think before you get angry? Then find out if the things you think are really truthful. Some times we think things that are rubbish, they just fill our head with thought after thought. At other times our thoughts are signals to what is going on in our life and what may needs to change in order for us to be happier, healthier and more peaceful. Think before you feel like yelling, count to ten, take deep breaths and ask yourself what is going to be accomplished if I yell this time?

Copyright: Dr. Rossi Davis 2008