Thursday, February 21, 2013

Anger - How do You Deal?

What do you do when you're angry? Do you scream and say things you regret later? Do you scream and say things you do mean and have been holding in for a long time? Maybe you retreat, withdraw. Maybe you stew and give the person the silent treatment. We all deal with it differently don't we?

I used to personalize someone else's anger even if their anger was completely baseless.  You know, the kind of person who blames everything on you because nothing that goes wrong in their life could possibly be their fault? Yeah, I was stupid enough to buy into that for a while. Fun times!

Over a great part of my life I learned that anger is bad, we aren't supposed to get angry. And if I caused someone else anger the right response was acceptance of the blame and walking on eggshells in order to avoid raising their anger again. I stuffed my anger. 

Anger turned inwards becomes depression and that's exactly where all this got me. Then I learned to recognize and accept my own anger. It's been a liberating experience. 

Like everyone, sometimes my anger is justified and sometimes it is not. Sometimes my first reaction is anger but, upon reflection, I discover that my anger is really a defensive reaction or my response to some insecurity that someone has touched or simply my irritability over little things because I'm stressed or sleep-deprived.

I don't like the way anger feels. It's uncomfortable. I feel shaky inside, if that makes sense. My heart pounds, my chest tightens. I hate it. And I can't focus when I'm angry or when there is any issue in an important relationship.

The silent treatment - I don't get it. I may walk away for a bit, to calm myself and get rid of that shaky, can't-think-straight feeling but I want to talk about it soon and get it behind us, move on. It drives me crazy until that happens. 

I don't understand what prolonged silence toward someone important to you accomplishes. You stew. You put a lot of energy into your anger. You distance yourself from the person you're angry with. Why not resolve it one way or the other right away? What do you gain from silence? It upsets everyone for longer than necessary.  It's a waste of time and energy that is better spent somewhere else. 

Am I wrong? Do you give people the silent treatment when you're angry? Is it a good option?

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