Anger: To Control or To Learn
by: Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
us will do anything to avoid another’s anger, yet may be quick to anger
ourselves. Many of us dread another’s anger yet continue to use our own anger
as a way to control others.
take a deeper look at what generates our anger and how we can learn from it
rather than be at the mercy of it.
feeling anger can come from two different places within us. Anger that comes
from an adult, rational place can be called outrage. Outrage is the feeling we
have when confronted with injustice. Outrage mobilizes us to take appropriate
action when harm is being done to ourselves, others, and the planet. Outrage is
a positive emotion in that it moves us to action – to stop crime and violence,
clean up the environment, and so on. Outrage comes from a principled place
within, a place of integrity, caring and compassion.
can also come from a fearful adolescent place within – from the part of us that
fears being wrong, rejected, abandoned, or controlled by
others, and feels intensely frustrated in the face of these feelings.
This part of us fears failure, embarrassment, humiliation, disrespect, and
helplessness over others and outcomes. When these fearful feelings are
activated, this adolescent part, not wanting to feel helpless, may move into
attacking or blaming anger as a way to attempt to control a person or a
situation. Blaming anger is always indicative of some way we are not taking
care of ourselves, not taking responsibility for our own feelings and needs.
Instead of taking care of ourselves, we blame another for our feelings in an
attempt to intimidate another to change so that we will feel safe.
anger creates many problems in relationships. No one likes to be blamed for
another’s feelings. No one wants to be intimidated into taking responsibility
for another’s needs. Blaming anger may generate blaming anger or resistance in
the other person, which results in a power struggle. Or, the person at the
other end of blaming anger may give in, doing what the
angry person wants, but there is always a consequence in the relationship. The
compliant person may learn to dislike and fear the angry person and find ways
to passively resist or to disengage from the relationship.
blaming anger comes up, the healthy option is neither to dump it on another in
an attempt to control them, nor to squash and repress it. The healthy option is
to learn from it.
anger at another person or situation has much to teach us regarding personal
responsibility for our own feelings and needs. As part of the Inner Bonding
process that we teach (see our free course at www.innerbonding.com), we offer a three-part anger process
that moves you out of feeling like a frustrated victim and into a sense of
Anger Process is a powerful way to release anger, as well as to learn from the
source of the anger.
your anger will work only when your intent in releasing it is to learn about
what you are doing that is causing your angry feelings. If you just want to use
your anger to blame, control and justify your position, you will stay stuck in
your anger. This three-part anger process moves you out of the victim-mode and
Imagine that the person you are angry at is sitting in front of you. Let your
angry wounded child or adolescent self yell at him or her, saying in detail
everything you wish you could actually say. Unleash your anger, pain and
resentment until you have nothing more to say. You can scream and cry, pound a
pillow, roll up a towel and beat the bed. (The reason you don't tell the person
directly is because this kind of cathartic, no-holds-barred "anger
dump" would be abusive to them.)
ask yourself who this person reminds you of in your past - your mother or
father, a grandparent, a sibling? (It may be the same person. That is, you may
be mad at your father now, and he is acting just like he did when you were
little.) Now let your wounded self yell at the person from the past as
thoroughly and energetically as in part one.
Finally, come back into the present and let your angry wounded self do the same
thing with you expressing your anger, pain and resentment toward your adult
self for your part in the situation or for treating yourself the way the people
in parts one and two treated you. This brings the problem home to personal
responsibility, opening the door to exploring your own behavior.
doing the anger process instead of trying to control others with your anger,
you de-escalate your frustration while learning about the real issue – how you
are not taking care of yourself in the face of whatever another is doing or in
the face of a difficult situation.
anger comes up, you always have the choice to control or to learn.
Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books,
including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" She is the
co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding
now! Visit her web site for a
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