Everyone gets angry sometimes it's a natural human emotion. Healthy anger gives us energy to make constructive change and helps us stand up for ourselves. The difficult skill is either to be able to quell our anger or use it constructively. The trouble is when anger turns to aggression and violence or festers on the inside.
It can be deeply humiliating to 'lose it' at work, overreact in a social situation or hurt someone we care about. Inappropriate anger can result in people hurting themselves or hurting those around them or damaging their relationships. 'Losing it' can be very painful - it can take some people several days to calm down after becoming upset.
Holding on to anger can burn us up on the inside, taking a toll on health and wellbeing. It may not be obvious on the outside, while eating us up on the inside, resulting in frustration, stress, tension, insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, intimacy problems, anxiety and depression. Some people deal with this in unhealthy ways such as alcohol, drugs, bullying, controlling or risk-taking.
Outward symptoms of unhealthy anger include:
Inward symptoms of unhealthy anger include:
Patterns of anger include:
There are two steps required in working with anger. The first is anger management; that is, practical help in controlling unhealthy anger and finding constructive alternatives. This requires gaining an understanding of your triggers so that early warning signs may be noticed and strategies developed for handling these. Clients are often surprised when a few simples changes in their life make a dramatic difference.
The second step is understanding the underlying reasons for anger and making sense of the unresolved feelings. Counselling offers a non-judgmental space to explore underlying issues while at the same time developing practical skills for anger management, assertiveness and communication.
All of our team are experienced in working with anger issues. As psychotherapists we have a deep understanding of unconscious process, the impact of the past, relationship dynamics, and the interplay of thoughts, emotions and behaviour. We have the skills and knowledge to work with you respectfully and constructively.
Congratulations on getting this far. Now it's time to take the next step. Therapy provides a safe space to make sense of what is happening. It can help in identifying anger triggers, developing new strategies, resolving underlying issues while improving interpersonal skills. Do yourself a favour, if not for yourself then for those you care about. The time is now!
For an anger management course or individual anger management programme contact John Bryant (Grey Lynn & West Harbour).
For children & teens see our child, adolescent and family specialists.