Coping Skill: #59. Admitting Anger

Fear of Anger

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou

Anger is one of the hardest emotions for me to handle. When it plagues me, I feel like an awful person. Being sweet and faking that nothing hurts me is easier. However, after awhile, I can no longer hide my frustration.

The honest truth is that anger is a normal emotion. Yes, it can motivate people to do terrible things. However, channeled correctly, anger can lead to good actions such as standing up to a bully, fighting a corruption, not allowing others to take advantage of you, or helping people to realize the pain they cause others.

You can choose how you react to your emotions even though you cannot often choose your feelings. When you hide from a feeling like anger, it often only grows stronger and more self-destructive. That is why admitting to my anger has been such an important coping skill in my recovery.

This is a simple coping skill because it needs little preparation or materials. However, doing it can be very draining and frightening. By admitting who and what you are anger at, you are beginning to be honest about how you feel. This can bring up uncomfortable and intense feelings for some people. It took me a long time before I could do this by myself in a safe way.

What I generally do is make a list, mentally or physically, about what I am upset about and why. This can be large things such as someone who abused me in the past or smaller items such as my sister refusing to quiet down when I need to concentrate. Without judging myself, I simply list off everything that is bugging me. Since I tend to remember and be haunted by the past, many of my items come from years ago. That is fine as are occurrences that happened just that day. Just list off everything making you mad. You might even want to add items that you are mad at yourself for doing or not doing.

Sometimes I want to just think about who I am anger at instead of what. If you cannot separate a person from the emotion of anger, then you can write them down for now. However, I recommend that you try to list things instead of people. Most of my friends, family, and even those who hate me do not just fill me with irritation or rage. Perhaps I also feel sad, guilty, loving, scared, confused, or amused by them. Usually we have many emotions attached to everyone that we know.

Here is an example of some of the things that might be on your list. They are just hypothetical and not really things that I am angry about at the moment. Writing and posting that would not be fair to those I am frustrated with at the moment.

  1. The negative comment that my co-worker made about my work
  2. How my older sister used to tease me about my hairstyles
  3. Hearing my grandfather complain about politics
  4. Every time that my father came home drunk and scared us all
  5. The way my classmate acts so snub
  6. That I ate more dessert than everyone else at the party
  7. People not understanding my illness
  8. The buss driver’s cranky attitude this morning
  9. How my brother’s girlfriend laughs
  10. The politician who is power-hungry

This is only the first step of dealing with anger. However, it is a vital part of healing. Hopefully, you will be able to find this coping skill as helpful as I do.

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18 thoughts on “Coping Skill: #59. Admitting Anger

  1. Clinton says:

    Hi anna, thank you for the encouraging words. I like what you’ve done with your blog. I’ll take a look around 🙂

  2. I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I have issues with controlling my anger as well. I believe it’s better to go off in the moment as long as it’s not too explosive. When you hold it in for any period of time I feel its harder to later decompress. Sometimes I think it’s good to just release your anger in the moment. Good to know I’m not alone in my battle.

  3. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    Great play! Acknowledging anger can prevent one from taking out past anger on someone in your present life for smaller issues. It is liberating. May I reblog this to my blog Stop the Stigma?

  4. ashokbhatia says:

    One thing that helps is to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the person and try to understand why he/she would have done what has hurt us. Sometimes, when we have cooled off a wee bit, a new perspective dawns upon us. We forgive and move on, protecting ourselves in the long run.

    Here is a post you may like:
    http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/the-angry-birds-in-management/

  5. ashokbhatia says:

    One thing that helps is to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the person and try to understand why he/she would have done what has hurt us. Sometimes, when we have cooled off a wee bit, a new perspective dawns upon us. We forgive and move on, protecting ourselves in the long run.

    Here is a post you may like:
    http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/the-angry-birds-in-management/

  6. 80smetalman says:

    Once again, very much like me. Throughout my life I have swallowed too much anger until I couldn’t keep it down any longer and then BANG! Usually the blow up was at the wrong time.

  7. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    Reblogged this on Stop the Stigma and commented:
    Acknowledging anger can prevent one from taking out past anger on someone in your present life for smaller issues. It is liberating.

  8. I can really attest to the destructive power of bitterness. I personally believe it is not something generally talked about seriously. Someone might say, “he’s bitter about not getting a raise, but he’ll get over it.” When in reality bitterness is the cruelest and most consuming form of hate/anger, because more often than not you end up hurting yourself, eroding trust, and living in fear.

    Keep up the good work. Stop the stigma indeed.

  9. Reblogged this on Angry Women Anonymous and commented:
    I like the approach of making a list. It amazes me how so many little things can pile up and contribute to an angry episode when we don’t acknowledge what’s bothering us.

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