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Understanding our Anger

August 29, 2018


Understanding our anger can help us accept and validate our emotions without being reactive to them in ways that are not in line with our goals and values.  Choose a few of these questions or activities for journaling and/or meditation.


What do you imagine will happen if you started feeling your angry feelings?


How do people in your current family deal with anger, how did your mother, father, siblings deal with anger?


What did you learn about anger from your culture?


How have you dealt with angry feelings in the past? Do you see any patterns? How do they compare to those of your family and culture?


If you don’t like to let yourself feel angry, but you have bubbling resentment or hidden anger, write about it.  Get a journal notebook or open a document and devote it to all the things you feel angry about.


Write an angry letter you don't intend to send.  Ask, "if I could feel angry about anything, no one would ever know, and it wasn’t wrong to feel this way, I would be angry about this . . . ."


If you are finding anger rising up frequently, keep a pen and pad available or a journal app on your phone and take notes throughout the day as the anger rises up in you.  Where do you feel it in your body, what other feelings rise with it? What thoughts come before, during, after?


Types of Anger - write about when have you felt them

  • Grief/loss anger. “How dare he die!” “I’m so enraged that I lost my job!”

  • Protective anger, from unfairness, abuse, pain. “She hurt me! That’s not okay!”

  • Anger from persecution stage of rescuing/caretaking behaviors (being a martyr)
    “Nobody appreciates me!”

  • Unreasonable anger caused by reactive disastrous thinking. (shoulds, have-to, awful, always). ”Everyone blames me for everything!” 

  • Anger that covers hurt and fear.  Sad and scared turns into anger to protect us from vulnerability. “I’ll make her regret rejecting me!”

  • Anger that comes from feeling ashamed or guilty (or not wanting to feel ashamed or guilty) “What I did wasn’t that bad, they deserved it!”  

  • Reactive anger: I get angry when someone else is angry, then they get angrier then we all get angrier.  “Don’t yell at me, I’m going to yell at you!”


Review "Myths about Anger" and ask yourself: What do you believe deep inside about anger, what myths of anger have you subscribed to? Challenge the myths you still (sorta/mostly) believe.  Think through possible new beliefs about anger.


Myths about anger:

It’s not okay to feel anger.

Anger is a waste of time/energy.

Good/nice people don’t feel anger.

Anger will “make me” lose control and go crazy.

People will go away if I get angry.

Others should not feel anger toward me.

If others feel anger toward me, I “made them” feel angry and it’s my job to fix it.

Someone else can “make me” feel angry and they are responsible for fixing my feelings.

If I feel angry, the relationship is over.

If I feel angry I should punish the person who "made me" feel angry.

If I feel angry, that person has to change so I won’t feel angry anymore.

I have to hit or break things.

I need to shout or holler.

I don’t love the people I’m angry with

I’m not loved by people who are angry with me.<