Looking through some of the online resource for anger scales I did laugh out loud. One set has “Call 911” which is dramatic, another had “Stop!” I mean, who’s going to just stop? Wouldn’t you have already done that if it were possible? The last thing you’d want to say to an angry person is “Just Stop.” That’s likely to further frustrate the angry person. By far the most concerning are those scales that say “Out of Control.” After all the work of the seventies to get people to see that anger is a feeling and that the feeling is not an issue of control, but rather an issue of being aware and attending to it, we’re still inducing fear of anger.
Actions that stem from anger are not the feeling themselves, they are a form of expression, anger looking for a form of outward expression. It would be wise to say put down the sharp object to an angry person, but not – stop being angry or control yourself.
It took a long time in human development to arrive at the idea that feelings are okay, they are simply feelings and that feelings are neither right or wrong – they just are. The other bomshell was that no one makes you angry – a very hard concept for some people to grasp, especialy as we often want to locate the rise of the feeling in someone or something and apportion blame. People can be irritating, there’s no doubt, but how we respond to them is actualy up to us, how we work in our feelings is up to us. We are all responsible for ourselves when it comes to feelings.
Anger is something we can work with. Numerous professionals in the field of counselling have written about how anger is an energy that can be transformed into positive action, and that results in our transformation from anger to reasonable. But by far the best way to transform anger is to reframe. By talking to someone, using I statements (I’m annoyed when I can’t … I’m angry when you say …), naming the feeling and acknowledging it. Naming it simply opens us to reflection, and doing that helps us with perspective, we reframe our situation and look on our feelings and process it, most often stepping back. Overall, I find meditation and reflection really help in my equilibrium.
One of the best resources I’ve encountered in recent years has been Pixar’s “Inside Out.”
flames sear my heart my head is thrumming with noise mantra is joyful ©Paul Cannon