Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Handle Your Anger

Emotions are powerful. They can be our friend or our enemy.  Problem is many of us don't know how to process them properly. We tend to either externalize or internalize our emotions. We take out our frustrations on others, on ourselves, over-react to minor situations, use substances to assuage our feelings, alienate ourselves from loved ones, or my all time favorite - NOT - resort to passive aggressive behavior. In this post, we will discuss the emotion of anger and how to identify if we or someone we know has an unresolved anger issue.

Think about the last time you had a very strong reaction to a situation or a person. To get you started here are a few typical scenarios to consider:

1: You're in driving in the car and someone lays on the horn, tailgates you, or flips you the bird.

2: Your boss yells at you on a Friday afternoon

3: A friend makes a comment and you fly off the handle.

4: You're at a restaurant and the food is taking forever to arrive. You've lost track of time because you are in deep conversation and realize it's been over 25 minutes.

Anger is a normal human emotion. We feel angry for a reason, but sometimes the reason we are angry is not the reason we think. Emotions are transferable. Many times, we explode at someone when really we are angry at someone else. This is called "transference". Instead of confronting the true source of our anger, we take it out on some other innocent party.

Two signs we are angry are:
1) we raise our voice
2) we have a strong reaction

Chances are there is something going on beneath the surface that needs to be addressed. The current situation gets blown out of proportion and the real problem never gets identified. Here's a personal story to give you an example of what I'm talking about.

Many years ago, when my oldest son was still in college, I was in bed reading a book when he walks in on a weekend visit. . A little background here, my son is brilliant. He has what his teachers call a photographic memory. He never really had to study much in high school and aced all his exams with little effort.

"Hey, ma, how you doing?"

"I'm fine. What's up? You look a little down," I observed.

"Yeah, I didn't do so well on my exam today," my oldest darling replied in a dejected tone.

"Oh, sorry to hear that. Do you think you studied enough?" Hint to parents: wrong thing to say. Better to say "So why might that be?"

"I'm leaving," he announced, slamming the door as he bolted out of the house.

Wow! Wonder why he reacted like that. It was a simple question. Little did I know, but I hit the nail on the head, as they say, and he wasn't ready to accept the truth of the situation. 

Several months later, I found out the real reason for the sudden display of anger. Alexi had lost his scholarship by not keeping his grades up.

So, if you find yourself over-reacting to minor situations, venting to anyone and everyone who will listen, distancing yourself from a loved one, inflicting personal harm, or having a strong desire to over-eat, drink too much, or do anything else to excess, there might be an unresolved anger issue lurking within. Time to get alone and get honest with yourself till the issue surfaces.

Remember, anger is a signal that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is not something to be ignored, denied or ashamed of.  "Be angry, but sin not," it says in scripture. Let me know if this post was helpful by leaving  a comment below.

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Ariel