Now That You Know How Your Anger Patterns Got Started, Let’s Look at When You Get Angry
Anger is a hot topic (no pun intended). As discussed in the previous article, it is a feeling that everyone experiences, yet few people really want to address, talk about or deal with it directly.
I want you to focus for a moment and identify:
- What really “makes your blood boil?”
- What “makes you see red?”
You know what I mean – those things that you swear you’re not going to react to next time, but you end up reacting to anyway…those “damn hot buttons” of yours.
Notice first of all that the wording of both of the above questions – which are the usual way we would ask them – puts the “blame” on an external circumstance or behavior, as if you have no control over your responses to circumstances. (Come to think of it, that doesn’t give us much credit for being able to run our own lives effectively, does it?)
Oftentimes, as we started to explore in the previous article, events that trigger an intense reaction on your part, angry or otherwise, are more related to your history rather than to the event at hand. Why do you get so utterly incensed at what might otherwise be perceived as a mere slight or oversight? What is it in your history that you are really reacting to?
I’m asking so that you can begin to think about the roots of your reactions, so that you will be in a position to USE that information to help you CHOOSE how you want to RESPOND to something rather than feeling forced or compelled to just REACT to it.
The goal, or desired outcome, is to feel empowered in situations that cause you stress, preferably without needing to disempower the other person. Remember, they are dealing with their own inner struggles and childhood training, which are probably causing them to react as well.
Even when people are exploding and they seem so powerful and scary, in truth they are operating from a space that is really weak and powerless. People who are seething internally may appear controlled and intimidating, but they are actually feeling weak and powerless. People who are truly empowered, centered and grounded have no need for violence or demeaning behavior.
To become more empowered In your moments of utter frustration, anger and stress, you need to identify what’s really in control: you or your feelings? You need to insert a pause and think about what’s happening in that moment. Ask yourself:
- What is it I’m really reacting to here?
- What are my feelings in this moment?
- What is it about this particular situation that triggers me – is this a pattern?
- What do I really need or want in this situation?
Allow yourself some time to sit and think about the last time you got really angry, frustrated or stressed. As you re-experience that situation, how quickly do you feel your body tense up as you think about it now? Does your whole system move into “red alert” mode?
That’s the time to STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS! Then ask yourself:
- What is happening inside me?
- Where do my feelings resonate most intensely in my body?
- Does my tension sit in my gut?
- In my head?
- In my chest?
- In my throat?
- In my legs?
JUST BREATHE – and allow yourself to focus on your physical feelings. Where your tension tends to establish itself physically is different for everyone, and knowing the locus of your emotion is extremely helpful in releasing it.
Now breathe into your feelings. The iron-clad rule, and a great thing to PRACTICE in re-visualizing a past upset, is: DON’T DO ANYTHING while you’re in the upset reaction!
Notice how hard it is to just sit. Feel the energy coursing through you. The energy is begging for expression and now you get to decide HOW to express it!
Please realize that if you express this energy and you or someone else gets hurt (emotionally or physically) you will create guilt, and then the cycle of being out of control and powerless will be perpetuated.
Also, please remember that whatever your reactions are to anger, they’re not “bad” or “wrong” – there’s no judgment involved in looking at what makes you angry and how you react. It’s all just information you can use going forward. Know that you could only learn what you observed in your family, and get good at whatever helped you survive the moments where anger was present. We all need to understand the energetic effects of anger in order to neutralize them – something I’ll cover in the next article.
If you are starting to see that the anger management strategy you’ve been using isn’t working very well for you, I have good news: You can unlearn the old one, and master a new, different one that works much better.
Be sure to “tune in” next week, and till then – be sure to BREATHE!
For a great in-depth conversation about this topic, join us on November 13th for our complimentary teleseminar with special guest Janet Pfeiffer, the host of the “Anger 911” radio program. She’ll be teaching us about “Family, Holidays and Mindfulness.” Click HERE to register so you can get the call-in information and access to the 48-hour replay afterwards.