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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Anger Can Have Positive Results

Use anger correctly and positive results can happen! This statement is very shocking, for it is in direct contradiction with experience. Most people have witnessed the sharp and cutting blade of anger as it slashes and cuts its victims and have experienced the unresolved anger that creates emotional distance be-tween themselves and their loved ones.

It is natural to experience anger, but how can it achieve positive results? When anger destroys a relationship, it was not used correctly. When the ex-pression of anger works in a positive direction, it clarifies to others the bounda-ries necessary for all successful and healthy relationships.

Anger communicates a warning that a perceived violation has occurred and provides the necessary energy to do what is necessary to correct the situation. As strange as it may ap-pear, without anger there can be no successful relationships!Anger has two distinct groups; new anger and old anger. Old anger is resent-ments, unmet expectations, and past emotional wounds. Old anger is each unre-solved anger event stored inside of us that when combined with a new annoy-ance adds to the emotional pressure cooker.

Anger is energy and when this new anger is added to the boiling cauldron of unexpressed emotions, there is no place for this force to go blowing off the pot’s lid, as in the expression “blowing my lid”!. The broken shoelace may be the last bit of energy added to the anger soup already cooking that result in the inevitable explosion! The sad part is that usually the targets of anger are the people that are the closest and loved the most.Anger that is verbally expressed when it occurs, somehow does not add to the stockpile of old anger, and therefore loses its explosion potential.

This is a simple rule of successful living. Appropriately expressing the anger as soon as possible keeps this anger energy from winding up in our internal “anger pots”. What is the best method of appropriately expressing this powerful emo-tion? A very simple, yet effective method of decreasing this energy is by actually saying the feeling word such as “mad”, “angry”, “frustrated”, etc. In order for these words to release the energy, say them aloud. This verbal expression of emotions allows the person to connect with the energy behind the feeling, result-ing in a decrease in the intensity of the situation.

If the relationship is important, then the direct expression of the anger toward that person is necessary for main-taining a healthily relationship. Other people need to know what the anger is about; for not many are mind readers!When people use anger to build relationships, each person has a clear under-standing of the other’s needs and boundaries. The expression of anger can be in normal conversational and even in a polite tone of voice; shouting, hitting, or the silent treatment is not confronting the anger in a healthy and successful manner.

A simple but effective method of confronting others in a non-threatening method is the “See-Feel-Need’ method. Confront the person who is the recipient of the anger using this simple model: “I see what happened… (describing the event)” “this is how this made me feel…(use real feeling words, such as anger, hurt, etc) ” and “I need this from you…”(How can resolution ever begin until the anger person identifies what is needed for solution?)Since becoming aware of individual anger is the key to this discussion, take personal responsibility for your anger by using “I” statements. Use “I” statements instead of the attacking the person by pointing the verbal “you” finger; this puts the responsibility back where really belongs, on the person doing the confronting. Ask the question, whose problem is it? The answer is that it belongs to the per-son who is angry. Think about it this was, the person who is causing the anger might not even be aware of how their behavior is affection others and may even be surprised when confronted.

Take personal responsibility for the problem by using the non-threatening “I” statements, as in “I have got a problem”. Then use the “See-Feel-Need” method for asking for what you need.

This “See-Feel-Need” system increases assertive-ness in a style that is non-threatening. Attack the problem, not the person!The last part of this little equation is this… “ask for what you want, be thankful for what you get, and then in a non-destructive methods to negotiate the differ-ence”.

Try to develop an attitude of allowing what others also need, commonly called a “win-win” situation.Personally deal with old anger by being willing to bring up wounds from the past with any associated pain but most importantly take responsibility for the emotion, don’t blame but talk about the situation. Grieving may be a necessary part of the healing process. The key is to examine the wounds of yesterday and their associated feelings then allow them to heal in the present time. Acknowl-edge the old anger, examine it, learn from the experience, and when that is com-pleted the anger is not needed, so let it go.Many self-help groups are safe places to express anger, pain, and shame.

If the anger is overwhelming and /or depression has occurred, a good starting place is a professional counselor. A trained mental health therapist can assist in unlocking the old anger and associated shame. By choosing to use anger correctly allows the freedom to live today without the burden of yesterday. These few simple but very difficult steps will allow anger to work as nature designated, building not destroying relationships. Managing anger requires willingness to manage this emotion, direct expression of anger toward the correct person, and most importantly, the verbal expressing of the ac-tual feeling words. Although this is a simple plan, it is not easy. Use anger cor-rectly and positive results will happen.