What is Anger Management?
Anger management, as the term suggests, refers to controlling our temper and remaining calm. While this is often appropriate, it can imply that feelings of anger are wrong and this in turn can leave us feeling ashamed about how we are feeling and hiding our emotions from ourselves and others.
Statistically, it is generally men who seek out anger management. Does this imply men feel more anger than women? Perhaps. But, there are other factors to consider such as how men were taught to express their emotions in their family of origin and in society. Amongst men, anger is seen as an acceptable emotion to express. It is often the first emotion men will resort to displaying (although not necessarily the first they feel). To this day, it is not acceptable for men to display sadness or grief, pain or humiliation in public. Men are supposed to be tough. Of course the reality is that men are no tougher than women, they just often lack an outlet for expressing themselves.
In working with anger it is important to learn to distinguish between a feeling and an action. To use an example: If I am driving along in my car and another driver makes a dangerous manoeuvre causing me to brake suddenly narrowly avoiding an accident, I am likely to experience a range of emotions from shock through to relief and then possibly anger. Anger is an appropriate emotion in this situation, however, if I then resort to forcing the other driver off the road to ‘give them a piece of my mind’ my emotion has become an action or behaviour. We are not responsible for our emotions but the mark of an adult man (and woman) is that we are responsible for our actions.
Processing anger in a safe and judgement free setting, whilst practising the difference between emotions and behaviour, can be extremely useful in learning to accept that all our feelings are acceptable and that we have choices in how we express them. Going a little deeper, once we have some control over our anger, we can start to consider why we may be getting triggered the way we are. Often anger is a mask for more painful emotions such as shame, low self esteem, grief and feeling out of control. Talking therapy can help you become more familiar with your emotional world and find strength in owning and expressing your emotions appropriately.
Read our blog on anger management here.
Get in touch with Brighton & Hove Psychotherapy today and find out more about how we can help with anger management issues.