Anger is a method of control. When people feel powerless to achieve a desired outcome they can become angry.
Anger is a habit. It is addictive in the sense that the body produces stress hormones. The body overtime craves the additional stress hormones, even though they are destructive. Adrenaline is a hormone with very powerful effects on the body. Adrenaline can last for days or weeks in the system. There are others like cortisol which are released quickly and tend to dissipate more quickly in the body.
– Hormonal anger creates negative behaviors.
– Hormonal anger reduces the body’s ability to resist illness.
– Anger can result in significant blood pressure change, bone loss, severe headaches, and other stress induced illness.
Anger is a method of control. People use anger because they learned it as a way to deal with issues. In some cases that anger has been destructive (physical force) and in others it is destructive in “emotional” force. In either case anger is used as a weapon to gain control when control feels like it is being lost.
Anger becomes addictive. People once they are flooded with stress hormones find they want more, not intentionally but subconsciously more of the physiological tricks the body plays. That is anger persists as a method for dealing with any issue. Anger can take control of a person’s life.
What does it take to get back to “normal”?
1. Realization – there comes a point that the anger victim realizes that anger is not supporting them or others.
2. Understanding – after you know that anger is destructive is creating a plan to manage anger or change the “habit”.
3. Action plan – interrupting anger before it controls the situation (becomes destructive for everyone)
4. Management - anger just doesn’t go away it needs constant attention – practice to create long term desired results.
What do you do?
1. Stop: recognize the event, the stress. Write it down. What is triggering the event.
2. Shift: move the thought from the subconscious region to the conscious region of the brain – make yourself aware. Respond, is it a “threat”? What is it then? What choice do I want to make?
3. Reframe – Find a neutral territory for your thoughts by creating a positive thought – return to a positive experience.
4. Respond – give yourself time to defuse the emotions and respond
Notice what happens when you take time to rehearse the steps above.
1. Bring back a painful event (anger induced)
2. Notice your thoughts, feel the sensations the body is producing
3. Shift back to calmness, what did you tell yourself? What returned you to calmness?
4. Emotion check, which feeling is more supportive and desirable for you?
When people get angry they are trying to get control of something they believe they don’t have control over. Anger provides the illusion of control but repeated time after time becomes ineffective (may cause rage) or becomes destructive (the result becomes too negative – relationships undergo too much stress and fail).
Facing chronic anger
When you come face-to-face with chronic anger what do you do?
1. Stay calm in the midst of the storm (easier said than done).
2. It is not about you, it is about the other persons need for control.
3. Reframe and respond (calm response … may diffuse, but also may provoke – the anger is intended to provoke the “see I am right … I am right”.
Here you are dealing with issues of negative self-esteem and anger as a method to control others. The thought is “How else can I get my way, compromise no way that would make me feel even worse.”
4. Acknowledge the feelings, “it is understandable that you’d be angry … this issue is important to you.”
5. Move to neutral ground. What would take the emotion out?
How can this argument be moved to neutral ground? Where is neutral ground?
Intervene by saying, “I would like to take this to neutral ground. What would neutral ground look like to you?” Neutral ground is the place where there is no right or wrong, and no judgment. What is neutral ground should be agreed upon prior to getting provoked in an argument.
What can you do to manage your anger?