I use the term “anger management” because it is a familiar phrase used in our culture. Secretly, I don’t really care for this term. Managing anything reminds me of trying to herd cats – um, truly frustrating. When I work with people that have anger issues, it really is about understanding the anger. (cue the “getting to know you” tune from Sound of Music) Often, people that come to me seeking anger management are truly filled with many feelings other than anger that they don’t know how to express. Anger has been the easiest or quickest way to alleviate the inside tension. But anger is complex and needs more than management. It needs attention, care, nurturing, healthy expression and healing. Anger when addressed properly can be a pathway into a better understanding of ones self. Here are some signs that you may need help with addressing your anger:
• Your work is being impacted – others at work may have told you that you are “hot headed” and you need to keep your cool. Maybe you have been fired or walked away from a job in the heat of the moment. Some find it hard to focus and are consumed with their frustration at their job, to the point that they don’t get their work done, alienate themselves or others, and even resort to intimidating those around them.
• Your relationships are chaotic – maybe you get into fights with your partner – this can be verbal (yelling, intimidation, cursing), physical (hitting, pushing, slapping) or emotional (put downs, hurtful sarcasm) Either way, you take your frustrations out on your partner.
• You get physical – now this isn’t everyone but some people do physically express their anger in an unhealthy way – hitting others, hurting themselves (burning, scarring) or lashing out towards things (punching holes in walls).
• You feel out of control – even if people don’t notice your anger, if you feel like you are on edge and just about to “lose it” then that is something that deserves attention.
Don’t wait until things are so out of control – get help now! You don’t have to struggle and try to control your anger alone. Counseling can bring understanding and growth.