What To Do When You Get Angry

Jul 24, 2020


Hi, this Linda Frazee at Authentic Wisdom.

For the last 40 years I have been working with people to successfully manage their emotions. That is a key concept of effective living in work and relationships. Today I want to talk to you about what to do when you get angry.

Everyone gets angry sometimes. Some people get angry often. So what is the best thing to do when you get angry?

Let’s start at the beginning. If your family of origin was healthy, anger was treated as one of many natural emotions that everyone has. As a child you would have been encouraged to express your anger in a non-disruptive way, release it and move on. If your family of origin was dysfunctional, your parents got mad at you for being angry, you might have been punished or just knew not to express your anger and even let anyone know you felt irritated. In that case, you learned to swallow your anger or displace those feelings on something or someone else.

How your parents handled their anger is another major factor. If one or both of your parents had anger management problems you may have unconsciously decided NEVER to be like that yourself. Or, you may have modeled their behavior and have a tendency to overreact in the same way they did. 

There is also a genetic connection to how you deal with conflict and anger. The Enneagram, which is a system of self-understanding, is excellent at revealing your blind spots in your relationship with anger. Not only can you learn how to recognize reactive feelings and manage them, but how to dilute them.

So, how you deal with your anger is a highly individual aspect of your personality and what you learned at the knees of your caretakers. Anger is not a bad energy if it is not destructive to you or others. It often carries a message with it's arrival. The energy of anger can also be channeled into motivation and help you achieve your goals.

What is the best thing for you to do now with anger? The first thing is to take responsibility for your own anger without judgement or shaming yourself. Even though things happen in your external world, how you react to them is up to you. And that is forever, not just what is going on currently in the world, but for the rest of your life. So the most important part of handling your own feelings effectively is owning them and not blaming someone else or a circumstance for how you feel.

For instance, you expected to be promoted at work, but your co-worker was given the position you hoped to receive. You feel disappointed and really angry! Your choices are to go yell at your boss, make your co-worker wrong for getting the position you wanted, quitting the job, or displacing all those feelings on other drivers on the way home or on those you live with when you get home. Rather than acting out in any of those typical ways, there are other less destructive choices. Whenever possible, express your anger in a safe place by yourself. While you are driving home by yourself, express verbally what was not appropriate to say out loud at the office. Be safe while you are driving though!

When you get home, sit down and write out all the things you are irritated and frustrated with. How this is unfair and all the rest, and just absolutely get it all out. Don't worry about penmanship. Don't worry about spelling. Don't worry about mistakes. Just get it all out and then either shred it or tear it up a little pieces, or shred it, or burn it. 

If you are furious, walk or run that angry energy off. Take a ball and throw it, against the outside wall of your house or a nearby tennis court. Go to a batting cage and hit balls or a driving range and hit golf balls! If none of that is available, beat your fists on a pillow, mattress or couch cushion.

This might seem extreme but the important thing to know and remember about anger is that it is a natural feeling you will have all your life and it is for you to recognize, manage and express to others in a rational manner. It doesn’t work to express anger verbally or physically to others while you are out of control.

There is an old cartoon when the husband is angry at his boss but doesn’t express it for fear of being fired. He comes home and over reacts with anger at his wife, she reacts by getting angry at her son who reacts by kicking the dog! That is a simple example of displacing anger.

Beware of drinking, eating, or using drugs, excessive tv or internet activities to numb the feelings away. That is just another form or stuffing, swallowing or ignoring your feelings!

Of course, there are times when you are going to disagree with others and feel angry. However, the calmer you are when you express yourself the more likely you will be heard. If you are yelling and shouting at others, all they get is your energy and no words will land.

On the other end of the spectrum is someone who has learned to bury their anger so deeply they don’t even know they have it. What happens then? Maybe you find yourself snapping at people around you or overreacting at small irritations or mistakes. If not expressing your anger becomes a lifetime habit, you can ultimately get sick. At first it might just be a cold or the flu, but eventually that energy inside becomes destructive and your immune system begins to break down. That opens the door to more serious diseases.

If you don’t ever feel your anger, notice how your body is feeling. Typical signs of anger being held in the body are a sore jaw, tight shoulders and stiff neck. Becoming aware of how and where you hold anger in your body is the first step to finding a way to release it. If you find yourself angry at someone but can’t get yourself to say anything, begin a new practice of simply saying, I’m too upset to talk about this right now. I will talk to you later! If you can’t get those words out, write them down and give the note to the appropriate person. When you have calmed down, follow up with a conversation.

In conclusion, the best thing to do is to know your body and emotional self well enough that you can catch the beginning of anger and deal with it while it is small. Deep breathing helps. Getting a massage is an excellent way to release tension and anger. Regular prayer and or meditation can dissolve anxiety, fear and anger on a daily basis. Exercise and grounding physical exercises of all kinds can balance you emotionally.

Anger is not just something that jumps on you from the outside. It is a rising energy from inside you that gets triggered. It is your lifetime job to recognize it, understand the message it is sending you, and manage it effectively.

For more information about being more emotionally balanced and how your Enneagram type and blind spots are involved in your expression of anger, check out my website at www.LindaFrazee.com.


Linda Frazee,

Intuitive Coach for what comes next!


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