PREVIOUS: Anger Myths – F (#1)
SITE: “Why we shout in anger” – a Hindu teaching
⚡️is an uncontrollable force of nature, & so can’t be reigned in
False: Many people believe that once they’re angry they can’t influence it (“I can’t control my anger – it’s just who I am”) & therefore have to let it ‘run its course’. Not so. While we don’t always have control of an external situation, no one can make us FEEL or BEHAVE in a certain way. Anyone can learn to be in charge of their reaction – via the Healthy Adult. It’s a skill set, like shooting a basketball or learning a new language. Practice, practice, practice!
⚡️is something that happens to us
False: Anger, as well as all other emotions, are our biochemical responses to events & then may or may not be expressed as actions. Sometimes it feels like a physical ‘event’ that’s out of our control – because it’s erupting from the unconscious, like a lightning strike. However, it is in fact something coming from us, rather than happening to us – triggered by our thoughts – inside (about ourselves) or from outside re. PPT (about others)
⚡️is only a problem when expressed (at all)
False: Only about 10% of people act out their anger inappropriately, & they are the visible ones – the squeaky wheels who get everyone’s attention.
Almost everyone else either suppresses it (“I don’t want to talk about it!”) or represses it altogether (“I’m not angry – really!”). Both groups need anger management classes just as much as the ‘ragers’.
⚡️always leads to aggression / some form of violence
False: It may seem to be true if we were raised with one or more rage-aholics, & if we then also have chosen to stay with ragers as adults.
BUT healthy people have learned productive ways of processing & channeling their anger, so it never leads to being self-destructive or abusive to others.
Of course, chemicals (alcohol/ drugs/ some medicines, even food allergies…) can generate anger & set off a compulsion to be nasty, either because the cognitive brain isn’t in charge OR if we haven’t learned to recognize the symptoms of rage or how to handle them
⚡️increases as we get older
False: It’s the other way around – as people age, they report fewer difficult/ painful / intense emotions, & greater emotional control. People – like wine & cheese – do tend to improve with age. Research shows that the angriest people are 14 yrs old boys! EXCEPTION : We’ve all seen or heard of crabby / nasty old men & women, but they’re always been that way
⚡️ is not a ‘problem‘ for someone IF we don’t sound / look angry
False: Anyone who does not understand & appreciate the potential value of anger may have a problem. There are ways to tell if someone has hidden anger/rage, even when they don’t admit to it – by holding themselves stiffly, always being fearful, being overly nice, being paranoid, jealous, controlling…. (see posts: “Passive-aggressive anger” // Secretly angry ‘nice people’)
⚡️is best dealt with by stuffing it
False: Some of us think that learning to control our anger means having to hold it in. WRONG. We need to learn how to recognize when we’re angry, & learn how best to express it. Healthy people don’t stock-pile emotions the way we had to as kids. (Post: “Low-level anger“)
⚡️ is only a ‘problem’ for certain types
False: All types of people experience anger – truck drivers, college professors, physicians, housewives, grandmothers, lawyers, policemen, career criminals, poor people, millionaires, children, the elderly, people of various colors, nationalities, and religions….. Anger is a universal emotion!
⚡️ is all about getting even
False: Getting-even-anger can be about revenge/payback, about wanting fairness, or childish tit-for-tat. But there are many other reasons for our anger, such as letting off steam over accumulated frustrations, asserting authority or independence, to deny feeling vulnerable – used to cover up fear we may not even admit to. However, the main one is to protect ourselves from abuse. (Post: “Retaliatory anger“)
NEXT: Anger MYTHS T & F (Part 1)