Tag Archives: Anger

How to Solve Problems Without Fighting

Raiva-Ager-Icon
Image via Wikipedia

I have a fiery emotional nature, so I tend to blow up instantly when I am angry. Fortunately, I don’t get angry often any more because I’ve put a lot of dedication into resolving my anger issues. And I mean fortunately for myself as well as others, because I used to feel terrible after an angry outburst; guilty because I made the other person feel bad, and sad because I was still angry.

I’m going to share something about fighting that I learned in grad school. It’s so simple, I wondered why I hadn’t figured it out myself – but that’s what school is for. This technique alone was worth the money I spent for my education.

Even though the process is simple it’s not so easy, because you have to let go of your ego to make it work. So here goes.

There are three steps to successful outcomes with touchy subjects:

1. Diffuse your anger

2. Talk calmly about the situation

3. Talk about yourself, not the other person.

In my experience, there are two scenarios in which an argument can occur. One is in the moment when an irritating incident occurs and the other is some time after the  incident, in which case anger has been simmering on the back burner for a while.

If you get angry in the moment, tell the other person you need to leave and will talk about this later. Then do something to diffuse your anger. If you’re angry about something that happened in the past, tell the person you’d like to talk. Make sure you are feeling calm.

For example, say your husband leaves his towels on the bathroom floor every time he takes a shower. You have spoken to him about this before (probably not so nicely) and you are angry about it.

The first thing to do is dissipate your anger energy. Screaming into your pillow, going for a run or to the gym, beating up your mattress, breathing deeply, or counting to 100 are all effective techniques. Just say nothing to your husband until the rage is gone. Then calmly state that you would like to talk to him about something and ask if this is a good time.

If it’s not a good time for him, set a time that will work for both of you. Wait respectfully until the appointment. No pouting, etc. At the appropriate time, tell him what you want to talk about. Calmly let him know how you feel when you find towels on the bathroom floor. For example, maybe you do your best to keep the house tidy and, when you trip over towels in the bathroom, you feel defeated, or like no one cares, or unappreciated. Whatever is true for you.

Do not accuse him. The basic language is, “When you do/say this, it makes me feel this way.” Now you are talking about yourself. It neutralizes the fight-or-flight energy of anger and opens up space for discussion. And it puts you in the driver’s seat in your own life when you are authentic about your feelings. You don’t have to resort to drama (pouting, yelling, shutting down, etc.) to make yourself heard.

I remember practicing this with a lovely man I was living with. I was really frustrated with him, but I didn’t want to be the old me and attack him. I decided to take responsibility for myself and try to work out some way we could both be winners.

He was remodeling the kitchen, and we had been without a sink for weeks. We washed dishes in the laundry room, and I used the kitchen table for preparing meals (no kitchen counter, either). I had asked him many times when he thought we could get a sink, and his answer was always about having the time.

At the end of my rope one day, I asked him again. Same old answer. I had been thinking about this for a long time, and I had a solution. I told him I had decided to do something about this that I could control; something to keep myself from going crazy. I could see that he was getting ready for a confrontation. Instead, I calmly said, “I’m not going to cook any more. We can eat sandwiches; it will be easier.”

The next weekend we bought a kitchen sink. He had it installed within days, including the new kitchen counter.

It felt so good to let go of anger and be myself throughout this process. And it opened up more space for loving in our relationship. When you are genuine, the other person is more likely to be genuine, as well. Anger makes people feel threatened, and they automatically take a defensive stand when confronted.

What if the other person doesn’t want to discuss the matter, but resorts to their own anger drama instead? Stay calm and end the conversation in a civil manner, such as, “I hoped we could talk about this. Maybe another time.” If you feel angry, take the time to dissipate the energy and let the incident go.

The key is that you are taking charge of your life by changing the only person you can – yourself. The other person may eventually take a cue from you and decide to open up. You can’t change anyone, but it only takes one person to create a safe space for change.

Live your purpose every day.

9 Ways to Handle Your Anger

Angry Penguin
Image via Wikipedia

Being an ex-Rage Queen, I have learned many ways to handle anger when it arises. I thought it would be helpful if I shared them with you, just in case you should ever become angry. Heh-heh.

1.         Own your anger. Take responsibility for it. Understand that, even if your feelings are justified, your aggressive, snide, abusive, or sarcastic reaction is not.

2.         Forgive yourself. Recognize that your anger is bringing forward some of the most valuable lessons you will ever learn, and you have an opportunity to earn your “A”. You can  grade yourself if you want to. Don’t kick yourself if you get an “F”. Just keep plugging for the “A”.

3.         If you must, hit something – not someone. Sometimes people need to channel  anger energy aggressively. Hit your mattress, pillows, or a punching bag.

4.         Instead of yelling at the object of your anger, scream into a pillow until your anger subsides.

5.         Take ten deep breaths before reacting. Here’s a special technique you can use. Inhale deeply into the bottom of your lungs either through your mouth or your nose. Your stomach will rise and you will feel the air filling your lungs all the way to the top. Do not hold your breath or control your exhale or push the air out. Let your breath out naturally. It will come out almost like a sigh. Without a pause, inhale again. This is called circular breathing, and it heals physically, mentally, and emotionally.

If you are doing this breath through your mouth, don’t take more than ten breaths. This is a therapeutic breath, and you might start activating deeper emotions which, in itself, is a good thing. But you would want a professional Transformational Breath facilitator to guide you through to resolution. Breathing in and out through the nose does not cause activation, and you can use this same process breathing normally whenever you are stressed.

6.         Do something physical; go for a walk, work out, ride your bike, clean your house. You get the picture.

7.         Cry till it doesn’t hurt any more.

8.         Sing the blues – literally. Make up the words and the tune or sing your favorite blues song. Vocalizing gets the energy out.

9.         Replay. If you lose control, apologize for that and leave the area. Then visualize yourself handling the situation calmly so that your needs are met. You can do this for past occurrences, as well. Practice makes perfect.

Obviously, you will do these before you react to the object of your anger. There is no rule that says you have to immediately handle what just happened. Leave the area and take care of yourself first. After you have diffused the energy, you can speak your mind calmly.

One more thing; if you are being physically abused (hit, slapped, thrown around) get out. That’s it. Out.

There’s nothing new in this list, except maybe Number 5, and you don’t have to do it that way. Regular deep breaths are also effective, as we all know. These techniques have been around forever because they work.

Seek counseling if you find that practicing these techniques is not having the effect of reducing your anger levels or the frequency of angry reactions.

Please share your experience with handling anger by leaving a comment. Other readers will be grateful learn from you.

Live your purpose every day.

How to Use Your Anger

Angry Sphynx
Image via Wikipedia

Anger is a good thing. It is the alarm bell within that tells you something is wrong. Anger ‘s role in life is to help us maintain and protect our selfness. It tells us that someone or something is encroaching on our boundaries. The trick with anger is to know how to use it for your benefit.

I think of anger as my friend. It has not always been so. From petty annoyances to temper tantrums, I know the full range of the anger spectrum. I was the Rage Queen, erupting as the overwhelming tide of anger swept me away, out of control, feeling powerless and vulnerable.

I used to think it was someone or something else that made me angry, unaware that the anger was about me. I played the blame game to the hilt, repeating the same patterns over and over until the awareness of how bad anger felt made me seek help.

I have had wonderful teachers, mentors, and loved ones who have taught me so much about anger. They have been mirrors for me, examples to emulate, and compassionate healers.

It wasn’t easy to face the emotions that were holding me in anger. Gradually I was able to develop the compassion and self respect that enabled me to look inside with love and appreciation, and I was able to take the steps toward healing.

I learned that my anger is a sign that something inside me is out of balance. As I learned to admit how sad I felt, how helpless, how hurt, I realized my anger was a shield I used to hide my vulnerability from myself and from the world.

Resolution of anger issues is different from anger management. Anger management strategies are certainly important; still, they don’t seem to create resolution of the issue(s) that bring anger out. They seem to focus on control, which is constructive but, without resolution, tend to encourage emotional repression, which creates more anger, which leads to more repression, and the circle goes around and around.

Here are a couple of definitions of anger management, one by the Mayo Clinic staff, along with ten great tips for handling anger that everyone can use (I encourage you to read it), and this one by Normal Shultz, Research Assistant, Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado. What is your opinion?

Anger is a normal part of life. Learning to resolve it enables you to have better health, better relationships, and more of what you want. By using anger management and resolution together, you can gradually whittle your anger down to nothing. How would that change your life?

While I experience annoyance and irritation from time to time, I am no longer the Rage Queen. I use anger management strategies, and I take steps to resolve the issues behind the anger by asking myself questions like, “What is it in me that brings this forward? What am I telling myself right now?” I am happier, and so are those around me.

What are your thoughts about this? What is your experience with anger? How do you handle it?

Anger Non-Management or It’s Pointless to Manage Your Anger

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Image via Wikipedia

It is possible to allow anger to be a useful tool in your life by using Anger Resolution rather than Anger Management. Anger can serve you if you know how to use it.

In numerology, anger is a symptom of a challenge. Your challenges are clearly defined in your Chaldean Soul Chart and are considered opportunities for self-mastery. If you resolve a challenge, you have a Master’s Degree in Challenge Resolution and have exponentially increased your level of Inner Peace.

But more about that later. Read the story now.

Long ago in a land far away, there was a world full of challenges. Nothing but challenges. Yet the people were happy . They laughed at their challenges. They rolled on the floor laughing at each other’s challenges. When someone tried to push their buttons, they couldn’t resist falling down laughing.

Life was hilarious. Even the corniest of jokes was funny. There was music everywhere, colors were brilliant and beautiful, work was fun, and production went nowhere but up. Prosperity ruled.

But then one day someone came along and changed all that. It was the Ogre of Seriousness. He pointed out how foolish everyone looked laughing at everything. He accused them of frivolity. He called them stupid.

The people were frightened. They began to doubt themselves. Pretty soon Life began to change. There was no more music, no more singing or joking, and things got pretty quiet when everyone decided that what they had to say was stupid.

Production shrank, deadlines were not met. Even the weather changed – gloomy every day. The people developed illnesses of every kind, and Life was hard. Babies cried all the time, dogs snarled, and cats yowled war cries every night.

Life was real and it was earnest. It was No Fun. Croissants turned to ashes in the mouth, you couldn’t find a fresh vegetable anywhere, and meat was covered with green slime.

The people became angry. They fought with each other constantly. No one had a good word for themselves or anyone else. The good words were gone – stolen by the Ogre while the people slept.

If, as it happened once in a blue moon, someone found a good word lying around due to the Ogre’s carelessness, they grabbed it up and hid it, since the Ogre had outlawed good words of every kind. People started to surreptitiously share these precious words. They began meeting in secret and whispering about the old days when everyone was happy.

Gradually their numbers began to grow, and they rose up against the Ogre of Seriousness. They fell upon his house, breaking down the door and surprising him in his bed early one morning. They surrounded him and began to laugh. They hooted, howled, guffawed, and hee-hawed; they fell on the floor laughing.

The Ogre was stunned. He was shocked. He began to smile; a strange experience, but not terrible. Then he began to chuckle, his eyes dancing in puzzlement. Soon he was powerless to resist the joy in the room and began laughing so hard, he fell out of bed. This created an even more raucous response from the people, who now rose up from the floor and began jumping up and down.

They were overcome with laughter and joy. They had their Lives back. They reached down and picked up the hysterically laughing Ogre. They put him up on their shoulders, carried him out of the house, and paraded him to the Town Square.

The Ogre was so overcome with joy and amazement, he forgot how to be angry. He enthusiastically glad-handed, back-slapped, and joked with the people. When the ruckus finally died down, he stood on the steps of the Town Hall and declared himself humbled and thanked the people for saving his life, for he had noticed a great change in himself. The constant aches and pains in his joints were beginning to disappear, the pounding in his head was subsiding, and he was free of heartburn for the first time in 20 years.

He asked the people to wait where they were; he had a surprise for them. With that, he entered the town hall and emerged a few minutes later with the biggest, fattest sack they had ever seen.

When the Ogre (who was now the Ogre of Joy) untied the string around the top, out floated all the good words he had stolen. They rose high into the air and exploded like the most beautiful fireworks in the world, and the now sparkling fragments floated down and caressed everyone, covering them with contentment.

And they lived happily ever after.

Definition of challenge,  Dictionary.com:

1. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.

2. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.: Space exploration offers a challenge to humankind.

3. a call to fight, as a battle, a duel, etc.

4. a demand to explain, justify, etc.: a challenge to the treasurer to itemize expenditures.

5. difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.

Definition of challenge, Numerology:

1. a recurring issue that annoys, enrages, or generally frustrates you

2. a life lesson that serves as a call to increase love and understanding of yourself and others

3. an opportunity for spiritual growth, no fighting necessary

4. a summons to look inside where the truth of the matter resides

5. a difficulty, the resolving of which leads to inner peace

As a psychotherapist, I believe all of us can master our challenges. I suspect many of my colleagues in the field of mental health would disagree.

Numerology has shown me that we chose particular challenges to bring with us to Planet Earth. Having chosen them, we must have the power to resolve them; to gradually whittle them down to nothing, leaving more room for our true natures to flourish.

Have you found ways to use your anger for good outcomes? What are your tips?