What is Anger Management? One way that we might gain a better understanding is if we pull these two words apart : So, letâ€™s start withâ€¦What is ANGER? Anger is a human emotion which we ...
What is Anger Management?
One way that we might gain a better understanding is if we pull these two words apart :
So, letâ€™s start withâ€¦What is ANGER? Anger is a human emotion which we all experience at one time or another. There is nothing wrong with feeling ANGRY and in our workshops we are not eliminating ANGER. However, it is the expression and behaviors connected to ANGER which may cause some difficulties in our lives. ANGER usually masks other emotions - such as jealousy, disappointment, hurt, embarrassment, unfairness, fear, etc. However, we can have difficulties in expressing those emotions and thatâ€™s when expressions of anger reel in. So, our message becomes one of ANGER in which we feel the need to attack, bully, dominant, ignore or hurt instead of letting the person know how we really feel. ANGER is also a learned behavior. As children, we may have witnessed angry unhealthy behaviors from our parents, caretakers, siblings, teachers, peers and have learned that those expressions are ways to communicate our other emotions. Unhealthy behaviors such as name calling, yelling/shouting, throwing things, or acting superior are all hurtful to ourselves and relationships and need to be â€œmanagedâ€ which is the next word I would like to explain:
WHAT is MANAGEMENT as it relates to ANGER? First, we need to start the process of not only recognizing and becoming more aware of the triggers but what can we do differently when those triggers are presented. We are ultimately responsible for our own behavior, no one can MAKE us do anything that is unhealthy unless we give them the power to do so. So, MANAGEMENT means that we learn different ways of behaving and begin to practice them in our lives. MANAGEMENT also means that we need to challenge our beliefs and thoughts, for example - â€œthe person who just cut us off on the highway is doing it against me? They donâ€™t like the way Iâ€™m driving so Iâ€™m going to teach them! Who do they think they are!â€ OR â€œthe person driving that car who just cut me off is rushing their middle child to the hospital because she was bleeding from the mouth for what appeared to be no known reason and they are also stressed from caring for a dying husband (true story, by the way!)â€. We may never know the real reason but arenâ€™t there other possibilities to the way we are interpreting the situation which is affecting or causing our anger? It doesnâ€™t condone the driving behavior but we can understand it differently and perhaps not be â€œdrivenâ€ to ANGER if we changed our thinking.
There are many tools available in Anger Management. But ultimately, in order to be successful, itâ€™s the personal motivation to change, the willingness to improve relationships, the need to stay out of trouble with the law, the importance of maintaining and holding on to our jobs and the constant practice in learning new healthier behaviors which will result in whether a person has truly learnedâ€¦ ANGER MANAGEMENT.
D. Lani McElgun, M.A., LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Anger Management Specialist-II (NAMA) at Garden City Marriage & Family Therapy
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