Most of us do not like anger, especially someone else's, when it lashes out, knifes us in the back, judges us, or damages our relationships.
Anger can be used against another (disrespect) or against oneself (leading to depression and/or apathy). Either way, anger is negative when it is used destructively. Results: Bitterness, resentment, animosity, depression, apathy, the "silent-treatment," fighting and abuse (to name a
few). These contribute to the downward spiral of relationships, health issues (including heart attacks and strokes), anxiety and more. This form of anger is destructive to what we love. Most
people try to control or manage anger.
But anger is positive when we use it to make needed changes. Then it is called "courage." The courage to change how we are functioning, change our jobs or get more education, become honest with ourselves and others, risk for the sake of improving relationships, change our unhelpful expectations, set better/healthier boundaries, etc. Anger can get us un-stuck, motivate us out of depression, initiate powerful movements, add colour to life, and far more. In other words, this use of anger results in positive changes.
The only difference is that when anger is destructive to relationships we usually believe others "make" us angry, and when we realise that we are responsible for our own emotions it becomes a positive force, leading to positive changes. When anger depresses us we do the opposite: we blame ourselves rather than hold ourselves and others responsible for relationships.
(Blame is taking emotional responsibility for others; not only is this impossible, it is destructive to both the relationship and the one being blamed.)
Have no doubt: all anger can be harnessed to bring about positive, life-changing, liberating changes. Indeed, anger is the emotion that has birthed the world's best changes.
How can I make anger positive in relationships? Three steps:
How can I turn depression into joy? Five steps:
It is very difficult to accomplish these five steps on one's own. Do seek the participation of someone whom you trust, respect and appreciate, whether it be marriage counselling, couples counselling, family or individual therapy. Your anger can get help. It will make all the difference!
This employee likely felt frustrated (= powerless) and/or ashamed, stupid, or inadequate. He may be suffering from a false belief that the computer is deliberately doing something to anger him, that he is a "victim." Sad, especially for him. He can do far better with his anger.
Most anger comes from fear. Fears such as the primary fears of failure, embarrassment, loss, disrespect, blame, rejection, inadequacy, injury/death, frustration/powerlessness and many more can all lead to anger. (See the complete list of these primary emotions in the downloadable PDF file below.) If we do not acknowledge these "primary" emotions then we will take them to the "secondary" emotion of anger. Why? Because anger is a powerful emotion, and it can alleviate one's underlying fears. If done destructively (see above) then relationships and self-esteem suffer. If done constructively then the primary emotions are handled appropriately.
Those primary emotions often come out of unrealistic expectations that were disappointed. After getting angry (and settling down) take stock of your own expectations. What did you really expect? If you are being honest and self-aware you may be surprised to learn what you really did expect in that situation! This is one of the hardest steps, and often requires a capable assistant in order to unearth most of one's own expectations. If you got really angry expect to find at least 6-8 expectations, and up to 100% of them to be unrealistic!
If your expectations were realistic, then anger can be used positively (through respectful courage) to bring about needed changes.
A part of our brain that has the first dibs on all the incoming information is called the Amygdala. This is our gate-keeper, trying to keep us connected (in relationship) but also safe. If it fears danger (of any kind, including rejection, disrespect, etc.) it reacts. It can flood the body with chemicals that make a person strong (a mother lifting a car off of her child, or a man beating back several people at a time), go into a rage, freeze, and more. It can take over the entire brain function. Thankfully the Amygdala can be retrained, one of the tasks of therapy, so that one has more self-control and a more satisfying life.
For high quality relationships and a life truly worth living.
Don't put it off any longer.
Click this link to Ian's profile on the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors website