Anger Management Counselling
Anger is a normal human emotion. Does that surprise you? It is something we all feel at times. It's accompanied by biological changes in your body, your heart rate and blood pressure rising and stress hormones being released. Mild anger can sometimes be useful to express strong feelings and deal with situations. Strong anger can cause you to shake, become hot and sweaty and feel out of control.
Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of hand or becomes uncontrollable. This kind of extreme anger can create all sorts of problems with other people. It can affect your work, your health, day-to-day living or even bring you into contact with the law. Some signs that anger is a problem include:
- you are verbally, physically or emotionally abusive
- your anger is wreaking havoc with your relationships
- your anger feels out of control
- you feel scared by the physical symptoms of your anger (such as heart palpitations)
- other people are frightened, hurt or feel they cannot talk to you or disagree with you for fear you will become angry
- you feel that cannot get what you want unless you get angry
Anger almost always masks more vulnerable feelings and emotions such as fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, helplessness, or grief. Anger acts as a means to cover up the pain of our "core hurts." These key, deeply distressing emotions include feeling ignored, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, unlovable, or even unfit for human contact. So anger is way that a person can ‘self soothe’ by regulating these strong and often quite unbearable emotions underneath.
People who get angry a lot, particularly in relationships, almost always have an internal program of needing to protect themselves and control situations and/or their partners because they feel not good enough. Unfortunately, even though anger may help you feel temporarily in control, it ends up controlling you. The ultimate effect of anger is to move you in the opposite direction from the outcomes you want, distancing you from your partner and from other people.
To understand how anger works we can look at the example of ‘road rage’. When someone cuts us off in traffic, most people’s immediate reaction to such an event is anger. Why is this? Obviously it is because there is the very real threat of an accident, and in the fraction of a second before acting successfully to avert a collision, their emotion must certainly have been one of apprehension or fear.
For some people the emotion could have been much more intense – it could have been rage. Rage is a more potent or desperate form of anger. Rage is created to fend off an even more serious threat to one's sense of personal safety whether the threat be mental, physical or emotional. In this example the threat is to one’s personal safety, and elsewhere in life the threat may be to one’s ego and to one’s sense of self.
Anger is also physiologically useful. During anger the brain secretes the hormones norepinephrine, which acts as an analgesic. When a person is confronted with physical or psychological pain (or the threat of such pain), the anger response will precipitate the release of norepinephrine which numbs that pain. So, in essence, anger is a double-edged sword: while terribly detrimental to relationships, it is nonetheless crucial in enabling people who are vulnerable to emotionally survive the painful situation.
How Anger Management Counselling Helps
If you feel angry a lot of the time, there may be underlying reasons that you are unaware of. With a counsellor you will be able to find out what these reasons are. Through understanding, exploring and finally healing these deeper reasons you can change not just the surface tendency to anger but become more self-accepting and at peace on a much deeper level.
As we have seen, imagining that anger is simply a character trait or something that needs to be ‘managed’ is superficial and inaccurate. Anger management counselling can help you find out what’s really going on for you when you are angry and what lies beneath the surface feeling. To simply carry on and be angry all the time takes up a lot of energy as well as pushing people away from you. In the short-term it may seem to serve you well, protecting you and making you feel safer and even calmer. But the cost is very high and the road of anger leads ultimately to aloneness.
If anger is wreaking havoc in your life or destroying your relationships, please get in touch. One of our skilled anger management counsellors can help you explore and express how you feel and then find the deeper driving forces and emotions beneath the patterns of anger.
In anger management counselling you won’t be judged for your anger. You will find the safety and support to be vulnerable and open about yourself, discover unmet needs or emotional disturbances and heal them at the root. Counselling for anger can bring you out of isolation, alienation, feeling no one understands, or feeling bad or wrong. It will help you move into a new sense of inner safety so that you become able to react and respond in much more positive ways to life and to other people.