Let’s face it, anger is a common emotion. Think of the last time you felt angry – in a car, after someone made a snippy comment, watching the news? Plenty of things can provoke that feeling. The rub is we’re not really encouraged to express it. Growing up, we may have been taught to keep it to ourselves or just ‘stop it’ when we felt we had been hard done by.
Some of us can bear a grudge forEVER. Move over Kanye and Taylor, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were facing off decades before the 2009 MTV awards.
But public spats have become rather the norm because there are so many platforms to use. Passive aggressive comments on Facebook might make the poster feel as if they have had some justice but don’t they just leave everyone else wondering who or what it’s all about? Would it not be better to be assertive and actually explain how you feel…to just that one person?
A little while ago, I was recommended a book by a friend (thank you very much, you know who you are!) Under Pressure, by Lisa Darmour was written by a parent, for parents who are trying to help their daughters with stress and anxiety. It’s a really interesting read for anyone trying to navigate their way through parenting a teen, but what she writes about ‘Healthy Conflict’ is straightforward advice for any of us looking for advice on what to do with ourselves when we’re feeling miffed.
Dr. Darmour describes how we might react in a situation where someone really has pushed the angry button.
We could take the bulldozer approach. That’s the spur- of -the -moment, 0-60 in 5 seconds, I have lost it response. Usually loaded with passion and followed with regret. It certainly gets the point across…but at what cost?
Or the ‘doormat’ – we withdraw, feel hurt and may well fester for days, weeks, years…
You’re angry but keep it to yourself. You carry on, but most probably will have a moan to a few others and maybe bring up what happened ‘in evidence’ at a later date.
You feel walked over.
Perhaps you retaliate in a playground style? Like a doormat with spikes (ouch!) AKA ‘passive aggression’. Those snippy, sarcastic responses that can make us end up feeling guilty or bad about ourselves. Not as direct or aggressive as the bulldozer, a spiky mat might withdraw, sulk or unfriend someone.
How to deal with a situation that makes you feel angry?According to Darmour, choose the ‘pillar’ response. Assertively explaining how you feel, without having to raise your voice or stamp your feet. Letting someone know how their behaviour makes you feel. Maybe that person had not realised? Either way, you are giving both sides the opportunity for a bit of reflection.
Take some time to think about what’s happened and whether a response is actually required.
Try to be strong and firm and non-critical.
Don’t use ammunition from the past because no one wants to be confronted with a list of alleged misdemeanours.
We all get angry from time to time, but if you feel that your anger is becoming a problem, get some advice from your GP or an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, who can help you identify the causes of anger, unhelpful thinking and behaviours and help you to develop coping strategies.