Anger, Part 3

“Always be kind, because everyone we meet may be struggling with something we know nothing about.” – Author not specified

In parts 1 and 2 you may have read about anger, its nature and its sources.

Now, a few words about what can fuel anger so that it does real damage.

A great deal of study has been done about what makes anger so potent and so damaging. Humiliation is a major reason that people become consumed by rage to the point that they inflict harm on others and on themselves. And the rage is more explosive if the humiliation occurs in front of other people.

In my fourteen years as therapist and program director at a treatment center for teens, I have seen this proven over and over. In our regular trainings, one principle that was always emphasized is that, when we needed to correct one of the kids, we would do it in private. It was clear that a troubled child or teen would always be more likely to cooperate and accept consequences for bad behavior if we respected their privacy, and did not embarrass them in front of their peers.

Another bit of fuel for anger is our tendency to think of other people as not really people with feelings. Here’s an example. Suppose you’re driving your car, and you feel the car behind you bump into your rear bumper, with a bit of a jolt. You’re startled, you look in the rear view mirror, and you see the face of a stranger. You get out, walk around to look for damage and, depending on the other person’s behavior and your mood, you react. Now, change the scenario. Same incident, but this time in your rear view mirror you see the face of a friend. You get out and your entire demeanor is different. You’re much less likely to be irritated, and more likely to care about whether your friend is okay. Clearly, when we identify the other person as having some connection with us, a trusted person, a person whose feelings we can understand, we’re less likely to become angry. Strangers, on the other hand, are an unknown quantity. We don’t relate to them on the same level.

When you find yourself irritated by another person’s behavior, you can remember that it’s easier to let go of anger, when you view the other person as a real human being with feelings and who may have a painful history.

If you struggle with anger, please understand. It’s not necessary to go through life that way. Help is available. I’m open to a free consultation if you call 219-309-3928.

Thanks for reading!