Lately, I have spoken with several people who are struggling with their anger. Some of it is part of ongoing issues, and some of it is the result of the shutdown. Whatever the reason, numerous people are noticing their anger and that of people they love increasing in destructive ways. Here are a few things to think about when anger starts to grow.
- Evaluate your background. I deal with people who are living out the behaviors they learned from a parent growing up. Dad always yelled and was mad when he came home. Mom and dad both were filled with hatred and a mean spirit, and you think that is how communication takes place. Examine your models for relationships and communication.
- Look for the root cause. This one is the trickiest. Many people are carrying baggage from experiences that happened years and even decades before this event. It could be from a friend who betrayed you to a parent who mistreated you. It can come from significant life events like a parent’s divorce or the death of someone you love. Dig deep and see the pain you feel inside and make a strong attempt to reconcile your past.
- Choose to see the positive. Everyone has issues to deal with in their life. These are magnified when you put people together. Each one of us has a choice as to whether we will focus on the negative things that anger us or the positive things that inspire us. The choice is totally up to you.
- Practice distancing techniques. Find what works for you. Counting to 10 works for some people, while other people need to take a long walk. There is something in your life that will calm your nerves and move you away from anger. Find it and use it liberally.
- Seek God and Godly people. The obvious answer for a believer is to pray. That is always the best place to start with any problem. But I would also suggest that occasionally the answer to that prayer is found in other people. When anger grows, find someone who can help you walk through the issue and see the positive. This is not about venting, as that often validates your feelings and keeps you focused on the pain. You need someone to point you away from anger and toward the work of God in your life.
It is bound to happen. Somewhere in the coming month, anger is going to raise its ugly black head and try to destroy you and your relationships. Be alert and take the offensive when it happens. Anger is never a constructive force, so your resistance is critical. Maybe something I wrote here will help, if not, find the help you need.