7 Beliefs That Control Your Relationship With Anger
Find Out Why YOU Choose Anger
Sometimes I get raised eyebrows and questions when I mention I teach anger management classes. What does a communications consultant know about anger management anyway? I guess it all depends on perspective.
I’m an effective communications expert. When I see conversations and relationships break down I begin investigating. I want to know why some messages are effective, why some conversations are successful… and others are not.
What Does Anger Mean?
Needless to say, my communications obsession has had me looking long and hard down the barrel of anger as one communications’ great saboteurs. And this is what I’ve found…
Yes, anger is a common culprit for sabotaging healthy conversations. But it’s so much deeper than that. Just like exchanging words, anger is a form of communication. When we run out of ways to express ourselves, we often turn to anger. If nothing else, at least anger helps us get some stuff off our chests. Right?
Still, I have to ask…
If it’s just one of many ways to communicate, why choose anger?
And, let’s not forget that anger leads to other problems. When you get angry, maybe you get some stuff off your chest, but are you also causing other problems?
Lots of times anger means:
…hurting someone else
…burdening someone else
…blaming someone else
…attacking someone else
…pushing someone away
(and the list goes on).
It’s possible that you actually want to hurt (or burden or blame or attack) someone. But most of the time, you’re just looking for relief.
If we act out in anger is it because deep down inside we believe that anger is the only way?
We are smart enough to know there are many more effective ways to communicate. So why choose anger?
The answer is usually simple but buried so deep in our history that we don’t remember.
7 Beliefs About Anger
Here are some potential beliefs you might hold about anger:
1. Anger is justified when I’m attacked.
2. When I get angry, I can’t help myself.
3. Getting angry is an effective way to show people I’m serious.
4. I’m in full control when I’m angry.
5. If I want people to change, I have to give them no choice.
6. Anger leads to fear and fear is a great motivator.
7. The angriest, scariest, meanest, most violent person wins.
Start Considering Alternative Beliefs
1. Anger is an easy way to return an attack, but it’s not a great defense.
(instead of… Anger is justified when I’m attacked.)
2. I can control my anger.
(instead of… When I get angry, I can’t help myself.)
3. Calm clear messages are the best way to communicate seriousness.
(instead of… Getting angry is an effective way to show people I’m serious.)
4. If I’m not careful, my anger might control me and I might say and do things I regret.
(instead of… I’m in full control when I’m angry.)
5. I can’t change anyone, but I can set limits to what I will accept.
(instead of… If I want people to change, I have to give them no choice.)
6. Fear discourages people. Purpose is the greatest motivator.
(instead of… Anger leads to fear and fear is a great motivator.)
7. Hurting others is never worth it.
(instead of… The angriest, scariest, meanest, most violent person wins.)
Why Do My Beliefs Matter?
Your beliefs fuel your decision making. If you have a belief that fuels your anger you need to change that belief. In a tight spot with little time to think, your brain relies on your beliefs to decide what to do next. Without identifying and changing the beliefs you have that fuel your anger, you have little chance of ending your negative behaviour.
If you believe anger has hurt your life (broken bones, failed relationships, legal bills, lost jobs, etc.) than you need to remind yourself that you create your life (physical safety, relationships, legal certainty, financial security, etc.).
Reverse Engineer Your Anger
Begin by reflecting. Ask yourself…
Why do I get angry?
What gets me angriest?
When do I usually get angry?
Do I believe getting angry will change my situation?