In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal how to go beyond controlling anger to how to overcome anger.
First a quick update:
“Always Feeling Like You Need A Guy: What’s With This?”
Read my quotes as well as my controversial response to the comments in the article for HerCampus.com.
“It’s not easy feeling green (with envy)”
Read the USA Today article which features some of my quick tips on ways to deal with contextual jealousy.
Now, let’s talk about how to control and release anger.
In my article, “The roots of anger”, I reveal that:
“The dictionary defines anger as an emotion – a feeling of strong displeasure and belligerence. But anger is much more than that. Anger is the almost immediate response to being hurt, injured or wronged; the hurt or injury can be a physical, emotional or psychological pain. Beneath that anger is a deeper pain. In other words, while the unsafe expression of anger can cause problems, anger in itself is not the problem, but rather, it is the symptom of another problem, emotion or belief.”
In other words, there often is another emotion beneath the anger (betrayal, rejection, fear, insecurity, worthlessness, feelings of injustice, violation and so forth.) But I also mentioned above that anger can be the symptom of another belief i.e. there is a reason that we hold onto that anger; oftentimes there is a powerful benefit to holding onto that anger and sometimes it is driven by resentment and self-pity.
Denny Seiwell has been a professional drummer playing since he was a teenager and has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry – Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, James Brown, The Who Astrud Gilberto, Deniece Williams, Art Garfunkel, Billy Joel and many more. Danny was one of the original members of Paul McCartney’s band “Wings.”
Danny was introduced to alcohol at age 13 and it became a way to deal with his problems, even though it almost destroyed his life as he tried to avoid facing his real pain and feelings.
“I had one big problem in life, and I had no way of dealing with that problem other than pouring alcohol on it. The more alcohol I poured on it, the more the problem grew, and then I had more problems. Pretty soon it just fed into every area of my life. A typical day: I’d roll a joint in the morning, get high, get a burrito from Poquito Mas, have some beers in the morning, and at noon, I’d start drinking Stolis. I just didn’t want to feel what I was feeling. What I was feeling was resentment, because there was this big piece of work that I did years ago that I didn’t get paid for, and I couldn’t live with that. It should have taken care of my wife and me financially for the rest of our lives, and it just didn’t happen that way. The only way I knew how to deal with that was to slam booze. Those days were just really horrible.”
(From the book “Moments of Clarity” by Christopher Kennedy Lawford)
Danny was stuck in anger, resentment and self-pity; the anger was driven by the resentment and self-pity. Beneath that anger was the choice to try and avoid facing the responsibility of dealing with the bad business deal; Danny was avoiding seeking amends, avoiding accepting what might have been beyond his control, and avoiding having to face the reality of taking charge of his life by seeking new business deals. In other words, there will be times in our life when things go wrong, we might even be ripped off, betrayed or robbed of an opportunity, and we can stay stuck in self-pity or decide to seek out and create other opportunities. The balance here is identifying what we can and cannot control. and only responding accordingly to what we can control.
Sometimes, though, anger can be driven by the need for self-protection, revenge, or familiarity.
Debbie is a divorced woman who struggles in relationships because her anger and outbursts creates rifts, pushes people away and destroys the love. Debbie is angry over the abuse she suffered as child by her mother.
We identified that Debbie was choosing to stay angry because she believed that if she were to let go of the anger, and possibly forgive her mother, then Debbie would believe that she was condoning what her mother did. I explained to Debbie that it is critical to understand that yes, you can forgive the person without condoning the action; the action and abuse are still wrong. Debbie also believed that by remaining angry she could feel powerful by placing a wall around her so that no one could get close and no one could hurt her. But she didn’t really feel powerful, since she felt powerless to the anger that was controlling her and since she was really coming from a place of fear – afraid that someone might hurt her again; she was assuming that everyone around her was the same as her mother or would treat her the same way as her mother did. Debbie also didn’t trust herself because she was afraid that if she were to let go of the wall of anger, she might not know how to stand up to her mother, how to protect herself.
For Debbie, forgiving her mother was only part of the solution; Debbie also had to learn ways to respond to her mother who was still behaving like an emotional vampire. (Read my article: “Dealing with emotional vampires”) And Debbie had to create a new identity since she had become so familiar with responding with anger that she believed it was part of whom and what she is – her identity.
Frank is a highly successful father of two children. When he came to me, he was still angry at his father for never approving him, never validating or praising his work, success or achievements. In fact, Frank always felt that he and his father were in competition. Frank’s anger was driven by the desire for revenge – sometimes he would even hurt himself as a way of subconsciously saying “I’ll show you; F… you; You can’t control me.”
The process to go beyond controlling anger – to being set free from anger is:
- Identify the person to whom your anger is directed (the Instigator)
- Identify the emotions beneath the anger (the emotions that the anger masks – as explained above – resentment, self-pity, revenge, self-protection, fear, insecurity, shame, worthlessness, etc)
- Identify all of the emotional or psychological benefits of your anger (as illustrated above – vindication, self-protection, justice, payback, safety and security, etc.)
- List what would happen if you were to release the anger (i.e. all of the positive and negative consequences)
- Work towards forgiveness of the Instigator (and yourself where necessary and appropriate – e.g. children who were often abused subconsciously feel responsible, guilty or ashamed)
- Release the anger and underlying subconscious emotions (this can be done many ways such as SRTT, guided visualization and so forth but it must be accompanied by forgiveness and compassion. (For individuals, see Phone Consultations; for therapists and coaches, learn about a unique and effective therapeutic technique: SRTT)
- Create a new identity and new habits
If you are in place of anger in your life, then it might be challenging to hear and fully understand this but until you can incorporate forgiveness and compassion, you will never be set free from the anger. Ask yourself “Why am I afraid to forgive?” Read my article “The fear to forgive” or use my audio program “Getting over it” which also includes an audio file on forgiveness.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.