Anger Management

Learn how to keep anger from destroying what you love.

When discussing anger, I find it useful to think of volcanoes.

In more active volcanoes, we are aware of their volatility. At the surface, we might see fumes of irritation, searing outbursts, and even aggressive and violent explosions.

Some volcanoes are dormant: they sit silently and seemingly serene. Unbeknownst to the casual observer, these volcanoes build pressure over time. It often comes as a great surprise when all that pressure finally erupts into a searing explosion.

Similar to the volcano, anger is almost always much more that what we see at the surface.

We know that volcanic eruptions are the result of immense stressors and turmoil building beneath the surface. The intensity of these eruptions is generally determined by whether pressure is released in smaller, more regular intervals, or if it quietly accumulates over time to create a more volatile explosion.

Similarly, distressing feelings, when not vented and processed as they occur, can build and intensify until a trigger pushes beyond one’s capacity to contain long-held back feelings. This can lead to disproportionate responses: angry or enraged outbursts that seem out of scope with the trigger they respond to.

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Each of us bears the strain of hardship, loss, regret, and pain.

Over time, these wounds build and fester into immense suffering that begins to rise to the surface. Sadness, fear, and shame accrue beyond one’s ability to tolerate them, sparking anger over their very existence.

Without healthy outlets, these feelings exponentially increase in volume and intensity until they can be born no longer, and eruption takes place. This can be confusing and deleterious for everyone involved: both the bearer and the recipients.

For most people, anger tends to feel stronger and safer than sadness.

It is a powerful emotion that was evolved to help us defend ourselves and our loved ones when under threat. Unfortunately most cultures erroneously teach us that vulnerable feelings (sadness, fear, guilt, shame, etc.) denote weakness.

This can lead us to judge ourselves as weak for having these natural, informative emotions. That internal judgment often generates anger and rage, which for many feels like the only acceptable way to express what is happening inside.

Why does anger come so easily to me?

This anger can then begin to take on a life of its own.

We develop neurological pathways that habitually make anger the default emotion under duress, when more regularly allowing ourselves to be conscious of and process the underlying vulnerable feelings is the healthier and more productive option. This is where anger becomes dangerous. Little things begin to set off full-blown explosions. Anger erupts and ends up hurting others and ourselves.

The volcano that lets off pressure at more regular intervals is less likely to erupt destructively.

Those that repress and allow pressure to build and smelt become much more of a threat; their eruptions are more dangerous and destructive. Similarly, being aware of and processing our feeling more frequently allows us to do so more gently and productively. Hiding these feelings from others and ourselves leads to more destructive expressions and behaviors.

Do not let anger continue to unnecessarily destroy what you love!

With the right support, I know that you can overcome your rage and angry outbursts. I have helped many learn to manage their anger and develop healthy habits of emotional expression, and I am confident I can help you too. If you or a loved one struggles with managing anger, do not wait. Contact me today and lets tackle your anger issues together, head on.

I spend my life ping-ponging between erupting at people in rage and then feeling bad for my actions and emotions.

Do I have an anger issues?

Anger is a normal, human reaction to hurt. In the fight or flight response, anger is meant to help you survive and defend yourself in desperate times.

You were born with feelings of anger for a reason. Yet, much like feelings of sadness and sorrow, anger can get in the way of having a joyful and fulfilling life.

Therapists tend to lean on four criteria to help people notice problematic anger:

Anger is designed to help energize and motivate you to fight like your life depended on it. Yet, when inappropriately activated, those feelings can lead to destruction rather than protection.If we are angry when our partner cooks a meal we did not want, and these feelings cause us to lash out or become aggressive, this jeopardizes safety. Think about the ways that your anger may threaten and cause harm to others and yourself. If your anger or the anger of a loved one causes danger, seek help immediately.

Deviance is a word used to describe behavior that goes against social rules and laws. For example, if your anger causes you to go out and slash someone’s tires, that would be considered deviant because you are vandalizing property.Although not always dangerous, anger that causes deviant behavior can lead to severe legal and relational consequences.

Distress is a two-way street. Although it may not distress the person with anger, anger-driven behaviors can certainly cause distress to others. If your friend becomes tearful or afraid when you get angry and punch the wall, you are causing your friend a great deal of distress. Just like dangerous anger, distressful anger can be abusive when left untreated.

Anger can absolutely help us do better at certain tasks. For example, professional weightlifters often try to enter a state of rage during competition to help them perform. Yet, most of us are not professional weightlifters, which means that we do not typically need to tap into our rage to get through life.Anger that gets in the way of performing at work, keeps you from making and maintaining friendships, or affects your sleep and other health behaviors is absolutely dysfunctional.

Of course I’m angry! If you went through what I’ve been through, you’d be angry too.

How does therapy help with anger?

Psychotherapy, or counseling, is the most effective way to treat anger issues. People who struggle with anger can learn to cope and find peace through psychotherapy. The results can be life changing.

We will meet one-on-one in a safe, confidential setting where we work collaboratively to help you identify your unique anger process, understand underlying roots of emotional pain, find solutions to overcoming difficult emotions, and restore balance and happiness to your life.

Do not wait in hope that destructive anger will resolve on its own. Unlike volcanoes, anger issues do not die down over time. I believe that you have the power to overcome your anger, and I want to help you get there.

How can I help?

As a Relational Depth Psychotherapist, I provide a unique combination of relational warmth, interpersonal attachment, strategic challenge and deep psychological insight for my clients. I have helped numerous people learn to manage their anger – and I know that I can help you too!

My treatment will help you learn to:

  • Identify the roots of your anger
  • Mindfully notice the effects of your emotions and how they lead to outbursts
  • Create coping strategies to better manage anger as it occurs
  • Strategically manage stress
  • Feel confident, calm and gain greater self-control

To accomplish those goals, we will:

  • Establish a safe, mutually respectful relationship
  • Employ gentle curiosity to help you open up in ways that you haven’t before
  • Address underlying emotions that lead to destructive anger
  • Explore your current experience of yourself and your circumstances
  • Observe elements of your life that hinder you and jointly work toward change
  • Shed light on blind spots and challenge self-defeating patterns
  • Examine relevant life experiences that have impacted you
  • Process and heal wounds, historic or recent, that hold you back
  • Develop self-compassion and improve your understanding of yourself

I firmly believe that together, we can work through your struggles. Do not let anger continue to get in the way of a happy and healthy existence. Contact me today and learn how I can help you improve your life.

Do I really look and act like the angry people I see on TV? I don’t want to be like them.