With a history of working with and helping people resolve their anger issues using Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, NLP& CBT The Watford & District Hypnotherapy centre have a proven record in designing and delivering bespoke solutions to deliver the outcomen you are looking for in managing and eliminating your anger issues.
Many people have trouble managing their anger. This is for anyone who wants to learn how to deal with it in a constructive and healthy way.
I don’t think of myself as an angry person, but sometimes I suddenly lose my temper over some little thing. Then, I say and do really hurtful things, and when I’ve calmed down again I hate myself.
Anger is a natural response to feeling attacked, injured or violated. It’s part of being human; it’s energy seeking expression. Our anger can be our friend. It helps us survive, giving us the strength to fight back or run away when attacked or faced with injustice. In itself, it’s neither good nor bad, but it can be frightening.
Angry feelings can lead to destructive and violent behaviour, and so we tend to be frightened of anger. The way we are brought up, and our cultural background, will very much influence how we feel about expressing anger. You may have been punished for expressing it when you were small, or you may have witnessed your parents’ or other adults’ anger when it was out of control, destructive and terrifying. Or you may have been frightened by the strength of your own bad temper. All of this encourages you to suppress your anger.
When something makes you angry, you feel excitement in your body and emotions. Your glands are pumping your blood full of the hormone adrenalin, preparing for fight or flight. You are full of energy, alert, ready for action. Tension builds up, but is released when you express your anger. The release is good for you, helping to keep body and mind in balance and able to face life’s challenges.
I was so angry after that weekend, visiting my parents, that I came home and ate a whole packet of biscuits!
As long as the build-up of tension is usually released in action or words, you should be able to cope with feeling frustrated occasionally! But if, as a rule, you have to bottle up your feelings, the energy has to go somewhere. It may turn inwards and cause you all sorts of problems. Suppressed anger can have very negative effects, physically and mentally.
No, I don’t get angry when I remember the break-in. What’s the point? It was just bad luck.
Anger might affect your:
- digestion (contributing to the development of heartburn, ulcers, colitis, gastritis or irritable bowel syndrome)
- heart and circulatory system (leading to blocked arteries)
- blood pressure (driving it too high)
- joints and muscles (resulting in inflammations, such as in arthritis)
- immune system (making you more likely to catch ‘flu and other bugs, and less able to recover from operations, accidents or major illnesses)
- pain threshold (making you more sensitive to pain).
These might include:
- depression (when the anger is turned inwards)
- addictions (to alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs)
- compulsions (eating disorders, such as excessive dieting or binge-eating, overworking, unnecessary cleaning and any other behaviour that is out of control, including sexual activities)
- bullying behaviour (trying to make someone else feel bad, because ou think it will make you feel better)
- ill-thought-out political activity. (A terrorist blowing up a bus, or a pacifist on a prison hunger-strike could both be ‘acting out’, on a bigger stage, their personal difficulties with anger.)
All of these will damage relationships with other people, and this is likely to lower your self-esteem further, and make you more depressed.
In our family, no-one ever shouts or throws things. Sometimes, I wish that they would. They just make snide comments, or sulk, or refuse to talk to each other for weeks.
It’s much healthier to recognise when you are feeling angry and to express it directly in words, not in violent action. Expressing anger assertively in this way:
- benefits relationships and self-esteem
- allows fuller and richer communication and intimacy
- defuses tensions before they get to ‘explosion’ point
- helps to keep people physically and mentally healthy.
For example, Pat shouts angrily at her husband, Andrew, ‘How could you treat me like that, you bastard?’. Andrew feels attacked for no good reason, and shouts back with more abuse. Pat may then feel helpless and victimised. Neither of them will feel happy with the exchange. Yet, if Pat were to say to Andrew, ‘I’m angry with you because you haven’t done any washing-up for weeks!’, he will know why she is angry, and there will be a chance for them to talk about the washing-up, and work out a solution. Pat will feel better about herself, and the tension between them is less likely to build up to the point of violence. Andrew will have more information about what annoys Pat, and they will communicate better.
When I was little, my Dad used to shout and hit out sometimes, especially when he’d just come back from the pub. We’d be really scared. And then my Mum would go all tight-lipped and give him the deep-freeze treatment for days. But they never talked about whatever it was that he was angry about in the first place.
If you have spent a lifetime squashing your feelings, it will take time and effort to get into the habit of expressing anger in an assertive, but not aggressive way! But the following tips will help.
Learn about anger and assertiveness. Read about them and if possible, find an assertiveness training or other personal development group. (You could try your local authority adult education classes; details of these and other classes should be available at your local library.)
Caring for yourself
Look to your general health, especially diet and exercise. Lack of certain nutrients can make people feel irritable and weak. Exercise increases our self-esteem, as well as our fitness and muscle tone. Find pleasurable ways to let off steam involving vigorous physical activity, dancing, chopping wood, jogging, or whatever you feel like. This will prevent tension building up in your body in a destructive way. Nurture your self-esteem: treat yourself kindly and give yourself regular treats.
Examine your behaviour patterns
Get to know your own pattern of behaviour and history around anger. What was your family like when you were growing up? Who got angry, and what happened when they did? If no-one was openly angry, what happened to resentments and differences of opinion or of needs?
What unspoken messages did you receive about anger? Perhaps they were similar to these:
Only men get angry, but nice girls don’t. They grow up to be martyrs and victims.
It’s no good getting angry about anything, because they never take any notice of people like us, and it only gets you into trouble.People often lose their tempers and break things, but there’s nothing we can do about it. It’ll all blow over soon.Unless you shout and get angry, people won’t listen to you or understand how important what you’re saying is.
Think about these messages, and how they have affected your life. Do you still believe them? What do you think is possible for you now? Do you tend to bottle things up and get depressed, or do you tend to explode and be aggressive? How do you feel about your current pattern? Find someone to talk to about your feelings – an understanding friend, or a professional counsellor.
Acknowledge past hurts
It’s important to acknowledge angry feelings left over from the past, especially your childhood. Nothing can change what happened to you, but your attitude to it can change. Past losses and injustices, big or small, can rankle for years. Painful experiences may include being neglected by your parents, bitter rivalry with a brother or sister, the death of someone close, or growing up in exile.
You may think you have forgotten about them, that it’s pointless to think about the past. But, if something suddenly happens to you in the present, and your response to it is totally over the top, it may become clear that these feelings are not so dead after all! While you remain unaware of them, they can cause unnecessary problems. But, if you can get to know them, you will have a chance of dealing more constructively with present situations.
For example, Sharon attends a parents’ meeting at her children’s new school. She finds herself increasingly irritated with the person chairing the parent-teacher association (PTA), who behaves in a very domineering way. Sharon comes away feeling depressed.
The school has requested volunteers to help organise a fundraising event. It is just the kind of thing she usually enjoys, but now Sharon feels that she wants nothing to do with the social side of the school. Then she realises why she didn’t like the Chair of the meeting. He reminds her of a bullying teacher, with whom she had some very bad experiences at school. Memories come flooding back of how hurt, angry and powerless she felt at that time in her life.
Sharon talks about this with her friends, and they remind her that she is no longer powerless or friendless – that this is an opportunity to make a different kind of experience of school. Some of her friends have children at the same school, and share her concerns about the style and presence of the PTA Chair. Sharon can separate her old experience of the bullying teacher from her current challenge as a parent. She can have the possibility of a more constructive engagement with this dominant person. She feels free to join in the fundraising event, and plans with her friends and other parents how they might change the way the PTA is run.
What should I do when I feel myself getting angry?
Stop and think, if at all possible! There is a traditional saying, which is very sound, that goes:
‘Hold your breath and count to ten before you say anything.’
Walk away from situations
It’s a good idea to ask yourself, ‘Am I so angry I can’t think?’, and, ‘Am I wanting to lash out and hit someone?’. If the answer to either of these is yes, then walk away from the situation. Tell the other person that you are too angry to speak to them at this moment, if you can. Go away somewhere to calm down. If necessary, let out the desire to lash out by hitting a cushion, breaking crockery if you have to, shouting, screaming or making some kind of angry noise where it will not alarm anyone.
Resolve unfinished business
‘Why am I so angry?’. Finding the answer to this is important for the next step. Are you angry because of something that is happening now, that threatens you, your life, your loved ones, your work, someone or something that you value? In other words, is your anger justified and in proportion? Or is it that some of the anger that you feel is not really due to the person and situation that you are facing now, but to some unfinished business from the past?
If your anger turns out to be more to do with the past than the present, then we will look at how to address that before, or as well as, dealing with the current situation.
The way to find out about this is by talking it over with another person, preferably someone who is not involved, personally. Once you are clear that the anger is about the here-and-now, prepare to tell the other person that you are angry!
Want To Know More?
At The Watford & District Hypnotherapy Centre We offer private therapy sessions Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 20:00 and Saturday mornings between 10:00 and 16:00 at which we can discuss and develop a bespoke program to help identify and achieve your goals.
Sessions are on average 60 minutes in length and cost is £65.00.Specific number of sessions required is hard if not impossible to state as it is a very individual set of circumstances and responses that bring about the various challenges, we offer a free of charge no obligation initial assessment at which we should be able to assess likely number of sessions required.
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