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Posts made in February, 2016

Expressing Anger Constructively: A stress management tool

By on Feb 26, 2016 in Life Skills, Therapy & Change | 0 comments

Expressing anger in a constructive way is challenging and in many situations almost impossible. First we need to locate the source of our anger then determine whether we actually are angry with others or ourselves. Is it righteous anger or displaced anger and is this a battle that it is wise to wage? Is it way beyond the particulars of the situation? Another question is are we using anger as a defense? in particular: * Anger can keep you from dealing with the source of your fear * Anger keeps you from dealing with the critical voices in your head * Anger keeps you from dealing with personal values that create guilt * Anger prevents you from examining the losses in your life * Anger stops you from communicating your hurt * Anger keeps you immobilized and not able to problem solve * Anger keeps you angry not moving forward. From McKay, Rogers and McKay (1989) Let us discuss the wisdom of choosing our battles. Some of the questions that would be helpful to ask are: * How important is this relationship? * What are the costs to me of keeping quiet? * Is there a power imbalance (e.g. Employer – Employee) and what are the costs of speaking up? (e.g. will I lose my job, will it be difficult in the long term if I speak up?) * Will I put myself at risk physically if I speak up? * Can I express myself clearly and constructively? * Will this person understand if I speak up? (An elderly person or someone with diminished capacity) * Is this battle worth fighting? * Would letting go and not taking the situation personally be a much better strategy in this situation? The point is in asking these questions we can pause and better define the situation and decide whether to go ahead with expressing our feelings. In choosing in any of these situations not to proceed this does not mean we stuff our feelings. There are other constructive ways to express feelings of anger without confronting the person directly (e.g. writing an “unsent letter” to them). Maybe in knowing we will not win with someone who is unapproachable and/or  has more power...

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