Anger gets a bad rap. We likely had some less-than-ideal role models when it comes to anger, and were raised not to be angry and that anger is bad: “Don’t raise your voice to me, young man, Don’t you have a tantrum, little girl”.

We learn to suppress anger or to defiantly project it out.

Anger is very human - natural and normal. If we can master our anger we can use it correctly: as a guide as to what is right for us, and also to motivate us, indeed it can be extremely powerful and creative when harnessed. We lose our way with what we do with our anger…

For many of us, our nervous systems have been programmed to have a lot of fear around anger. This is why it plays such a key part in our relationships.

1. Escalators We pour more fuel on the fire when things are already quite heated, we goad each other and become more and more emotionally dysregulated and don't recognise the need to take a time out and calm down.

2. Invalidators - “That’s not true” or “why would you feel that way?” or “you’re lying”. We invalidate our loved one’s experiences and can be very dismissive of their point of view.

3. Negative Interpreters – We tend to read something offensive or upsetting into any comment and be forced to then go on the attack or the defensive. Old and new wounds can merge, and the pain just gets greater and greater.

4. Withdrawers - We retreat into ourselves and withhold love, affection or discussion as we do not know how to handle the complexity of conflict with someone we love. Also known as stonewalling.

When we are angry we lose insight into our own behaviour. If we’re wounded or hurt, we feel entitled and justified to say and do whatever we want. We don’t see how hurtful or inappropriate our behaviour is in those moments.

Watching out for the above reactions will help guide us to what is healthy.

How Do You Behave When You get Angry?

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In this video I discuss strategies to mastering our anger and harnessing it in a productive way.

We can fall into four traps, and become:

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