The mechanics of anger: how it happens
Understanding the ‘mechanics’ of your anger is the first step in mastering this mood. If we think
- It just happens to me – then we are powerless to do anything about it
- It’s me; it’s how I’ve always been – then we’ll never try to change
- I have a perfect right to be angry – then we’ll hang on to this alibi for not changing
- I wouldn’t be angry if it weren’t for them – then I’ll use this to justify my angry feelings and reactions
The following pages describe some common ways in which we get angry i.e. they provide some insight into how we get into angry moods. Of course, this list is not comprehensive – that would take be a very long list.
Anger: The ‘Shoulds’
One common way of setting yourself up to become angry is to have a version of how things should be and to continuously compare reality with your version – and then feel angry when reality gets it wrong!
As part of this process you have mental list of triggers against which you test reality and when reality gets it ‘wrong’ you feel angry. These triggers are situations that cause you to explode – or implode if you tend to suppress your anger.
Anger: Mind Reading
This often works alongside the ‘should’ habit. Not only do we get annoyed with what a person does or does not do – but we also get annoyed with what we perceive to be their intention in acting like they did.
Anger: “Collecting Straws”
In this way of making ourselves angry we look out for things to get annoyed about – and we then ‘link’ these so that the emotion accumulates until a quite insignificant event becomes ‘the straw that breaks the camels back’. Then we have a tantrum.
Anger: Self Criticism
Where we give ourselves a really hard time – and push ourselves to meet unreasonably high standards.
Anger: Right or Happy
It’s sad when two people who love each other lose the plot and begin struggling to be ‘in the right’ rather than to be happy. Sad yet all-too-common when it becomes more important to get them to admit they were wrong than to say ‘let’s forget about ti – and move on’.
The truth about anger
Anger is just another mood or feeling. It occurs inside out skin – no-one gets in there and changes our brain cells – no-one can actually force to to feel angry any more than they can force you to feel happy or excited or to fal in love with them
So ‘they’ don’t make us angry. We make ourselves angry. But this is rarely deliberate – it’s the result of how we have always done things.
Our Anger pages
by Reg Connolly