What is Anger?
According to Merriam Webster, anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. It is an intense emotional state we have all experienced and expressed in response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat from someone or something.
Anger is simply a part of what it means to be human. Feelings of anger can be brought on through several different means and within many different contexts. To name a few, unjust treatment, being criticized or judged and quite simply not receiving what we feel we are owed. Like most emotions/feelings, anger is on a continuum that ranges from a mild irritation to downright rage.
However, expressing anger does have its benefits. Anger serves as an internal alarm, a defense mechanisms and results in us taking a stand against a wrong.
Anger is a Secondary Emotion
What you and many might not realize is that anger is considered a secondary emotion. This means that primary emotions such as fear, sadness, embarrassment and hurt lie underneath it; and because it is hard for us to express those primary emotions, we will push anger to the top. Feeling the primary emotions can be uncomfortable and leave us in a state of vulnerability. Shifting to anger provides a sense of energy, control, and power.
How to Manage Anger
Whenever you are experiencing anger, no matter where you fall on its continuum, slow yourself down in an effort to identify the underlining emotion. Start by exploring your thoughts and your belief system about the given interaction; as they fuel your emotional response. Be mindful that feeling anger may be an ingrained emotional response, which means that it can take more time to identify the deeper thoughts and feelings that lie underneath.
By working with your therapist regarding your primary emotions, you will be able to develop skills to relate to your anger. By working with your therapist to identify these primary emotions, you can work towards the best course of action to resolve your problem.