Anger – What’s Behind It?
Anger is one of the most common areas we address in counseling. It can lead to energizing you to solve an issue – a good thing. More commonly it leads to destruction – a bad thing.
What’s behind it? Yes, “What?” not “Who?”
We can quickly find someone to blame. There will always be someone or something. We cannot control those we blame. But we can control our response. We rarely explode on the boss or another authority figure. We don’t want to get in trouble with them. We do explode on those when we think we can get away with it.
I used to get angry and curse inanimate things. A fat lot of good that did! They couldn’t change. The result was wasted breath and embarrassment at my out of control behavior. I even threw a few things. Once again it did not help. I only added to my embarrassment and hurt people I cared about. Aging hasn’t stopped anger but a better understanding of it has led me to cope better.
I’ve learned anger is a secondary emotion. That means there’s more behind it. Some prevailing emotions are shame, sadness, fear, frustration, guilt, disappointment, worry, embarrassment, jealousy, hurt, and anxiety. Dealing with these primary issues is a more effective path of counseling.
I’ve learned a few tips.
- Check your priorities. Do you major on the major things? Or do you let the unimportant rule? Focus on what is important. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 22:37 - 39 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Put your spending of time and money to the test. Are you spending your most critical assets on the priorities which you profess? 1 Timothy 6:6-7, 10 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
- Take control. Say “No.” Stop people-pleasing to find your identity. You are who God says you are, not someone else’s opinion. Others have their own priorities, and it’s rarely you. Their selfish motives should not drive your calendar nor checkbook.
- Check for untruths. Believing a lie leads you away from God. The Bible, His Word, is packed with truth. Truth that doesn’t change with society or cultural fads. Stand on the Rock of Truth. John 8:44b says “[the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
- Take a 2-second pause. Before you react ask yourself: Is there more here I’m not seeing? Will this glorify God? Proverbs 17: 27-28 says, “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning is he holds his tongue.”
- Words aren’t easy to take back. Harm is still done even if you ‘take it back.’ Try getting toothpaste back into a tube or collecting all the feathers once released from a pillow. Proverbs 13:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” I’ve noticed when I say less, I sin less.
Counseling can help deal with anger as well as with underlying causes. Please allow us to join you as we mature in Christ.