Holding anger may be a poison according to Mitch Albom, but unleashing the intense emotion can be equally venomous, at least for people who surround you, who love and care for you. You may think being a part of your family and meeting the requirements of your family members financially and otherwise is a liability of yours, but it is essentially being in a relationship. A successful relationship should be built on shared values, emotions, feelings and most importantly, bilateral communication. It is, therefore, important for you to stay connected with your family members, especially with the kids, when you get hot under the collar.
Anger disconnects us
Though anger is a natural response when one feels that their needs are not being met, it can act like an impediment in an otherwise healthy relationship. We often get entrapped in a vicious circle of behavior and attitude and we forget that our family members are still trying to connect with us. We fail to communicate, to stay connected with our near and dear ones. Is there a remedy? Can you stay connected with your family while gnashing your teeth? Here below are five tips.
1. Connect with yourself first
If you are very angry – others are not likely to understand if you lash out. The natural position to take when one feels attacked is defensive. So do not expect others to understand and immediately connect with you when you are angry. Can you tell yourself something like – “I am angry – of course I am, and it is o.k. for me to be angry! When you validate your anger – you may be able to see your reasons for the anger . Acknowledge that your anger is legitimate and then start to look for reasons for your anger. After you have connected to yourself – invite others to understand your frustration
2. Slow down
It is hard to resist yelling while you are in a mood to eat someone alive. Visualize yourself when angry – and imagine that you are taking a deep breath, slowing down and lowering your volume – you can maintain the energy of the anger – but release it in a slower softer way. Try this visualization several times a day and see if it helps slow and soften your anger reactions.
3. Naming the feelings
If your partner, or your child, shows displeasure about a situation and that leads to an ugly altercation, stop and think about their feelings, needs and unspoken desires. Did they expect a better husband, or wife, or mother, or father in you? Did you fail to be the person they have always loved and respected? You need to find the answer to this question and name their needs and feelings before you end up creating a scene.
4. Walk away
Though it may feel that this is not resolving your feelings – if you are angry – you are not likely to stay connected. Leave the room until you can express your anger in a way that does not feel like an attack to others. (then you may want to try the slow down visualization discussed above).
5. Learn from your anger
In the heat of the moment it may be difficult to understand your anger, but you can review what happened later. Use anger as a reminder of where to stop and look inside your heart to find the real answers for your unhappiness. Anger works as an indicator of emotional and other needs not being met. Focus on the values of your relationships – to learn what may prompt anger and recognize your desire to stay connected..
If you are having difficulty maintaining connection when you are angry – you may want to consider professional assistance. Call a Houston therapist today, while it is on your mind.
Michael Winters is a Psychologist in Houston focusing on marriage counseling and therapy. Michael received his PhD from the University of Memphis and has been practicing since 1991.