[for a full recap be sure to review Parts 1 and 2...]
Before finishing up with the Anger Management Plan, let's look at a few examples of reasons we get angry and different expressions of anger...
Reasons We Get Angry:
* A RESPONSE to a person, situation, or event, to an imaginary or anticipated event, or to memories of traumatic or enraging situations.
* A RESPONSE to a real or perceived injustice or hurt— in the form of frustration, betrayal, deprivation, injustice, exploitation, manipulation, criticism, violence, disapproval, humiliation, intimidation, threats, etc.
* A RESPONSE when a boundary in our lives has been crossed.
Expressions of Anger:
Anger always finds an expression. People handle anger in one of three ways:
1. Repression — to deny anger’s presence. This is unhealthy because even though it may not be observable, the anger is still present—turned inward upon the person. Repressed anger can lead to numerous emotional and physical problems including depression, anxiety, hypertension, and ulcers.
2. Suppression — to acknowledge anger and then stuff it. With this approach to coping, one redirects anger-driven energy into healthy or unhealthy behavior.
3. Expression — healthy expression involves gentle assertiveness; unhealthy expression involves aggressiveness that hurts others. Persons expressing anger in this way might say "At least you know where I’m coming from!" however they refuse to acknowledge the destructive force of their expression.
And back to the Anger Management Plan...
Step 3—Identify the Source of Anger
Anger is a secondary emotion that is experienced in response to a primary emotion such as hurt, frustration, or fear. People who are hurt feel vulnerable to more hurt. This is especially true of very sensitive people. For many, anger is a defense mechanism against being hurt.
Frustration occurs when expectations are not met or people cannot meet their personal goals. The things that frustrate people the most usually have one characteristic in common—they really aren’t very important. Identifying frustrating personalities or situations will prepare a person for handling similar encounters in the future.
Step 4—Choose How to Invest Anger Energy
This is a critical step. While we cannot always control when we will experience anger, we can choose how we will express it. With God’s help, we can find creative and constructive ways to deal with anger. We can allow anger to dominate us, or we can harness anger’s energy into healthy and quality responses. Quality anger involves open, honest, and direct communication. It involves speaking the truth in love. It involves declaring truth and righting wrongs. It involves being open to an apology or explanation and seeks to work toward an agreement.
For many Christians, both the experience and expression of anger have become a habit. Habits can take some time to change. The good news is that with God’s help, we can change and grow. As we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and we apply promises from God’s Word, we can replace the old, unhealthy ways of responding with new, healthy and God-honoring emotional responses. As we learn creative ways to invest the God-given anger energy, and as we approach anger from a biblical perspective, we will find one of the most powerful sources of personal motivation available.
Other passages to study about the issue of anger include:
– Psalm 37:8
– Proverbs 14:16; 15:1, 18; 16:32; 19:19; 22:24; 29:11
– Ecclesiastes 7:9
– Mark 3:5
– Ephesians 4:26–32
– Colossians 3:8, 21