Anger can be propulsive or destructive. Let’s see when it helps us and when we have to get help.
Anger as an engine
- After a first period of despair, a great disappointment of love may have led us to take care of ourselves guided by a spirit of revenge – “He will see me, I will be beautiful and he will eat his hands!”.
- A professor who did not believe in us may have encouraged us to do more as a challenge, so much so that in the end we reached unthinkable goals, even by ourselves.
- We may have decided to practice a martial art to learn how to defend ourselves from bullies, then discovering a great passion for this discipline, which will accompany us throughout our life.
- Finding ourselves in a situation that harmed our self-esteem, because we were not considered, or were morally or physically hurt, we may have decided to leave.
Anger as a limit
- If we are obsessed with something that did not go our way in the past, and that we perceive as an injustice (a dismissal, a rejection, a bereavement …), so much so that it is difficult for us even just imagine building a future.
- If we “hate” someone, or something in our present to such an extent that we struggle to think of something else, so much so that we develop psychosomatic disorders, struggle to maintain a socially acceptable attitude (insult, be physically aggressive), bore friends and acquaintances with our complaints.
How to get out
The image most used by brief strategic therapy in case of anger (if this limits the person) is: “Being angry is like drinking poison and hoping our enemy will die”. Too much anger poisons, to overcome it you have to drain it, perhaps by writing it, or by practicing physical activity, not necessarily intense, it is more important that it is regular and if possible, not too short (compatibly with one’s health). It is important to admit it to ourselves in order to manage it, denying it would not help.
Alarm bells (i.e. When to contact an expert)
If you feel that you may “act out” in anger, verbally or physically assaulting someone; or you have already done so.
If loved ones are moving away because they no longer want to listen to your complaints, or you don’t feel understood (they minimize, feed the anger by supporting you too much).
If a context (work, family, sport) seems hostile to you, so much so that you can no longer bear to be there.
If your mind is so enraptured that you can’t focus on anything else (minimum or important goals).