Controlling Anger

When you get angry, you often also feel irritable and frustrated. 
Anger is not a feeling, but a reaction.
Is it true that men get angry more often than women?
Is anger a predictor of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Abuse?

All people have the impulse to get angry, yet some people seem to be more sensitive to triggers than others. Especially anger in relationship can cause much damage to the relationship.

What is Anger?

Anger is a built-in reaction to feeling powerless. Feeling as if there is nothing you can do or say that would make the situation work, the way you know it should. At this point, anger is still an internal trigger.
Anger is often followed by the (implied) threat of aggressive behaviour - also known as 'getting angry'.

Anger and irritability may cause similar behaviours but they are caused differently.
Being angry is the coercive behaviours that originate as reaction to feeling powerless. For instance, when you can't get your partner to behave the way you would like, and trying to convince them doesn't work, you could feel as if there is nothing you can do to make them do what you want; you feel powerless and become angry.
While both men and women experience anger in a very similar way, they express their coercive behaviours differently, based on their strengths and abilities.

Irritability can manifest quite a lot of aggressive behaviour also, but this caused by overwhelm. For instance, you're really busy trying to solve some really important (a possibly time-sensitive) issues. You're highly concentrated on getting through the overwhelming volume of work and your partner asks for help. Your brain is unable to accept additional requests for attention and responds aggressively to the request. Of course, normally you would respond with patience and reason to such a request from your partner, but this time your brain makes you react irritated and interrupted to an, otherwise innocuous, request.

Anger is a reaction to perceived danger

When we're faced with a situation which seems to have no options for solutions, or when our brain simply runs out of short-term capacity, our brain goes into survival mode. This is often called the limbic hijack.

The limbic hijack is caused by adrenaline and the resulting actions are often named: Freeze, Flight or Fight response. In case of a real or perceived danger, we most often go through an evaluation which first makes us freeze, then want to flee, and only as a last resort, fight.

Unfortunately, when the temporary memory store (hippocampus) is full, we are no longer working from our full abilities, and the brain panics - sensing danger to which we no longer have the ability to freeze or flee, and we resort to fighting. Our brain feels Anger when it's in Danger (Remove the letter 'D' from Danger....)

Consider the following scenario: You're being faced with an everyday problem and your ability to find solutions has run out. Consider your brain's response when it is faced with a limited number of options, NONE of which will produce the outcome you're desiring. This places the brain in a no-win situation which it perceives as dangerous. And the result is (D)ANGER.

Anger Management Solutions

Using powerful techniques to creatively find alternatives to problems, avoids the brain's limbic hijack and proactively thwarts the anger response.

Anger is often a predictable reaction if you understand the triggers. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or willpower are likely first thought of when looking for anger management treatment. I have better success with clients when they are willing to go a little deeper - to understanding the basic responses of the limbic brain that react automatically. Simply overriding anger with willpower, most often results in more frustration and force, not in overcoming the problem of anger at the root. Understanding and changing the root cause changes your approach and requires very little if any, willpower to control anger before it expresses itself as aggression.

Let me help you discover your inner strength and ability to overcome the triggers which lead to anger problems. To embody the control and calm that helps you feel safe within your environment and relationships.

There really always is another way.

Anthony Santen SAC Dip(Adv. Psychotherapy) Counselling in Toronto

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