When We Cross the Line; The Truth About Anger

Anger can have a bad rap. One look at an angry face and it can elicit a whole mix of emotions; everything from fear to helplessness to defensiveness. But anger really is meant to be a useful emotion to us; one that can motivate us to bring about change, one that can help us feel relief, one that aids us in processing more complicated emotions. When anger is in our control, we can put it to good use; however as soon as we cross the line; anger no longer works for us in positive ways. Listed are common phases of anger:

Aggression: As soon as we move to yelling, sarcasm, swearing, name calling, or hitting, we no longer have full control over our anger. It is at this stage, that we move to wanting to be right or gain control and we lose the ability to see the situation in an objective light. There is no room for solution in the aggressive stage. 

Hostility/Resentment: This is anger built up. It is a suppression of anger; sitting heavy within. It is during this phase that I am often reminded of the saying, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the only one who gets burned.”

Chronic Anger: This is a phase in which someone lives in anger. Every emotion is now filtered through anger and it can lead to mistrust and paranoia at times. In reality, a very difficult way to live.

Rage: The phase of truly uncontrolled anger.

We may recognize ourselves in one of these phases; certainly the first two at different times in our lives. Tomorrow we will explore how to stay “above the line” so as to how to make our anger work for us in positive ways.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Ming Jun Tan on Unsplash

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