Anger: Emotion vs. Behavior

There is no doubt about it. Anger has a large stigma surrounding it. It has become the emotion that is not safe. It is seen as something scary that can get out of control very easily. It is known as the UNWANTED AND UNSAFE EMOTION. This is why we have to be very clear on what ange is. Anger is an emotion and when we try to stuff it, it does not go away. When we try to hide it or avoid it, it becomes stronger and less manageable. It is important to remember how our body works- “law of the body”. Whatever goes in must come out. If our emotions are not dealt with in a healthy manner and they are tossed aside, they will escape at some point and will usually resurface when you have the least possible time to deal with the strong emotions. Our emotions are great. They are with us for a reason and we should be using them as a guide to tell us when things are okay and when things are not. Where we run into issues however, is with our behaviors. Aggressive behavior is never okay. We can be angry and not use aggressive behaviors as long as we are using healthy coping strategies and emotional techniques. Anger the emotion is not a problem or a bad thing (in fact anger has many positive factors including providing the energy to implement change. If people were never angry, nothing would change). It is aggressive behavior that becomes the problem. It is imperative to start looking at our thoughts, emotions and behaviors and start separating them from one another.

DEFINITIONS

ANGER: An emotional state that can range in intensity from mild irritation to extreme rage.

RAGE: The strongest form of anger, very physical, threatening the individual with possible lack of control over his or her actions.

AGGRESSION: Actual behavior, as contrasted with feeling of anger that is intended to achieve one’s goals or eliminate frustrating obstacles, regardless of the effect upon others. Anger does not automatically lead to aggression although the two occur together frequently.

HOSTILITY: An attitude toward specific individuals or the world that includes seeing others as enemies and a readiness to be angry with others.

RESENTMENT: A process in which anger is stored rather that released- the opposite of forgiveness- usually accompanied by belief that the individual has been injured by others.

HATRED: The end product of the resentment process. Hatred is “frozen” anger that results in an intense and unchanging dislike of another.

ANGER AVOIDANCE: A pattern of thinking, acting, and feeling in wich a person avoids, ignores and supresses anger.

CHRONIC ANGER: A pattern of thinking, acting and feeling in wich a person seeks, embraces and prolongs anger experiences.

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