Your Anger problem is probably not about anger

By Jim Squire MDiv RP |

Anger is an intense emotion that signals something is wrong, anger has many positive benefits but can also lead us to do and say things we regret. Unfortunately, many people with an anger problem either think it’s about the anger or look at external factors such as relationships, circumstances or environment to explain the anger away. In the counselling or psychotherapy anger is understood as a secondary emotion in most instances which means another emotion precedes it.

Consequently, unless we uncover the primary emotion that triggered the anger we will not have the understanding to prevent our anger although you can learn some coping skills to manage the anger. For example, if the root of your anger is feelings of rejection you cannot make substantial progress with your anger issues unless you explore your feelings of rejection.

A primary emotion can be a variety of emotions although with anger it is commonly fear or any kind of hurt since anger is an emotion that protects us it often is triggered when vulnerability appears or we feel threatened. Therefore, when we discuss anger problems the question should be what emotion came before the anger or what triggered it. Since the primary emotion may only appear briefly many of us are not even aware that is what’s happening. In many cases an individual needs the help of someone trained to figure this out but there are answers available; a good place to start is to look at what proceeded the anger and how we processed it. A willingness to look at aspects of ourselves we may not like is of great importance and will help you get to the root of the problem, this knowledge can ultimately lead to lasting change.