Pent-Up Anger…

Question:
When we talk about anger, I always remember a few situations, and wonder – did I do wrong or good? In every situation, I am trying to stay calm and after that what happens with the anger? I think it is somewhere deep in side of me, and there must be some valve for all my anger. How will that impact my life?

Answer:
Dear Friend, Maybe you are really asking: Has my anger and response to provoking situations been helpful? What happens to the anger when I don’t express it? How does it affect my life?

Pent-up Anger: It sounds like you try to remain calm which is helpful in containing conflict and angry outbursts – but, your anger remains hidden. Hidden anger can grow and result in bitterness and depression or eventually there may be an outburst of anger over something small because you have been holding it in.
Is it good to keep your anger unexpressed? I don’t believe so.

Anger Expressed: I think anger is meant to be expressed in healthy ways through assertive communication and problem-solving. If you can’t talk with the person directly who you are angry with – then, it is helpful to express your anger to a confidante or counselor. You can explore ways to express it directly or decide to let it go.

Ultimately, when you don’t express anger – you will be affected by it. Anger is an emotion which results from feelings of fear, frustration, hurt and loss of control. The emotional valve within will explode when these feelings are not dealt with. You need to make changes so you can deal with your emotions and the issues. Working through anger using healthy coping skills will bring a sense of peace and confidence to your life.

Order the book: What’s Good About Anger? to learn more about these skills and how faith can help defuse your anger.

© copyright 2023 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations. She is a Certified Anger Management Specialist-V, Diplomate, Consultant, Trainer with the National Anger Management Association.

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Dealing with Anger & Guilt as a Christian

It seems that anger has gotten a bad rap in the Christian community. Most Christians have difficulty expressing anger and frustration without feeling guilty and preachers connote anger with sin. We know that anger was expressed in the Bible by godly men such as Nehemiah (in Neh. 5:6-7}when he felt very angry over the injustices occurring at the time to his countrymen. He takes on the problem in a very confrontive manner. Paul angrily confronts Peter in Galatians accusing him of “not keeping in line with gospel” (Gal. 2:11**read below). In John 2:12-17  Jesus reacts in anger towards those who are selling goods in His Father’s house – by throwing over the tables and using a whip to chase out animals.

So, why is it that good and righteous anger is not acceptable amongst Christians when there are numerous examples of God and his people becoming angry in the Bible? Maybe it’s because as Christians we are prone to sin and it’s hard to decifer whether anger is appropriate or inappropriate. 

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, but, don’t sin… don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”  There are some principles we can glean from this and other verses for “being good and angry“.

1. Be angry. This verse says that there is a place for anger in the life of a Christian. Obviously, that anger must be under God’s control in order for it to be “good” or “righteous” anger. Rom. 1:17 says, “the righteous shall walk by faith”.  Therefore, we can conclude that any display of anger that emanates from our sinful nature and is not faith controlled will be expressed wrongly.

2. Don’t sin. What does sinful anger look like?  Fits of rage. Yelling and outbursts. Slanderous remarks. Demeaning, disrespectful put-downs. Verbal abuse. Character assassinations. Threatening or harrassing behavior. Anytime you harm someone or destroy their property, etc., etc., etc.
Here’s what anger without sin should look like: respectful, courteous, caring, forthright, open, honest, tactful, compassionate, safe, non-threatening, empathic, etc.

3. Don’t pout and ruminate on your anger: Resentment will build and anger will escalate when we continue to give anger room to grow in our lives. The Bible says, “forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.” (Col. 3:13)  There are no qualifications or “ifs” about forgiveness. We have to forgive our enemies. We are told to forgive anyone who has offended us. It’s hard. It’s not easy to forgive and it doesn’t mean we allow people to continue to abuse or manipulate us. But, we can’t hold on to anger. Anger will keep us from moving forward, ruin our lives and relationships.So, how can you feel ok about anger and not feel guilty after getting angry? Sometimes, it’s false guilt. Other times, the guilt is a good measure of anger mismanagement and over-reaction to anger. How can you determine whether your guilt is true or false? 

Here is a questionnaire you could complete after any incidents in which you felt angry:

1. Describe the situation which occurred.What was the issue?

2. How did I respond?
Did I talk harshly___, loudly___, disrespectfully___, critically___, in a threatening___ or judgmental way___?
Did I make character assassinations?___

3. Was my response measured,___ respectful___, tactful___, honest___? Did I keep to the issue described in question one? ___
I listened___
I paraphrased what was said to me___
I demonstrated empathy (put myself in the other person’s shoes)___
I stated my feelings in a calm manner along with the facts___

4. What could I have done differently?How could I have responded in a healthier manner?
Used more tact___
Been more respectful___
Kept the tone of my voice down___
Listened more___
Summarized what was said to me___
Showed more empathy___
Stated my feelings firmly but calmly___

Measuring whether your guilt is true or false:
In order to determine whether you did something right or wrong – score your questionnaire this way:
1. If you checked anything in question 2 or 4 – your guilt is probably right-on. You most likely should apologize.
2. If you didn’t check anything in question 2 or 4 but, checked many of the items in question 3 – your guilt is most likely false. Ultimately, for the Christian – God is the real judge of whether your guilt is true or false. Pray about the situation and ask the Lord to convict you if you have offended someone and should apologize.If you haven’t done anything wrong and your conscience is clear – don’t apologize but, stay humble. Take responsibility for your actions and let the other person take responsibility for theirs. If the other person says you were harsh or loud – you can apologize that your behavior offended them and that you didn’t mean to offend them.  

Learn some anger management skills to help you cope with these situations.
Listen to the podcast:

Is Anger Always Sinful?
Most religious people believe anger is wrong. Many don’t act on their anger when injustice is taking place. Learn what it means to ‘be angry and not sin’.
Click to listen

And anther helpful podcast: Talk-Out Your Anger!
“Most people tend to hold anger in or explode. Some use manipulation. Learn some no-guilt techniques to assertively express your anger and get your needs met without squashing others.”

See www.whatsgoodaboutanger.com for FAQs, Quick Tips for Managing Anger Podcasts, services  and resources.

**Gal 2:11-16  When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.  14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?  15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.  NIV  Gal 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong. TLB  Gal 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him in public, because he was clearly wrong.  TEV Gal 2:11 But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I protested and opposed him to his face [concerning his conduct there], for he was blameable and stood condemned. AMP_____________________________________________________________
© copyright 2022 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V 
What’s Good About Anger podcasts, blog, resources

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Blind Rage…

Question:
Hi, I haven’t been mad in a long time. I got my anger in control, until last night.
My spouse withheld information, I being a survivor, felt completely manipulated.
Is there such a thing as blind rage. Because I remember very little after 5pm lastnight. I dont remember going to bed, nothing.
I was mad when I woke up this morning, but I am scared I might of did something I should not have. I fight fair. My spouse does not. He says I am crazy, insane, my best friend lives out of state, so he tells me I have no friends, I am a loser.
I have never went out of control, from anger and this scares me.
Can you really black out with anger?? I guess you can? I dont do drugs or drink alcohol, so that is not in the equation.
Help me please understand what happened and how I can never do that again. I am scared and alone.
Blind Rage, that is all I can think. Please help me figure this out. I really need help. Anonymous

Answer:
“Blind Rage”… hummm… good way to describe the gut, physiological response produced by the emotional center of the brain (amygdala) when it is not kept in check by the frontal cortex of the brain. Hate to be so clinical – but, I think that’s the result when you respond to anger triggers without any intervention by the thinking/judgment part of the brain.

Yes. The response could also have to do with a “throw-back” to the past when you were abused and mistreated. All those memories and feelings return with full-force. But, since he is verbal abuser – your feelings of helplessness and shame from the put-downs came to the surface.
These are just some random thoughts. More importantly, blind rage can be controlled. And you need to talk and work more with your psychologist about this so it doesn’t happen again. Listen to the Road Rage Tirade! and Road Rage Remedy podcasts to gain more insight into how to retrain your brain for better control over anger! Read the blog post on Controlling Anger and Rage for more help.

By the way – you need to protect yourself from your husband’s verbal abuse. Verbal abuse on this scale will generally escalate into physical or sexual abuse. Verbal abuse will cause you much psychological and emotional trauma.

There is no excuse for abuse! Visit http://www.saferelationships.net/ for domestic abuse resources!
_________________
© copyright 2022 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V
Certified Anger Management Specialist-V with the National Anger Management Association; President, CounselCare Connection, P.C.
Anger Management Institute site, podcasts and resources

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Managing Conflict in Relationships

Listen to the most recent Quick Tips for Managing Anger Podcast – Say No to Angry Clashes:
Do you have problems with relationship conflicts? Do you often find yourself clamming up or fuming because people who disagree with you are disagreeable?
Learn how to be assertively tactful yet direct about your needs and viewpoints. These skills will help you effectively work through conflict and manage your anger in relationships!

Click to listen

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The Anger – Trust Connection

The Anger-Trust Connection podcast by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

How can you rebuild trust when you are angry with someone? Is there any hope? What needs to happen to break the cycle of anger and distrust? Here are some insights and tips for restoring broken relationships when your spouse or significant other lets you down.
“Did you ever wonder if there is a connection between “trust and anger”? 
Often, the reason we feel angry is because someone has let us down, disappointed or blocked our goals, betrayed us or used and manipulated us. When you feel let down, abused, humiliated by someone close to you – you realize that you can’t trust them to be responsible or be considerate of your needs and goals.  That realization causes you feel hurt and angry. Though it’s normal to feel hurt and angry – the question comes to mind: is there anyway to rebuild the trust and alleviate the anger?  

Trust is a necessary but, frail factor in relationships. Have you ever noticed that when people are angry with someone – they no longer trust them – they become cynical – believing the worst of that person and harbor anger towards them.

One of my clients once asked me what it means to trust another human being. She wanted to know how she should react when a spouse or significant other is dishonest, inconsiderate or having an affair. She wondered if it is possible to rebuild trust in someone who disappoints us greatly.

What does trusting someone signify?
Trust, in a practical sense, means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows and confidences and not abandon you. When that person fails you in these areas – the result is hurt and anger. Here are some factors to consider about trust and it’s connection to anger….”  Click to listen

© copyright 2022 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V.
CounselCare Connection, P.C. – Anger Management Institute
1200 Harger Road, Suite 602 – Oak Brook, IL 60523
630-368-1880

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Breaking Out of Anger…

Have you ever wondered what causes anger to rear it’s ugly head so quickly?  In our books I have talked about how expectations, self-talk and choices trigger and amplify anger.
Anger is ultimately a physiological and a cognitive response to certain triggers.  It’s different for everyone. You might be able to shrug-off some triggers such as –  a co-worker not listening to you but, fly into a rage when you can’t get your spouse’s attention.
What you tell yourself or the expectations you hold onto for other people and life goals will impact how you respond to those triggers. You then make the choice to act on the anger you feel.
How can you break out of this? How can you stop the yelling, sarcasm or hidden anger which entangles you in resentment and infects your relationships?
We teach the time-out skill as one of the best methods to stop anger from exploding or imploding.
“But, I don’t want to take a time-out when I feel angry”, you argue, “I want people to understand how they are wrong. I want to be understood. I want to get the problem solved.”
I hear these arguments from students and clients all the time. I can identify with these feelings when I’m experiencing conflict or disappointments.
The important aspect of this skill is that it stops anger from escalating. It stops the physiological fight/flight response we all have when someone or something triggers our anger.
When we take a time-out, we can implement some of the stress management or relaxation skills. During the time-out we can identify what is really happening and write out what we want or need. Maybe during the time-out we’ll discover that what we want is unrealistic or demanding. Or maybe we’ll find out that what we want is reasonable and necessary. Taking a time-out when we feel angry – can help us think through the issues and go back to the other person with one or two  requests or with an apology or with some options for working through our differences or misunderstandings.
So, why not take a break when you feel anger rising inside you?  A time-out will help you put a check on anger and check out whether it’s valid.
Listen to these podcasts: 4 Q’s to Disarming Anger
and Talk Yourself Out of Anger!
See all of the Quick Tips for Managing Anger podcasts at: www.whatsgoodaboutanger.com/podcasts.xml

Here are some resources to teach you skills for managing your anger: What’s Good About Anger? .
_________________

© copyright 2021 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

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Don’t Waste Your Anger!


What makes you angry? Disrespect, loud noises, unfriendly, self-centered people, put-downs, rude behavior, people who break the rules? Anger is normal and it is an energy which can help you accomplish goals. But, if you can’t detect your anger in the early stages – you may find yourself over-reacting when something or someone triggers you. When that happens — you’ve wasted your energy and your anger!

Question:

Awhile ago I cut somebody off in traffic and this person was upset. This person pulled up beside me at the next traffic light and I apologized but this person wasn’t having it. They started swearing and threatening me and usually in the past I would get out and this person would be eating through a straw for the next month. I couldn’t help myself but to start getting angry and yelling comments back at this person. Eventually we just drove on. Any advice to help me keep my anger under control next time? Anon

Answer–

Maybe you are dealing with guilt and wishing you had handled the situation with a ‘cool head’. What if you had done something differently and had been more aware of your own anger and triggers? We teach that — Anger is a normal emotion which can be redirected into healthy thinking and skills in order to achieve healthy goals.

Self-awareness: How about writing out the road rage event and identifying what you were thinking. Most likely, you had “hot self-talk”. Hot self-talk will cause you to react more angrily than you normally would. Maybe you began saying to yourself- “I can’t let him/her disrespect and humiliate me that way!” “I’m going to tell him off!”, etc. It’s time to start thinking differently.

How about considering what is going on with that other person. Maybe he/she has a mental problem or has had a very stressful day. Maybe you could have counted to ten and just kept silent knowing that yelling was not going to help and actually could escalate the situation.  How about telling yourself that “this person isn’t going to get my goat.” or putting yourself in their shoes. There’s a reason they got so mad – that doesn’t mean it was justified or acceptable but, you did cut them off.

The problem is that you could have provoked that person more with your rage. Your outburst may have incited you (or him) to cause physical harm.

When someone gets that enraged- it’s best to back off for your own protection. You don’t want the other person to control how you feel/act. He can’t think straight. You can’t think straight and you won’t solve the issue then. Road rage – any kind of rage – leads to violence. You don’t need to become one of it’s victims or end up in jail.

Write it out:
What physical feeling did I sense? (flushed face, knot in stomach, tense muscles, tightness in neck/chest, etc.)
What I thought (hot self-talk) –
How I acted (unhealthy behavior)-
What else could I think instead (calming thoughts)?
How else could I have responded (assertive/empathic action)?
How could I have used my anger in a healthy way?

Then, try out the new calming thoughts and healthy action the next time you get angry or someone provokes you.. Write out the consequences. What happened afterward? How did it affect you and others?
A healthier response will empower you to take control of yourself (thoughts and actions) so you don’t waste your anger!

© copyright 2021 Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V
CounselCare Connection, P.C. – Anger Management Institute
1200 Harger Rd. Sutie 602, Oak Brook, IL 60523
630-368-1880

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Anger Flare-ups!

Question: I will say that I do understand how to normally deal with anger, but what I’m trying to illuminate is that it seems to be flaring up a lot more often than what I consider to be normal for myself. I’m more frequently becoming instantly agitated or irritated by things that are, in essence, trivial, and a lot more irritated than what I’d consider normal even under aggravating circumstances. (E.G. sometimes I feel inclined to fiercely curse aloud when I misplace my keys, etc.) It’s like these days I have to exert even more effort to maintain the same level of control that I’ve always had.I’m pleased to admit that I don’t ever get angry with people or direct/displace my anger towards people. So, I do seem to at least have perfect control in social situations; I suppose I simply need to relax more around inanimate objects or something. Any suggestions?

Answer:

You may find stress management and changing your self-talk very helpful as it defuses the physiological response to anger triggers. Anger triggers the amygdala in the brain within 1/20th of a second.

Here are some steps and strategies:
1. Find out your triggers.
2. What do you say to yourself which tends to inflate anger? “I can’t believe I did that again!”, “life’s so unfair!” or “I’m not to let him/her get away with that” or “that’s so rude. I’ll pay him/her back.”
3. How can you change your self-talk? “so, I did it again. I’ll try to find a regular place to put my keys.” or “that person is having a bad day” or “I’m not going to lose my cool so I look like a fool”, etc.
4. Take a time-out/break and try to prevent or avoid triggers and think through how to solve the problem or be more assertive.
5. Learning deep breathing and relaxation is important to help decrease and interrupt your physiological response to angry situations.

Remember: The more you rehearse anger – the more it grows. And the more anger controls you. I believe you do have anger management skills. Since you do work on incorporating them into new situations. Hang in there. With determination – you will change!

© 2021 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V

Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC, Certified Anger Management Specialist-V
1200 Harger Rd., Suite 602
Oak Brook, IL 60523

630-368-1880

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