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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When Fear Masquerades as Anger – What To Do About It

We all get angry, though most of us will instinctively deny the fact, for it’s shameful to lack that sort of control. Some people’s anger is so well cloaked it lays dormant until just the right trigger exposes it, as they fly in a moment to incalculable fury.

Others are more even paced in the frequency and discharge of their frustrated emotions.

The Physiology of Anger

Behind the anger is fear; for whatever reason.

Anger, we should also know, is a substitute emotion. It presents when we’ve passed over the base emotion disclosing our inner, even childlike, fears. (We have, until the day we die, these core emotions of a child. Included here is our woundedness and our propensity for fun.)

Anger attempts to protect our fear, but the response is ironically awkward, unguarded, immature and rebounding.

Anger, then, is secondary to our inner fear, and the ‘beautiful’ very certain sign of what we’ve just missed. Even better to note the signs of these boiling emotions—registering interest in those intrinsic emotions before the vitriol spills over the edge in the effect of our noxious words and belligerent actions.

It is posited here that anger is predictable. We can cater for it before it’s too late.

Knowing Thyself

This is where knowing ourselves—and particularly the length of our fuses—helps.

But not just that; we must know our triggers-to-anger and we should also develop re-channelling strategies so we don’t miss the vital nuances of our child emotions.

It’s the adult within that placates the child deeper inside us, not denying the child, but validating him or her, for emotions always present for legitimate reasons. The more adult we can be, the more blessed our life outcomes.

Knowing ourselves is accepting ourselves—it’s not much more complex than that, really.

Revisiting Our Propensities and Bouts of Anger

If we venture back honestly over our last week or fortnight, we’ll have no problem identifying a situation where we either felt tempted to get angry, or we let fly.

Learning about what led to those emotions makes for intriguing intelligence. We can use such information to plan to prevent, or circumvent, the next time.

Noted with special interest is what fear drove the anger. This is an intriguing study.

If we became angry with an inconsiderate spouse, chances are we’d be fearful of becoming (or being) the doormat if we just accepted what they did. If it was children not doing their homework, the fear might be them failing academically and being disciplined or disadvantaged for it.

Predicting anger is planning for it; denying it’s not helping anyone.

Our main objective should always be to prolong our deliberation, so our higher mind has time to rescue the reptilian brain from regretful action. If we’re to get angry, let it be a reasoned choice... in other words, for healthier indignation.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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