WHY AM I SO ANGRY?
By Reydon Stanford
Anger can be a deadly emotion. A person living with unresolved anger can experience great mental pain, resulting
in long-term unhappiness, deep depression, enormous stress and even a shortened life span. It can undermine relationships,
make us a social outcast, and leave us feeling alone and with little joy or hope in our lives. Continued, long-term anger
can cause stress levels to remain so intensely high, that it can even result in physical illnesses, some which could ultimately
lead to an early death.
While almost every emotion a human experiences
can cause great pain at some point, I personally believe that none are as counter-productive and painful as extended anger.
An angry person can live a life of compulsion, reacting on a whim, to any event they perceive as personally against them.
They can built thick walls around themselves, guarded day and night and ready in an instant to "blow their top"
at the first sign of a perceived injustices. These actions can obviously leave them feeling lonely and alienated as society
tends to distance themselves from the ongoing angry outbursts.
anger is a common part of the human experience...for some people, it can become a reoccurring nightmare of misery and deep-seeded
pain. In fact, I believe that many people are addicted to anger...using it as a means of manipulation, vengeance and control
over others...even though they'd deny it or might not even realize they are doing it.
The bottom line is that anger is a painful emotion that can not only destroy it's victim...but can leave a mass
of casualties from everyone who strays onto it's path.
When anger goes
unchecked, it can destroy self-esteem, wreck careers, ruin relationships and bring years of extended loneliness and great
1. WHY AM I SO ANGRY?
As I said, anger is a very common human emotion.
Impatience, aggravation, frustration, and misery are it's constant companions. Picture someone sitting at a red light in traffic.
Let's say they are sitting five or six cars back and the lead car is experiencing mechanical problems, which means the line
is simply not moving. Suddenly, this person begins to feel angry that they are being "kept" from moving forward
by the actions of others. Their anger grows with each passing minute until they are verbally shouting at the other drivers
and may even resort to honking their horn. Most of us have been in this situation and it becomes a very uncomfortable emotion.
In extreme cases, some let their anger become so "uncontrolled," that they resort to violence known as "Road
Rage." Ultimately, however, it causes that person to appear to others as very immature and silly. In cases of road rage,
it can quickly make the angry person a criminal with dire consequences. All because the anger was not controlled.
So why are some people so angry? Anger, put simply is our emotional response to certain life
situations that we perceive to be unfair, intentional or somehow personally abusive to us. This can range from minor irritations,
(such as someone passing by without speaking), to rage where the angered person desires revenge and harm to come to the person
or persons they believed have wronged them. However, what most chronically angry people do not realize, is that these emotions
are counter productive to solving the problem, most times...making it extremely worse. The result can be a life that feels
totally unhappy and miserable.
2. ANGER IN CHILDHOOD
Anyone who is a parent has most likely
experienced a moment when their child experiences an emotional breakdown due to "not getting their way." We call
these events a "Temper Tantrum." When I was a child, these events would quickly be met with correction from my mother.
She would either paddle our behind or force us to lie down for a nap. It didn't take long for us to realize that such emotional
outbursts would not be tolerated and the punishment was much worse than not getting our way. It also caused us to learn to
deal with our emotional turmoil in a more positive way.
However, in today's
society many parents do not believe in spanking their children and I respect that decision on their part. Still, some parents
'give into the tantrum' and instead of punishing the child with a "time out" or any other such correction...actually
begin giving into the child in order to restore calm. What the parent doesn't realize is they are teaching the child that
the angry outburst is an acceptable way to get their own way. These children can quickly become 'experts of manipulation,'
and will use their anger when needed. At that point the child is leading the household. What's even more dangerous is this
behavior will quickly spread outside of the home. When the child's in a store and wants a toy or candy and doesn't get their
way...a public display of anger will ensue, embarrassing the parent. It can also extend into school, with playmates, all the
way through into their adult life, where by this point they have no learned ability to cope with their anger and it can become
disastrous to them socially and emotionally. It can hamper their ability to get or keep a job, hamper their ability to find
a healthy relationship and even make them a social outcast. Let's face it. Nobody wants to be around someone who is angry
all the time with a quick temper and a short fuse. It simply becomes to uncomfortable to those around it.
3. THE VICTIM MENTALITY AND IT'S LINK TO CHRONIC ANGER
Let's face it...we are all human and humans hurt other
humans. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not intentionally. One of the emotions that is stirred when we are hurt is anger.
In fact, anger is a common response to hurt. While anger can be used as a way to confront the hurt and seek relief, there
is a fine line that can be crossed where anger is not used to confront and heal the situation, but is used as a way to seek
revenge and return the pain to others. This of course will only cause the situation to grow worse as people most often respond
to anger by becoming defensive, rather than trying to bring healing.
anger is a natural response to pain, but allowing that anger to become destructive to oneself or others is dangerous and counter-productive
to solving any problems. Again...it only makes them worse and the pain last longer.
In some cases, a person is suffering from a victim mentality where they believe that everyone and everything is
out to get them. They often believe that any act that is not in their favor was intentionally caused to bring them pain. Most
times there is NO CLEAR EVIDENCE that such events are taking place, but the person fully accepts them as fact and their anger
only increases. Over long periods such anger can lead to severe depression, a distancing of social interaction and emotional
4. NEVER EVER...EVER...EVER...LET OTHERS CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS
I will forever
be indebted to a dear friend by the name of Dr. Harry Gray who taught me so much about human behavior and psychology. One
of the most important things he ever said to me was, "Reydon, don't ever let SOMEONE ELSE control YOUR emotions!"
He went on to explain..."If I say to you, 'Reydon you're making me mad,' then what I'm really saying is 'Reydon YOU control
MY emotions,' which essentially gives you all power over me."
you see how brilliant that is? When we allow others to control our emotions we become a puppet, moved by whatever a person
says or does...or doesn't do. We have essentially given control of our happiness over to others. The same is true of circumstances.
If we allow every circumstance to control our emotions...we will never know peace and we will never know happiness. We simply
cannot control others nor certain circumstances. What we CAN CONTROL is how we respond to them. How we respond to them will
determine whether we end up feeling at peace...or consumed with long-lasting anger.
5. ANGER AND UNMET EXPECTATIONS
Another great instigator
of anger is unmet expectations. Let's say you plan a party for New Year's Eve, only to find out that most of the people you
planned to invite had already made other plans. You had planned and worked and envisioned a big party full of fun, laughter,
and people patting you on the back for such a job well done...only to have that dream shattered. How do you respond? While
it would be easy to respond angrily with quotes like: "I don't know why I try so hard for these people, they don't even
care!" Or..."They don't really have other plans, they just didn't want to tell me...so they obviously lied!"
Wouldn't it be more accurate to stop and think for a moment..."Maybe I let my expectations exceed reality. I shouldn't
have expected so much without finding out first whether or not such a party was feasible." The difference is a short
bout of hurt and anger, versus an extended bout of these uncomfortable emotions.
say a father of a teenage son was a gifted baseball player and won countless awards and championships. He can't wait for his
son to take the field for the first time so that he can relive some of his own "glory days" through his son. Sadly,
his son is not gifted in baseball and misses every catch, swings but misses every pitch. Suddenly, the father is shouting
at his son, angry and disappointed. The son's self esteem is shattered and the relationship is damaged. Who is at fault here?
Of course...it is the father who had expectations that were not met and he therefore became angry, lashing out at an innocent
We humans often envision how we want something to go, only to be disappointed.
Now I ask you honestly...is that our own fault or the fault of others? Truly, we cannot expect all of our dreams and visions
to work out as we had hoped or planned. Disappointment is a part of our lives. However, how we respond to our disappointments
is within our power...in the right here and right now. We can accept what has happened and learn from it, or we can remain
angry and unhappy. That choice is ours and ours alone. Happiness is our own choice as a state of mind and we cannot blame
others for "making us unhappy." The ability of the human spirit to rise above situations or unmet expectations is
enormous. Many people who have faced horrible abuse and circumstances in their lives have risen to find joy, forgiveness and
peace, in spite of it all.
6. WHEN ANGER TURNS TO BITTERNESS
When some foods have remained in a state of decay too long, they turn bitter. When people
remain in a state of anger too long, they also turn bitter. Bitter food is rejected and oftentimes, bitter people become rejected
as well, only adding to the immense pain they are already feeling as a result of the anger.
Simply put...bitterness is unresolved anger. Anything left unresolved is left to rot rather than get well. Bitterness
is a horribly dark place for any human to live. The beautiful thing is that no one has to remain bitter, there is hope for
moving from bitterness toward healing. Words like forgiveness, (both of self and others), acceptance and thankfulness are
powerful for a reason...they work.
7. LETTING GO OF THE ANGER
Yes, it's that simple. Anger is an emotion we are HANGING ON TO. Therefore, letting go of
it is the answer. If someone (or many someone's) have hurt you. Forgive them. Let them off the hook. Open your heart and hands
and let your anger go. Choose to feel better about your life by not holding onto anything that is making your life, your mind
and your heart miserable.
I've often heard people say, "I just can't
forgive them for what they did to me, and if I do, they have gotten away with it." The problem with this statement is
that is doesn't solve the emotional turmoil. Holding onto pain from offenses, (whether real or imagined), steals our chance
for healing and peace. While we can't control what others have done to us, we can control how we respond to it. I too have
had times when I've been emotionally hurt so badly by someone that it took time for me to recover from it. At some point,
however, I realized that I had to put the wrong into the hands of God, and let it go from mine, or I was going to remain hurt
We truly have to realize that it is a CHOICE BETWEEN FEELING
BETTER AND GETTING WELL versus staying miserable. It's not about making someone pay or not, but allowing ourselves to get
Sometimes, we need some help in working through our emotions. Visiting
with a counselor or other professional who can help us see the problems more realistically and in perspective can help. Many
times when we're hurt and angry we want to tell it to others, not to find relief but to find allies who will take our side
and carry our offense or hurt. This is certainly not helpful. Remember, you don't need allies to your anger, you need and