ANGRY? Maybe your passion triumphs over your reason: Anger Management challenges in ordinary communication

Starting and maintaining a blog, I’ve been discovering, is somewhat like beginning a new friendship.
It won’t last, won’t thrive, if you don’t continue to nurture and grow it.

Just like with many new friendships, one of the challenges of keeping a blog going is that lots of attention is needed to keep it from fading away into nothingness.
It’s not the writing itself that presents that unexpected challenge. That’s the easiest part, at least for me. But, since I really enjoy writing, I hadn’t anticipated how difficult this nurturing would turn out to be.

I’ve been amazed by how many situations pop up as potential blog material, as I just go about my day to day life.
But – which ones should I chose? How do I sort out the many pieces of potential topics? What do I do with all the suggestions I get? How do I decide which of all these “gems” are most important (at least to me!)? And that’s where I start floundering. After all, this should be easy, people should be “getting” my point of view when they make suggestions, and, of course, there’s that blog, my new “friend” that keeps reminding me to pay attention! And, that’s when I start to get pretty irritable! And, that irritability has a tendency to manifest itself as anger in some communications.

Writing about what I do has become a passion for me.
So, why don’t I just make it happen?Considering my own struggle has helped me to identify one major cause of others’ difficulty with anger management in ordinary situations.

When we’re feeling passionate about our ideas, our way of doing something, it’s easy to think that everyone else will understand and agree with us.
Feelings get hurt when others just don’t seem to get it! Lately, I’ve been noticing that this combination of strong feelings, passion for a particular point of view, and the intense need to just be understood are the seeds of many intense arguments and feelings that overcome one’s common sense and learned skills.

When I mention that I counsel people who need some help with effective communication and anger management, I frequently hear about friends or relatives who really “should” make an appointment with me!
We all know (or are!) those folks whose passions are so intense that they have difficulty recognizing others’ opinions and whose ideas are not open to discussion. These are usually the people who we’d rather not disagree with, because they get way too angry and defensive. For these people, it often seems that anger rules most communication.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed that I’m very interested in how we talk to each other, how we use language, and how anger can often interfere with effective communication.
I firmly believe that most people don’t start out a conversation intending to turn it into an angry debate. And, I’m equally sure that most people would prefer to manage their anger and passions so that they can communicate more effectively.

However, usually reasonable people may act unreasonable when passion triumphs over common sense.
When the stakes are high, when stress is more intense, it can be so much more difficult to maintain control over feelings that constantly threaten to burst out.

So, what can we do to more effectively manage all that passion?
While there are usually no easy fixes, no magic wands, there are some things you can learn and do.

1) The first thing you should know is that angry responses that you might feel you can’t control may often be habits you just don’t know how to break.
But, behavior can be changed with some knowledge and effort.

2) It might help for you to find out why your anger is so easily triggered.
Life may have recently thrown you some curves, and your stress is high and more difficult to manage right now. Or, you learned long ago, as a child, that anger eventually works for you – even if you don’t like your behavior now that you are an adult. Another possibility is that you may carry so much old pain and anger that you have difficulty separating out and managing your feelings about even the small things that go wrong in your life today. Keeping a “feelings journal” can help you figure out what triggers your anger and how you learned to react the way you do.

3) While there are many effective strategies that can help you to manage your anger, techniques alone may not always give you the long term help you need.
If the stresses that are triggering your current anger seem to be temporary, just understanding what’s happening and trying out some anger management techniques may be of great help to you. However, if your struggles are based on an accumulation of events in your history, things that happened to you as a child, other traumatic events in your life, those strategies may not be enough. If that’s the case with you, You might want to consider getting some counseling to help you sort out those unmanageable feelings.

4) Please browse this blog. I offer lots of tips for managing anger and for communicating more effectively.
I encourage you to take a look at these tips and see if any of them work for you.

While I have lots of potential blog topics for future use, I’d be very interested in your feedback.
What are the issues you struggle with? How do you manage your own or others’ anger? Is there a particular issue you’d like me to comment on? I respond to all emails and would love to hear from you.