It is usual for everyone to feel angry and cross at times in their life but what is crucial is how these emotions are expressed in a safe way for you and others around you. You may be feeling all different kinds of emotions as a result of the abuse you have or are going through. This is natural, your boundaries were or are being violated and the immediate response could be one of anger. Anger is an emotion that is felt in response to feelings of unhappiness when faced with a situation, experience, event or action that you do not want.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to manage your anger.
Your body will give you physical signs you are becoming angry such as:
- Increase heart rate
- Your breathing will speed up or you may find it difficult to catch your breath
- Your body temperature will rise making you feel hot and sweaty
How you choose to deal with your anger may be different to how your friends deal with it but what is important is to express it in a way that does not cause harm to you or others around you.
When you find yourself in a situation where you can feel your anger building stop and consciously consider:
- Am I really angry with this situation or am I embarrassed, disappointed, let down? Sometimes we can misunderstand these emotions in a traumatic situation as being feelings of anger.
- How will my actions/words effect those around me or people I love and trust.
- What would the consequences be of my actions now.
- Take deep breaths
- Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place or situation that makes you feel happy and safe
- Remove yourself physically if you can from the situation
Do not drink, take drugs or pick up anything that could cause harm to you or anyone else. If you feel like you may harm yourself or another then dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- Develop an insight into what triggers you and actively consider alternative ways of how you could deal with the situation next time it arises.
- Pay attention to how you react to your body when you feel the anger rising – do you tense your muscles, hold your breath etc? When you know how your body reacts, try and stop the cycle. Take a deep breath, count to 10, take a time out and go for a walk or distract yourself away from the situation. Take time to really think about your response to the person or situation – this can sometimes help de-escalate the feelings of anger!
- Relax your muscles when you feel them beginning to tense up.
- Go for a walk or do some light exercise if you are able to.
- Think about whether you are really angry or if there are underlying feelings – embarrassment, hurt, guilt etc.
- Keep a journal and write down your feelings – this can be an effective way of de-escalating your feelings and in doing this you may come up with solutions or different approaches to dealing with the situation or person.
- Write an unsent letter. This will allow you to express your feelings and emotions about the person or situation in a healthy and safe environment.
Throughout life you will come across situations, events and people that will create episodes of conflict – do not be afraid of conflict. What is important is how you deal with the situation. Constructive ways of approaching these conflicts are healthy and necessary in life. Think about different approaches you can try to resolve the issue and if one doesn’t work try another.
If you feel that nothing is working for you then turn to somebody you trust and ask for help.