Do you know your Anger Type? Are you a Blamer, an Avoider, or a Blaster?
Do you know what fear does to create anger? Or anxiety, pain or expectations? Do you know what emotion is the cause of anger?
What about techniques? Do you know the “Stop” method, the “Cool Down” method, or the old “Count to 10” method
Once you know your anger type and have a proper collection of techniques, we are told, you will be able to manage your anger.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work to you, I want you to know that it sounds like a lot to me, too! It’s somewhat like learning a new language with which you are totally unfamiliar. In addition to a new vocabulary, you need to learn the intonations, syntax, sentence structure, and idioms! Not only is it likely to take a long time to learn it; but you will need to work hard to get all the aspects working together. Realizing this, how likely are you to take on this project? Not very! Most of us don’t like to take on work that already seems overwhelming, especially knowing we’ll have to keep up our efforts for a long time before we see results.
If you have been reluctant to learn anger mastery because you believe it is way too difficult and will take far too much time, I can understand your feelings!
Why is managing anger like this? Mostly, it’s because we are in the beginning stages of understanding, working with, and befriending all of our emotions, including anger. For many generations, we have run our lives with our brains, doing our best to leave our emotional side out. When children get angry, parents demand to know, “Why are you angry?” They seek an intellectual explanation of an emotional experience. So we stopped paying attention to our emotions. Quantum Physics tells us some subatomic particles are not visible until we pay attention to them.
Emotions work the same way
When we don’t pay attention to it, Anger fades into the background and seems to “disappear” inside of us until/unless something stirs it up. As we begin to pay attention to our emotions, we’re bringing them to our awareness, yet we’re approaching them through intellect instead of simple observation. Emotions don’t identify people as “Blamers” or “Exploders”! Emotions don’t perfect techniques. The brain does that. Emotions are powered by energy that “comes up” in reaction to our experiences. Emotions register anger, hurt, fear or love; they follow the path of least resistance and just “are.”
Most people today are approaching emotions through the intellect. It’s like if you had an illness in your brain and were referred to a neurologist. The neurologist can test, and then draw on past experience and the process of elimination to come up with a diagnosis based on collected knowledge. Yet, the only proof regarding the accuracy of the diagnosis requires continuing observation and treatment outcome. This could be a lot of work, yet resulting in a diagnosis that cannot be proven directly.
If, instead, you were referred to a neurosurgeon, s/he would go through similar testing, past experience and naming possible diagnoses. In addition, the illness could be verified by actually opening the brain and taking a look at the lesions caused by the illness, allowing for repairs, and giving direct proof of the accuracy of the diagnosis. This could be a lot of work, too, yet the course of the illness can be more effectively changed because of the direct, hands-on verification and treatment that is given. The diagnosis is confirmed by going to the source.
Looking at emotions through the intellect allows you to observe your “anger type,” to learn and utilize a number of anger-management techniques for your “anger type,” and to test yourself for a diminished “anger quotient”. You still, however, have not addressed the anger at its point of origin. You have looked at the “end result” of the anger triggering in you, made some changes regarding these symptoms, and now must continue “medicating” (through management) on an on-going basis, because you have changed symptoms and not bottom-line cause.
Or, you can deal with anger on an emotional level, which means allowing anger to come up in you when situations or people stimulate it, allowing yourself to feel it, addressing the bottom-line stimulus for that anger (the “universal cause”), making internal changes and then letting the anger go. This way, you won’t require continuing “management,” because you address the bottom-line cause and change that, dissolving the particular “cause” of the anger you experienced.
Which do you choose?
In past years, there’s been a proliferation of “Anger Management,” which is a wonderful step forward, yet is based on an intellectual approach to anger! The understanding and integration of anger can only go so far through this approach.
Furthermore, this approach is cumbersome (compared to what it can be) and takes a LOT of intellectual effort, yet still does not heal at the root-cause level.
Anger Mastery is more like the approach of the neurosurgeon, taking you inside to the origin of the emotional “lesion” and allowing you to change the dysfunctional structure you find there, substituting a more functional structure in its place. And Anger Mastery is not nearly as cumbersome because it doesn’t thread through the intellect. Instead, it deals with anger as it is, operating from the level of emotions.