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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Anger & a Pitfall of Denial

It can be anger, it can be jealousy, resentment, shame, etc.

When we deny the existence of any of our emotions – we block their release. When I feel anger toward someone else and I deny that anger exist I block the release of it.

In the software development world some application development approaches refer to the software development process as having a full lifecycle. There is a beginning, development steps or iterations and an end, which is the final release of the software. If there was not a release in the process you would not have the internet browser you are using right now.

We may not be conscious of our emotions at this level, but there is a natural process to our emotions, a beginning, processing and a release. When we deny an emotion, in this case anger, the life cycle of the emotion is stopped somewhere in the middle.

The most profound changes I have made in my life and that I have seen in the lives of others begins with acceptance.

Fears Impact on Anger

There are many ways that fear can impact how we express or work through our anger.

One impact is that we allow our fear to shut us down. As children, expressing anger might not have been safe. In those environments children can learn to stuff their anger as one coping mechanism to manage what might be perceived as unsafe reactions from others.

As children this might be the only way to keep us from harm. Our anger is an important and powerful emotion in our lives. Unexpressed or unresolved anger puts a cap on our full capacity to create what we want in our lives (i.e., our needs met at home and at school, lasting friendships, opportunities to participate in activities, etc.).

As adults, using this approach to working with our anger can continue to have significant impact. Where we had people that provided for us as children (even if traumatically), as adults we are dependent on our own abilities. As adults our skills for working with our anger can impact our families, marriages, friends, jobs, etc. 

Our anger has the ability to create and to destroy what we want in our lives. Although stuffed anger can create what we want in our life it tends to come at a cost, which may or may not be obvious to us.

Learning how to express and resolve anger can ease our fear of working through anger. The most significant impact on our fear comes learning from the healthy expression of our anger, allowing for experimentation rather than perfection.

I’m Not Angry

No, I'm not angry! Why would you think I am angry? What would I be angry about? No I am not angry, I just had something on my mind. Another response to being questioned about being angry might be no response at all. Denial can have many faces and that holds true for the negative impact of denied anger as well.

Denied anger tends to be toxic. It becomes toxic for the individual denying it and quite often to those around the individual denying their anger. The effects may not show up for days, months or years, but inevitably it does show up.

Denied anger can look like self alienation, loneliness, outward/inward hostility or hate, cancer, depression, inauthentic niceness, action or inaction with the intent or motive to hurt another, the list goes on. 

Ultimately anger that is blocked up, going unexpressed or unresolved blocks up a part of our energy that we could use to create what we want in our life.

Do you have or know someone with unexpressed or unresolved anger? How is it impacting or showing up in your/their life?

I welcome your comments or reactions below or in an email ted (at) pivotalgrowth.com.

Don’t Be Angry!

How does one "not be angry"? I can understand working through anger, but not feel anger? Anger is a natural human emotion. To be alive we are certain to feel anger and the other emotions.

I see parents that shame and threaten their children if they show any anger. In many work environments anger of any sort, including passionate expression is not acceptable. What can we do if we are not allowed to express or show anger?

Unexpressed or stuffed anger can have a stifling affect on us. In some cases it shows up as passive aggressive, a physical disease or emotional challenges. Anger that is not addressed in a healthy way can block the energy and aliveness that we have within us.

Allowing ourselves to feel anger can be critical to our ability to create what we want and less of what we don't want in our relationships and in our lives.

There are ways to work through anger that is unexpressed. The challenge comes when we neither express nor work through anger.

The Cause of Your Anger?

A common theme I have heard over the course of my life is "you or they made me angry."

Is that possible? Can I make you angry? Do I have the ability to reach inside your being and cause you to feel angry?

No. I cannot make you to feel angry.

Think about all the people you know. Do they all get angry about exactly the same things? No. Although we may have some common or similar "hot buttons" so to speak, we are likely different in several or many areas.

So who or what is the cause of your anger? You. Inside of you is the source and origin of your anger.

I welcome your comments & reactions!

About Anger

It can be verbal or nonverbal

It can be physical and nonphysical.

It can create. It can destroy.

It can feel good. It can feel bad.

It can create boundaries. It can break boundaries.

It can be strong. It can be weak.

It can start something. It can stop something.

It can be expressed openly and directly. It can be passive, withholding and/or hostile.

It can be constructive. It can be destructive.

And, anger in and of itself, is neither good nor bad.

It is one of the many facets of man that can provide insights and awareness into our wants and needs, likes and dislikes.

Question: What is your view of anger?