Many of us have been taught by parents, teachers and society that anger is negative. This is not quite true. It is when we act out of anger and behave aggressively that anger is negative and destructive. Feeling angry is normal, just like feeling joy, fear or sadness. Acting out our anger is when it causes pain and suffering. When we learn to identify angry feelings they become a useful warning system that something is wrong or that we have a ‘no’ to be expressed about something we are experiencing. Because so many of us associate angry feelings with being out of control or explosive, or with violent behaviour, we tend to squash our anger for fear that we will become an angry person ourselves.

Anger also hides in and behind many different behaviours and feelings; anxiety, self harming, withdrawing, sulking, blaming, depression, crying and even gossip.

How therapy can help with anger

If you feel out of control and your anger is causing you and others pain, therapy can help. Working with a therapist will help you understand your relationship to anger and will give you the tools you need to manage it effectively so that it works for you, not against you. When we stop being afraid of our anger, we are able to harness the information it contains and find constructive, safe and respectful ways of using and expressing it instead of turning our anger in on ourselves or hurting those we care about.

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