In addition to these Seminar notes a Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation may be downloaded.
Anger: An emotion that says "something is wrong". It can be expressed to tell others about your personal limits, values, rules and boundaries. The respectful expression of anger is an important way to educate others about how their behaviour affects you. It can result in mutual respect between you and another person.
Hostility: An attitude that contributes to the violation of another person's rights, values, rules or boundaries. This attitude can include ruminating or brooding about another person's real or perceived injustices toward you and ways that you can "get even" with him/her. This attitude leads to feelings of powerlessness. It can often lead to aggression or withdrawal as a way to punish others.
Aggression: A behaviour, acted on with the intent to harm others, either physically or emotionally for real or imagined "wrongs" done to you. This behaviour always results in disrespect for yourself and the other person. It creates distance between you rather than bringing you closer.
BLAMING – "You did this," name calling, put downs, not taking responsibility for yourself and what you feel, getting down on the other person's case, the response you get from others is usually defensive.
SARCASM – Devious, ambiguous, and hostile joking at someone else's expense, you are not vulnerable and are taking no risks since you can deny that you really meant what you said.
VIOLENCE – The more pain that you feel inside, the more the potential for violence directed outward, often seems like an uncontrollable volcanic eruption (although violence is a conscious decision), may come in part from suppressing and not expressing anger and the primary feelings underneath.
VINDICTIVENESS – Actions taken so that you do not feel "one down", revenge, getting even, getting back at others for real or imagined "wrongs" done to you.
VICIOUSNESS – "Going for the throat", "hitting below the belt", taking advantage of another person's vulnerability, betraying another person's trust, taking pleasure in causing pain in others, intentional cruelty.
PUNITIVENESS – "Punishing" others for what they did to you, "teaching someone a lesson" so they won't repeat the behaviour you dislike.
AGGRESSION – Pushiness, intrusiveness, bullying, being rude and abrasive, giving orders and commands, completely ignoring what others think, feel and want, disregarding the other person totally, violating others' rights.
SULKING – Passively punishing others with a silence that is hostile, controlling, ominous and threatening.
MANIPULATION – Used to control others indirectly, a way of getting what you want without having to ask for it straightforwardly.
SCAPEGOATING – Yelling or screaming at the kids, your partner, or your pets instead of figuring out where your anger is really coming from and directing it there, taking out your anger or your primary feelings on "targets" who do not deserve to be "dumped on".
If we have any national fault, it is hiding our own anger from ourselves. Here is a checklist to help you determine if you are hiding your anger from yourself. Any of these is usually a sign of hidden unexpected anger.
This is not about rage. Rage is anger out of control and taking over your whole being. This is about the feelings we call "irritation", "annoyance", "getting mad", etc. All these negative feelings share one thing in common; they are considered undesirable at best, sinful or destructive at worst. We are taught to avoid them; to avoid having them if possible (it is not) but certainly to avoid expressing them. Unfortunately, many people go overboard in controlling negative feelings; they control not only their expression, but their awareness of them as well.
Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out of the stove in unintended ways...around the door, through the grate, etc. choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal (human) expression of anger is gross physical movement and/or loud vocalisation; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometimes. We learn to "be nice" which means (among other things) hiding the "bad" feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be "civil". Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed "bad" feelings, we go the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are. Such self deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger "leaks out" in inappropriate ways, some of which are listed above.
The items in the list are all danger signals that negative feelings are being bottled up inside. It is true that each of them can have causes other than anger (procrastination for example can be due to an unreasonable fear of failure) and the presence of any of them is reason enough for you to look within yourself for buried resentments. If you are human, you will find some. If you're fortunate, you will find few, since you will have learned effective ways of discharging them. If you are like most of us, you will need to unlearn some old habits before you can learn new ways of handling "bad" feelings – ways that are constructive rather than destructive.
Getting rid of a lifetime accumulation of buried resentments is a major task. This information is to provide you with some techniques, which will help you, stop adding to the pile, whatever its existing depth.
The process of dealing with negative feelings can be divided into three parts for purposes of discussion, although the living of it is all of a piece. The parts are:
Here is a review of some basic dos and don'ts to keep in mind when you are feeling angry.
1 Corinthians 11:31 – "But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world"
Proverbs 4 – Another chapter on how to know yourself.
1 Corinthians 2:11 – "For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God".
Job 36:13 – "The godless in heart cherish anger; they do not cry for help when he binds them"
Job 36:15 – "He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity"
Job 36:21 –"Take heed, do not turn to iniquity, for this you have chosen rather than affliction" Proverbs 22:8 "He who sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail."
Proverbs 29:22 – "A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger causes much transgression."
Proverbs 14: 17 –"A man of quick temper acts foolishly, but a man of discretion is patient" (warning sign of misuse of anger)
Proverbs 14: 29 –"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly". (warning sign of misuse of anger)
Psalm 4: 4-5 –"Be angry, but sin not; commune with your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord"
Psalm 9: 1-2 –"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sign praise to thy name, O most High" (process of positive thinking)
Psalm 31:10 – "For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away" (Depression)
Psalm 37:8 – "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil"
Psalm 42:5 – "Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my held and my God" (Depression and how to combat it - hope)
Psalm 142: – (Depression – process of a sense of abandonment and resolution to unity and hope)
Genesis 31:36-43 – (Process of Jacobs anger – what was his core issue here) (see verses 1 and 2 as cues)
Exodus 4:14 – "Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well; and behold he is coming out to meet you and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart" (Gods anger – what he does with it)
Matthew 7:1-5 – "Judge not that you be not judged...." (Projection of anger – conversion of it)
Luke 6:6-11 – "On another Sabbath, when he entered the synagogue..." (misuse of anger – what was going on for the Pharisees?)
Luke 6:41-42 – "Or how can you say to your brother, 'brother let me"... (Projection of anger)
When someone gets angry with me I - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When I get angry with someone, I - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When I'm angry with myself, I - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If I really got in touch with my anger I'm afraid I would - - - - - - - - -
I can't get angry because - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I'd like to use my anger to - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What are my 'triggers' – the situations that cause angry thoughts and provocations? - - - - -
What old feelings are triggered when a button is pushed? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What is my usual response? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What are my beliefs behind my response? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -