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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

The Usefulness of Anger

Anger as an emotion is often misunderstood. It gets a bad wrap. We might feel guilty or ashamed of our own anger, and it can be hard to sit with—or to be the recipient of someone else’s anger. But anger is part of being human and can even help us grow if we‘re ready.

Anger is Not Aggression

Anger is a feeling. It affects us emotionally and physiologically. It can make our heart beat faster and give us a feeling of strength in our muscles. It’s part of our survival system—fight, flight and freeze. But anger is not aggression. While Anger is a feeling, an experience, aggression is what we do with that experience, how we react to it, our behavior. Aggression is toward ourselves or others is not healthy and is destructive to ourselves, others and our relationships with others.

Anger is an Important part of our GPS system

When we experience anger, that’s our survival system—our central nervous system telling us that somethings wrong. It’s often letting us know that we’re not okay with something—that a boundary (something we need to feel physically and emotionally safe) is being pushed or violated.

Anger is is what’s known as a “secondary emotion”, and from this perspective, it could be letting us know that we’re feeling another way—sad, disappointed, anxious, worried, embarrassed, ashamed. In this way, anger can teach us about our “hot button” issues or vulnerabilities (we all have them!).

The Usefulness of Anger

When we are able to sit with our anger, to explore it, to move past shame and guilt, and to listen to it, anger can teach us about ourselves. When we can get to know what kind of situations trigger our anxiety, we can begin to understand and put into words the things that we need, both from ourselves and others. We have greater access to a fuller range of emotions that may have been overpowered by anger in the past. And that can Help us to gain more mastery and confidence in all our feelings and allow us to live more freely.

Perhaps the greatest gift of anger is that it can be a powerful motivator for change. If you are struggling with anger, it could mean that you’re (getting) ready to make some important changes. It might sound simple to “listen to anger”, as I suggested, but the reality is that it’s hard work. At Creating Space Counseling and Wellnes, I can help you get to know your anger without judgement or fear, so that you can figure out what you need and what changes you might want to make.

Call Creating Space Counseling and Wellness to get started today! 856-281-1664


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