Anger Grows If Suppressed
In your relationships, you may be the one who hides their anger. Or you may be the one who lets it all out and then you wonder why people are angry at you! Anger will grow the more it is suppressed. Soon it shows in small ways, in how you look at someone or your tone of voice. It is a tension you can feel just below the surface. It may explode. But even the explosion is not enough to solve the problems.
Other people say “Don’t get angry. Especially now that I’m calm and ready to start over.” But you feel you’ve earned the right to be angry whenever you wish. You finally feel safe enough to express anger. You might tell them that. But silently you feel guilty now too. And guilt creates more anger. So now it’s a raging fire, worse than before.
Not only is the fire getting worse, but friends get tired of listening to you. Drugs, alcohol, and other distractions no longer work. We get sick. We get depressed. We pray thinking that God is angry with us for being human. Our family might be telling us that to feel anger is wrong. So now on top of anger and the guilt, we also feel shame.
You Should Be Angry
What we aren’t seeing here is the big picture. You do have a right to be angry. Bad things have been said or done to you. Even if later on you realize they weren’t so bad or you were mistaken, right now you feel bad. Or you are mad at someone for getting sick or for being an addict. Sure you’re mad. But you can’t feel sorry for them and loving, until you process your anger towards these unexpected trials.
Dealing With Anger In A Healthy Way
This anger causes you to act in ways that are inappropriate, with yourself and with others. You may be snarky and passively aggressive. Or outright impossible to talk to. You know you need to deal with it responsibly. So what can you do about the anger differently?
1. Figure out your beliefs about anger, and change them.
If you start feeling your anger, what is going to happen?
What do you believe about anger?
How does your family deal with anger? List each member and what they do.
With this exercise, you might find that you believe several false stories about anger: that it is not okay to feel, that it wastes time or energy to deal with it, that good people don’t get angry, that others make you angry, that feeling anger means the relationship is over or love is gone, that when you get angry, somehow you will always lose control.
2. Allow yourself to feel angry & burn off the anger energy
Although the anger feels like it is very strong and scary, keep in mind that it is just a feeling. So allow its energy to fill you. Be conscious and even welcoming towards it. Don’t tell yourself to feel shame for feeling anger.
There are harmless ways to release the energy. Go for a walk or other physical exercise. Use the energy to clean your house, your closet. Shout or scream where no one hears you. Cry or complain to a person who will allow and accept you. Write a letter to the person, but don’t send.
Use the Sunnah of the Prophet and the advice in our holy book to calm the fire of your anger, without misdirecting the energy. We are advised to use water, as in the wudu before prayer. Also, we should sit if standing, shifting our position to shift our focus.
3. Find the thoughts that are causing or coming up with the feeling.
You have thoughts behind the anger, and now is your chance to examine those thoughts. You might even find previous incidents that are related, and adding to your anger.
This is where keeping an anger journal is very important. Either on your computer or in a notebook, write about the anger, the thoughts, and the memories.
4. You are in control, not the anger
It’s only a rush of adrenaline. If you let the energy out, your mind will come back to your control. So refuse to be led by the anger. Furthermore, other people’s anger should not be scaring you so much. Watch out to see if you are walking on eggshells or otherwise changing your response because you fear anger so much.
5. Take responsibility for your anger. Don’t blame others, when every feeling is something you have chosen to feel. No one makes anyone mad. Don’t beat ourselves or others for feeling angry
6. Talk to people we trust
People do care, and talking about our anger helps us feel accepted and it also helps us to move on. Being able to talk about something calmly is a huge step forward. If you don’t know anyone, join a support group at your local school, church, community center, or online at a site like Emotions Anonymous.
7. Deal with guilt, hurt, sadness. These are connected feelings and should also be acknowledged.
8. Decide on a good response…
…where you figure out what you need from the person you are yelling at, and just ask them for what you need. If they can’t give it, the next step is to take care of your needs in another way.
Do You Want More?
This week’s issue of Leading To Love Inbox Magazine features this article PLUS
…A Message from the Editor
Often “teaching is learning”, and in doing work on myself, I have found anger is coming out as well as grief! So before we get carried away by this equally legitimate energetic emotion, let’s talk about managing anger. All our feelings are valid. The challenge is how to welcome them.
…Inspiration of the Week
…Wise Words Quote
…A Love Tip Post
Jehan founded this magazine and site to help Muslim women and men learn to stay away from abusers, to strengthen their relationship with Allah SWT and to find better healthier relationships.