My last several posts have focused on anger – what it reveals about us – its good qualities and its potentially destructive impact on families and relationships when it is out of control.
Years ago, I created a handout on anger that was part of a class I was helping develop and write. The following is an edited version of that handout that helps summarize in a small way this complicated and complex emotion.
ANGER IS GOOD WHEN:
- It helps us make constructive changes
- It allows us to communicate how we feel
- It enables us to be assertive
- It helps us establish safe, personal boundaries
- It gives us a sense of control versus helplessness
- It serves to establish the rights of self and others
- It starts the process of problem-solving
- ANGER IS BAD WHEN:
- It uses our energy negatively
- It keeps us from honestly listening
- It prevents rational thinking and discussion
- It turns into aggression
- It threatens and intimidates others
- It puts us and others into a defense/attack mode
ANGER IS DESTRUCTIVE WHEN:
- It becomes a habit
- It becomes a quick fix to our frustrations
- Its intensity does not fit the occasion
- It lasts too long
- It is used to hide other emotions and our insecurity
- It keeps us from thinking clearly and productively
WE CHOOSE ANGER’S:
We can replace divisiveness and anger by choosing to put our focus on working together to find solutions for our everyday conflicts. We can focus on what we have in common and use our time together in discovery and enjoying the things we like to do together. We can create a mindset where people are more important than positions and where we can use our energy to work on those things we agree on.
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