This article was written by Albert J. Dytch, MFT and you can find the original posted here on his site.
Myth #1: “I get angry. That’s just the way I am.”
Reality: First of all, feeling angry and acting angry are not the same thing, although one typically leads to the other. Second, angry outbursts—and, to a great extent, angry thoughts and feelings—are responses you learned. You can learn new ones.
Myth #2: “Certain people and situations push my buttons. Whether or not I get angry isn’t entirely up to me.”
Reality: Anger is a choice. You make yourself feel angry by the interpretation you place on events and behavior. Think about it: not everyone gets mad about the same things you do.
There are other problems with this myth. Placing blame outside yourself keeps you from taking responsibility for your feelings and actions. It also puts your peace of mind at the mercy of circumstances rather than within your own grasp.
Myth #3: “When I feel angry, I have to get it off my chest. Then I feel better.”
Reality: Perhaps more than any other myth, this one demonstrates that anger is a bad habit. If a practicing alcoholic says he feels better after a few drinks, would you believe that drinking is good for him? Subjectively, you may feel better after you blow up. But:
- Getting angry is bad for your physical health. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase, which can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
- Blowing up when you feel angry makes it easier to blow up next time. You build a neurological pathway that makes it harder to stay calm. Exercising, relaxing, and talking things out are better alternatives.
- You may experience temporary relief, but the people around you will probably feel worse. They may come to fear you, dislike you, distrust you, and avoid you.
Instead of losing your temper, find out what feelings are beneath the anger—for example, you might be feeling frustrated, hurt, afraid, disappointed, embarrassed, or helpless. Those are the feelings you really need to express.
Myth #4: “Anger is the best way I know to get others to do what I want. If I learn to control my temper, people will walk all over me.”
Reality: Anger frequently does get results in the short term. That’s why it’s such an easy habit to develop.
But in the long run, it pushes people away. Rather than respond to your requests because they like and respect you, the people you intimidate will do what you demand because they fear you. And, over time, you’ll probably need to act even angrier to get the same results.
Myth #5: “So the solution is never to get angry.”
Reality: Not true. Everyone experiences angry feelings, and everyone needs to cope with them effectively. If anger causes problems in your life, you need better tools to manage it.
~This article, in it’s entirety, was written by and posted here with permission from: Albert J. Dytch, MFT