Venting anger is usually an aggressive act. Often the individual expressing anger thinks he or she is simply reacting to a real or perceived injustice. They may blame the one at whom they are venting, assigning to that person’s actions the justification for the outburst.
No one can “make us” get angry. The events or behaviors of others are a stimulus, to be sure, but we, and only we, are responsible for how we respond to that stimulus. When we choose anger, we are attacking the other.
This is not helpful for a few reasons:
1) the person most likely did not intentionally set out to upset us,
2) we may have misinterpreted their intentions or motivations,
3) anger causes the other to distance from us,
4) anger generates defensiveness from the other, or a counter-attack,
5) anger diminishes the level of trust between individuals.
An angry response usually means that the individual does not have more sophisticated skills for dealing with the situation. There are plenty of resources in the library, bookstores, and on the internet with strategies for communicating more effectively. If anger is your default program, its time for an upgrade.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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