EP 202

Reader Question – How do I deal with anger?

Download EP:202 Transcript

What happens when we are able to change our relationship with alcohol – for the better – but some emotions emerge that we haven’t appropriately dealt with for a long time? How do I channel anger, specifically? Find out what Annie has learned from an actual anger management coach and how anger itself fits into our society. Learn some tips about how to deal with anger the right way.

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Why Anger?

The first thing is, I learned that anger is actually a secondary emotion. What that means is, it is a mask for another emotion. For example, say you feel angry with your children because they are misbehaving and being mean to each other, and that anger, it feels very real and it’s very intense. What that’s actually covering up is probably some sort of parenting insecurity about, what did I do wrong that these children are not well-behaved and nice people, and I feel like this is somehow my fault. So, there’s fear and insecurity there.

Underlying Emotions

Apparently, under almost every instance of anger, there’s an underlying emotion that is what you’re truly feeling that you’re covering up with anger, which I just found fascinating, and then I started to think about it with every time people in my family get angry or I’ve been angry, or every instance of anger, I’m like, oh, that’s true. The interesting part is that anger is actually a socially acceptable emotion, especially for men.

So, it is acceptable to be angry much sooner, socially, than it’s acceptable to show vulnerability, or to cry, or to feel threatened, or any of these other things. So, when we feel uncomfortable and when we feel vulnerable, when we feel insecure or when we feel threatened, we manifest that in anger very naturally and very easily because it’s socially acceptable because people get it. Oh, I understand being pissed, I understand being upset, whatever, and so it’s really socially acceptable. That’s why it can be difficult to deal with anger.

What is Underneath?

That’s kind of the background that I learned, which I just found completely fascinating since I didn’t know much about anger at all. But then, the advice behind that was to look, then, beneath for the secondary emotion and try to address whatever that is. It will always be there. You just have to put on sort of your sleuthing skills and figure it out. Then I also got, from the anger coach I talked to, I got some really tangible things.

How To Deal With Anger?

One is to change your state via your physical body. This just goes back to science and neurons and how your muscles work together. If you can change your state, physically, a cold shower, a run, screaming maybe at the top of your lungs and into a pillow or something, doing something physical, releasing something physically will release that anger, emotionally. I thought is really powerful. Equally, with the things that I deal with, anxiety, stuff like that, changing your physical state, even 10 jumping jacks just out of the blue absolutely does change your emotional state, which is really powerful.


The second piece of advice is to realize that anger is, in a way, somewhat self-indulgent. So, instead of addressing what’s really going on, you are coming through with anger. When you think about it that way, it’s a bit more of a protective selfish emotion. Just realizing that can really help you overcome it.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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