Anger affects more than just people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some people just seem to be wired to be more volatile. All of our life circumstances and experiences help us cope with the “stuff” that we encounter. We can learn new ways of dealing with whatever we experience or feel.
People dealing with PTSD are often also dealing with deep anger. Learning to “manage” anger is extremely important. Part of that process is gaining insight to what lies beneath the anger.
In today’s episode:
- Is anger “bad”?
- Quiet vs. Loud Anger
- Physical Impact of Anger (+ stress and fear)
- Can anger be managed?
- Analogies of anger: Diet Coke; lighter
- The Fuel of Anger
- PTSD and Anger
- Taking responsibility
Some quotes on anger:
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
Yoda on fear and anger …
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate … to suffering” Star Wars Episode 1
Is anger “bad”?
No. Anger is a normal human emotion. It is what we do when we are angry that brings most of the problems. It can have bad physical results on our health when it dominates our emotions. Consider these words of wisdom, “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26a (Holy Bible, New Living Translation). Mahatma Gandhi made a similar observation, “Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.” It is what we do as a result of anger that gets us in the most trouble. The Buddha on anger: “A man conquered by anger is in a mass of darkness.” Kodhana Sutta: An Angry Person
Loud vs. Quiet Anger (Aggressive vs. Passive)
Not everyone screams and shouts when they are angry. Sometimes passive aggressive behavior is rooted in anger. Also some people will hold it in and withdraw from relationships. It can show up in giving someone a cold shoulder or a fake smile. Anger may also be behind some self-destructive behaviors. Some may quietly literally feed their anger with food.
The Biological Reality of Anger (+ stress and fear)
Anger is a biological process…
Hormones and Steroids flood the body causing, among other things, a rise in blood pressure, decrease blood flow to the reasoning center of the brain (pre-frontal cortex). All this is part of the Fight or Flight response—very much like stress and fear.
Can anger be managed?
Yes! (Don’t miss next weeks episode when we discuss strategies we can do before during and after we are angry.
Analogies of anger: Diet Coke + Mentos(TM) (thank you Mythbusters); a lighter
The Fuel of Anger – What lie beneath?
Anger does not just happen. It is tied to deeper emotions. Most of us may rather admit we are angry than afraid.
PTSD and Anger
A great book on PTSD by Dr. Shay: “Achilles in Vietnam”
PTSD anger complicated by “What’s right” being violated. Trust is lost …
People may push our buttons; but they are our buttons.
Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel. – Author Unknown
Check out some other resources:
Understanding Your Emotions http://www.wire.wisc.edu/yourself/Emotions/Understanding_emotions.aspx
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