Why and how do we show anger?


"Those of us who are whole are born with the potential to feel and to express anger. But the things that make us angry and the ways we feel and the things we do when we are angry are not the same for all of us. The particular, individual ways in which we respond are learned", page 19 of The Angry Book by Isaac Rubin published in 1969 by Collier Books.

Recognizing anger


When we admit loss or suffering we often feel anger. Since many of us have difficulty identifying and admitting anger we often blame others without recognizing the connection. Blaming helps us to feel free of guilt and to express the anger we feel from loss or suffering. Being angry can make us feel "high" and can turn into an addiction. The emotion of anger when frequently used produces hate. It is vital to us and others for us to learn to express our anger without offending. We should learn to control our anger. We can be angry without sinning. But, we are not born with this skill, we have to learn how to control anger.

The Process


How many of us have felt used? It hurts to have been a friend, to have helped them, and then to have been used by them for their own satisfaction. Some will say, please just help me with this, my friend, and I will be there for you. Feeling used presents the opportunity to go through the process of coping with a loss and then coming to joy.

Nell and Sarah


Denial, bargaining, blaming, and anger are often used in a different order from the one described by the clock. Sarah and Nell were friends from high school. Sarah kept Nell's children frequently on week-ends and in the afternoons. Nell always said, "I will keep your children anytime you ask." Sarah seldom asked Nell to keep her children but when she did, Nell was always "busy". Sarah began to feel used after so many times. Finally Sarah decided she would be "too busy" and refused to keep Nell's children. Nell was furious because she had come to rely on Sarah and had never tried to get anyone else. Nell was denying that she was the one who was not keeping her word and that it was her own fault this arrangement had failed.

Management of anger


We should take the time to think it through before we speak or show our anger to others. It is incredible how only a few hateful words can upset our world, making us feel small and inadequate. When we put this powerful emotion, anger, to a useful purpose we will feel much better than when lashing out at others. Taking a slow walk, weeding a flower bed, doing a household repair will vent feelings and turn this emotion into something productive. Mulching leaves will dissiapte "bushels" of anger. The anger may still be there but will have subsided and the tone of voice and body language will not be as aggressive. The source of anger and its meaning can then be expressed more effectively. People cannot understand nor learn if they are approached with raw uncontrolled anger. Unbridled experession of anger usually causes fear in the bystander. This prevents our concentrating on the cause of the anger.



Anger can easily ruin friendships just as betrayal will. Janet and Sheila had been very close friends at work for years. They had shared the sorrows, worries, fears, and joys. Janet told her many things that she didn't want anyone else to know, thinking all the while that Sheila was her friend and could be trusted. All this time, Sheila was telling Janet's thoughts all over the work place. A woman who Janet had helped through tough times finally told Janet that Sheila was not her friend, having told everything she had promised not to tell. Several more coworkers admitted Sheila was telling Janet's past. Janet's first reaction was of disbelief and hurt, then anger overwhelmed her. She wanted to tell everyone all of Sheila's secrets which she had kept confidential. But Janet realized that would be "stooping" to Sheila's level. By saying nothing Janet let everyone at work know the quality of Janet's word and character. Anger can produce hurt and hate and often takes control of the one expressing the anger. Anger can consume us but anger can be controlled with love and prayer.

Example of undeserved anger


A turning point came in the life of the author, Harold, when he went with his then teen son to pick up a repaired car. The gargage attendant left the unattended car in a dark parking lot with the keys in it. On discovering this Harold "threw a fit" in front of his son and the garage personnel, who were not the ones responsible for the mistake. This caused such deep reflection by Harold that he was able to change his whole management of anger with the help of Isaac Rubin's "The Angry Book". Often we come to the point of blaming ourselves either justly or unjustly. "If I had only stopped to think I would not have said that." "I am angry with myself and in fact I am worthless." "If only I had done things differently, everything would now be fine." We often make mistakes and go through this stage. If we say we do not make mistakes we are in denial of the truth. This is why Jesus died for our mistakes. It is very difficult to believe that God can forgive us, therefore, hard for us to forgive ourselves. We must remember parents easily forgive their children when they make mistakes and ask for forgiveness. We are God's children and he readily forgives us in the same way.

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