Ever been so angry you wanted to just scream – but didn’t? Ever have problems talking about your emotions? Stuffing emotions is painful. And we all carry around some of this.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to blow up on other people. You don’t have to suppress your emotions. You don’t have to be on high alert all the time. You can learn to experience and express anger and your other emotions appropriately without harming yourself or harming others. You can have enjoyable and safe work, social, and intimate relationships and still experience and deal with anger and your other emotions appropriately.
We’ve all been angry. And many of us, guys especially, have problems talking about our emotions or how we feel. Emotions are a huge part of being human. One emotion we all tend to have problems with at times is anger. It’s a natural and understandable emotion. The trick is to display and use anger appropriately.
What we often display when we’re stressed, fearful, sad, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, etc., is not that initial emotion but anger. It’s okay in our society for guys to show anger. It’s not cool for guys to show sadness, hurt, embarrassment, etc. That’s a sign of weakness. And it’s often not cool for women to show anger. It’s a huge and unfair double standard, but in both cases men and women stuff emotions and negative thoughts.
Imagine a jack-in-the-box toy. You’re turning the handle, winding the spring, and eventually, when you least expect it, the figure pops out. When you’re irritated, upset, angry, sad, hurt, embarrassed, etc., and don’t express that emotion you’re just like that jack-in-the-box toy. You’re winding up tension on that spring and also packing in suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. When the lid eventually pops open you blow up … on the wrong person, at the wrong time, and for the wrong reason. Sound familiar? I’ve done this and know lots of others who’ve done it too.
That’s one scenario. Now imagine what happens if the latch for that lid breaks. You can still turn the crank, add tension to the internal spring, and the toy will eventually break.
Our bodies do the same thing. The more suppressed emotion and negative thoughts we pack in, without any release, the more physical and emotional problems we can have – our bodies react and may break – leaving us with relationship and work problems, headaches, high blood pressure, poor immune response, poor digestion, irritability, poor sleep, chronic pain, frequent illnesses, depression, anxiety, shame, guilt … and the list can go on and on and on.
I work with people on triggers, buttons, social and emotional intelligence, and boundaries. By the time we’re done they’ve learned and practiced how to express themselves more appropriately, to understand and not respond to triggers, and have better social, work, and intimate relationships. In many ways they transform themselves and their lives.
Curious about anger, the other emotions we all experience, and how to express them appropriately? Check out our Resources page for several links that talk to emotional and social intelligence.