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ANGER IN RELATIONSHIPS: Helpful Steps to Dealing with Anger- 1

Many people have failed to acknowledge, accept and understand the God-given emotion of anger. Most people instead of naming the emotion and facing it head-on as a fact of life, they rather try to sit on it, shut it out and silence it. Webster’s dictionary defines anger as “emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure.” When we experience anger, our mind and our body prepare to act, it involves physical and emotional energy. It is however up to us whether we use that energy in constructive ways or use it to abuse ourselves and/or those we love.

The emotion of anger can provide tremendous energy to right wrongs and change things for good. But when we allow anger to actually control us, it can lead to negative destructive actions such as emotional, verbal or even physical abuse and violence. There will always be times when you will be hurt in any intimate relationship, and this will no doubt lead to anger. One negative effect of anger in humans is the tendency to want to revenge, and anger can also easily distort our perspective, block our ability to love and as a result limit our ability to see things clearly. Mayo Clinic Staff in an article titled
‘Anger Management’ said “anger is normal and even healthy- but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships.”

Anger is not necessarily a sign that your relationship is doomed for failure; it is an emotion that we all experience and it signifies that something has to be done. Anger creates an awareness that there’s a problem, how you deal with your anger can become a very giant aspect of the problem. For some couples, anger can make it almost impossible to figure out what the problem is and how to get it fixed. Anger is to our lives like a smoke detector is to a house, like a flashing yellow light is to a driver and like a warning light is to a car, but each one serves as a kind of warning or alarm, they say, ‘Take caution;
something might be wrong.” Always remember that anger is energy; we can either spend that energy or we invest it. We can choose to harness and control that anger- energy in healthy, positive and very constructive ways, this is actually what this article is all about.
Martin Luther King said, “when I am angry I can write, pray and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened and all mundane vexations and temptations gone.” Here are some simple constructive steps for dealing with anger in your relationships:

1. Be aware of it- One of the many myths regarding anger is that if a person doesn’t appear on the outside to be angry, then they don’t have an issue with anger and they are clearly not an angry person. This belief isn’t always true at all, a person may not appear to be an angry person on the outside, but he/she can be a battlefield on the outside. Mere looking at someone’s facial expression doesn’t really give you a true picture of what’s in the person’s mind or who he/she truly is, this is because the real you isn’t actually the container outside, but the content in your heart. How often are you aware of being angry? What are the possible situations that could make you vulnerable to anger? How does your body react to anger? How do you react when you’re angry?

2.  Accept responsibility for it- An author once said that one of the major effects of original sin is seen in our tendency to blame someone else for our problems. Learn not to shift blames, true maturity is demonstrated in willingness to accept responsibility for a wrong done. When we are angry, it is quite easy for us to blame someone else, to say, “it’s your fault; you made me angry.” This is very common, most especially in relationships. While it’s actually true that our partner could say or do certain things that causes hurt and frustration, we are one hundred percent responsible for our actions or response. If we are angry, then it’s our anger. If your anger is your own, then it follows that you are absolutely in control of your action or reaction. Accept that you’re in control.

3. Determine at the onset who or what is going to have control- When we are aware that we are angry, we are then confronted with a choice. We can either allow the emotion of anger to dominate and consume our entire being and control us, or we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, choose to control the anger and invest the anger- energy in a healthy way.

We cannot control ourselves when we experience anger, but with God’s help, we can choose how we express the anger.

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