You know the cycle all too well. Something happens that you really don’t like. You automatically react in anger. Your reaction provokes a response. Before you know it, you are speaking and behaving in ways that you will later regret. In fact, the guilt will be overwhelming. Until, of course, something else happens that you really don’t like. The cycle will kick in again. Each time, it gets uglier and more intense.
What can you do to manage this problem?
The first step is to recognize and accept that you can no longer control your anger.
Uncontrolled anger may result in:
- Passive-aggressive behaviors like sarcasm and ridicule
- Abusive behaviors (verbal, emotional, or physical cruelty)
- Turning our rage inward to experience guilt, shame, resentment, and even depression
As discussed above, we’re talking about a cycle. With each revolution, this cycle gets worse. It may impact your health, your career, your social life, and much more. The solution begins with words like: “I have anger issues and I must get them under control as soon as possible.”
The second step is to enter an anger management program. This usually means a series of therapy sessions that take place over a predetermined time frame (4 to 6 weeks). You don’t need to be told that anger is a powerful emotion. Working with a professional allows you to dig right in and create a focused plan. The strategy and structure will guide you. In some cases, anger management is done in a group setting.
5 Ways Anger Management Helps with Uncontrolled Anger (and Guilt)
1. Define your problem
It begins with accepting that a big problem exists. From there, you must become aware of this problem’s impact on yourself and those around you. Some anger management programs may include loved ones in the process. They are, after all, always in the line of fire. You want to improve and stop hurting them. This journey starts with understanding your problem.
2. Recognize your symptoms
How does your uncontrolled anger feel to you? How does it appear to everyone else? Emotionally, you may feel:
- Irritated, sad, or depressed
- A need to escape the situation
- Guilt and resentment
- Shame and embarrassment
- A desire for revenge
Some of the more common physical signs are:
- Rapid heart-rate
- Raising your voice
- Increased sweating, shallow breathing, trembling
- Gritting teeth, clenching fists
- Rocking or pacing motions
- Abrupt, rude language
- Craving comfort food, sugar, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
3. Identify your triggers
Most of us have definite anger triggers. Certain things “set us off,” as they say. Identifying triggers allows us to understand them. It also enables us to better avoid them.
4. Adjust your perception
Why do certain things anger you? What role do you play in this process? Is your anger masking a larger, deeper issue? Through guided sessions, anger management can help you see the bigger picture.
5. Create your own plan of action
There are many options available to you. For example:
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation techniques
- Learning how to avoid situations that trigger you
- Self-care (being the best version of you)
It starts with a vision. See yourself as someone with a healthy anger response. Visualize it. Feel it in every cell of your body. With this goal in mind, work with your therapist on a step-by-step plan to make it your mission.
Again, the first two steps are recognizing the problem and then seeking help. The good news is that step two will enhance step one. Your anger management therapist will help you better understand your uncontrolled anger. This will make it easier to fully invest in the treatment and see lasting results.