The Anger * Emotional Health Series

What I have found is that, yes, we all have the right and need to feel and own our anger. It’s an important human experience. And it’s critical to recognize that maintaining any level of rage, anger, or contempt (that favorite concoction of a little anger and a little disgust) over a long period of time is not sustainable.  
Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempt to create change and forge a connection. 
It’s an emotion that we need to transform into something life-giving: courage, love, change, compassion, justice…..Either way, anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion.
Brene Brown 

Angry.  Who, me?

We like to pretend that anger's not an occasional or frequent companion.  We'd prefer to believe that it never rears its ugly head, that we are somehow immune from its presence in our lives.  Or as more than one client has told me, 'Good Christians don't get angry.'

Don't believe that lie.

God's no stranger to anger.  In the Old Testament, we see Him repeatedly respond to sin and evil, disobedience and injustice with wrath over His children's heart-attitudes and behavior ... matters of eternal significance.

Our anger usually erupts or leaches out over issues that don't matter in the light of eternity.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul writes, 'If you are angry, don't sin by nursing your grudge.  Don't let the sun go down with you still angry' {Ephesians 4:26 TLB}.

He acknowledges that yes, anger happens.  And we are obliged to responsibly deal with it sooner rather than later.


Actually, anger is a secondary emotion.

It's really about primary emotions such as hurt, frustration, fear.

Anger is a natural, biological response, a survival mode that God has created that occurs when we feel threatened.  As adrenaline escalates, a rapidly escalating process occurs that can quickly lead to a point of no return.  The good news is that we are able to make pro-active choices to interrupt that process and communicate our feelings and needs in ways that are healthy and respectful.

We must claim these two truths: 
I never have a right to hurt anyone unless it is in physical self-defense.


When I hurt someone inappropriately, it destroys our relationship and it also hurts me.

What to do?

STEP 1 - Acknowledge that you have an anger problem.

STEP 2 - Make the choice to accept responsibility for managing your own anger, instead of managing another’s behavior.

STEP 3 - Identify the feelings behind your anger.
Hurt, frustration, fear, feeling disrespected, whatever it may be.

STEP 4 - Identify the first physical sign of anger.
Dry mouth, racing heart, churning stomach, pounding head, clenched fists, raised voice.

STEP 5 - Quickly and quietly take a time-out.
At the first physical sign of anger, without a word, quietly leave the room for at least 20 minutes.  Make it impossible for you to show your anger to those around you.  Do something physical to reduce the adrenaline and release physical tension.  Take a walk, go for a run, or work out.  Do not get behind the wheel of a car.

STEP 6 - Cool down and process.
Sit quietly with God. Through prayer or journaling, talk with Him about what you’ve experienced.

- Acknowledge the situation, own your feelings and how you reacted.

- Ask for forgiveness for any reactions that were inappropriate, unhealthy, or unkind.

- Make a plan to respond in a more positive way the next time you feel hurt, frustrated, fearful, or disrespected.

STEP 7 - Re-engage, listen well, and communicate with love and respect.
Engage in positive interaction with your companion. The goals are to improve the relationship and to solve a problem.

- Use respectful words to communicate your feelings of hurt, frustration, fear, or disrespect.

- Use 'I' statements, not 'you' statements.

- Ask for forgiveness for your responses that were inappropriate, unhealthy, or unkind.

STEP 8 - Pray together.
If appropriate to the situation, this might be the hardest step of all.  But it certainly can be the most rewarding ... and bring the two of you together to talk with the only One who is able to equip you to communicate in ways that are Christ-honoring.


And if we dare pride ourselves in not making it a habit to fly off the handle, be aware that passive aggressive anger prowls around and makes itself disrespectful and obnoxious in the form of sarcasm, negativity, chronic tardiness, playing the victim, blame-shifting, button-pushing, and other destructive attitudes and behaviors.

I think it's fair to say that God is speaking to us all.  And the beautiful reality is that He is powerfully ready, willing, and able to give us 'everything we need for life and godliness' {2 Peter 1:3}.

I love that you're sharing this little Emotional Health Series with your Facebook friends and on your other social media spaces ... thank you, thank you!  And if you're new around here, I invite you to subscribe!



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