Are Anger Problems Creating Feelings Of Shame, Insecurity Or Turmoil In Your Life?
Do you often feel irritated and struggle to communicate your emotions effectively? Are you constantly on edge, worried that something will set you off and that you won’t be able to manage your emotions? Perhaps you fear that you can’t control yourself and worry that an angry outburst will cause embarrassment and shame and make you seem crazy. Or maybe you have tried to keep your anger in check, but it’s bursting out in every direction, and you’re afraid that you might hurt someone or lose a significant other. You might struggle to find a balance between expressing your hurt and standing your ground. Have anger issues begun impacting your relationships at work and at home? Do you sometimes believe that if you let your guard down, you’ll feel powerless or out-of-control? Do you wish you could understand where this monster of anger comes from? Do you want to calm it down and live a balanced, peaceful and connected life?
Grappling with anger issues can be a confusing, stressful and even frightening experience. You might think that your anger isn’t legitimate and unfitting to the situation. Yet, deep inside you may have this burning sense of outrage that you are being ignored, discounted and shut down. You may try to keep your anger in a lock box, and get furious when the anger bursts out from that desperate part of you, fighting for your right to be acknowledged and attended to.
Perhaps you saw family members struggle with anger problems when you were growing up and worry that you’re adopting similar patterns, turning into the kind of person you swore you’d never be. Explosive words and/or behaviors might lead to overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame, impacting your sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem. Although you may be anxious to express your needs, opinions and emotions, you might struggle to do so and end up using aggressive or controlling methods to make your point. You might come across as a bully, when really you’re feeling soft, unsure and rejected inside.
Millions Of People Struggle With Anger Problems
If you’re struggling to control angry thoughts, feelings and behaviors, you are not alone. So many of us harbor angry feelings and thoughts, fantasize about letting it out and crushing whatever or whomever is hurting us, yet don’t understand why it has to come out this way. Maybe you turn your anger against yourself, hoping you can beat it out of you. Perhaps you try to manage the shame of it by expressing it in more acceptable ways like giving the silent treatment to someone you are angry with. There may also be times when your anger seems to leak out all over the place and is directed at people you care about and don’t want to hurt. Nothing you have tried works for you. You may be filled with shame, frustration and annoyance with yourself for not being more in control.
You probably don’t want to be labeled as an angry person, but it’s important to understand that anger is a natural and useful human emotion. Experiencing anger does not make you a bad person. In fact, you need anger as a defense. For instance, anger helps you assert your boundaries so that you are not treated like a doormat and ensures that you are not subjected to abuse. However, when anger becomes explosive, it can lead to loss of control, making you say and do things that you don’t recognize as “you.” My clients often remark that they feel as if they become another person after an angry outburst, and report feeling shocked that they have no control over that process. Your intense, distressing emotions are likely being triggered by underlying fears about being ignored, neglected, shut down and made to disappear, stemming from negative childhood experiences. So many of us grew up with parents or caregivers who did not provide us with the love, appreciation and attention needed to develop into emotionally healthy adults. An upbringing in which children are neglected, forced to take care of a parent, criticized or abused can create feelings of powerlessness, which often manifest through anger in adulthood. When we feel triggered as adults, what we couldn’t express in childhood now becomes possible because you are less dependent on caregivers for your survival. Long stored and repressed anger may now be released through micro-managing, controlling, withdrawing love and sex, silence, verbal abuse, or in more overtly aggressive ways, such hitting, punching, kicking, throwing things or in road rage.
The good news is that there is help and hope. With the aid of an experienced, compassionate and insightful therapist, you can get to the root of your anger and learn how to express and protect yourself in ways that are effective, emotionally healthy and get your point across.
Anger Management Counseling Can Help You Live An Empowered, Healthy Life
In safe, confidential sessions, I can help you realize that struggling with anger does not make you a bad person. Almost everyone has expressed anger in some way that he or she later regretted. However, anger is a normal human emotion, and in initial sessions we’ll work collaboratively to help you let go of any shame you may be carrying. As you are making peace with your anger, I’ll help you trace its root source. Together, we’ll identify where it comes from, explore what it’s all about and devise healthy ways to express your feelings and get your needs met.
In anger management therapy sessions, we will work in the present moment, which can help to identify triggers as they appear and allow you to notice and catch your anger at its inception, before it becomes overpowering and takes over. By tuning into sensations in your body, such as changes in your breath, an elevated heart rate or the tapping of a leg, you can learn how to recognize angry feelings at an early stage. As you build awareness, better understand your triggers and process the complicated emotional wounds underlying the anger, you can regulate your anger more naturally. Then you can use your rational brain to help you speak about your anger before it becomes hijacked by the emotional center of the brain and leads to unhealthy and shameful interactions.
I can also help you learn effective, healthy ways to negotiate for yourself as you develop appropriate boundaries. You probably find yourself getting frustrated trying to communicate with the same person in similar situations over and over again. You are caught in a cycle of negative emotions that prevent you from standing up for yourself. Using role-play as a tool, I can show you how you come across to others. You can use that feedback to tailor your communication to make sure your intentions are accurately received. I can also provide you with tips in the moment on how to best communicate your specific wants and needs in ways that ensure that you feel heard and understood.
While learning new ways to engage with intense negative emotions like anger can take time, having the experience of being accepted, understood and attended to in session with me can help you feel less frustrated overall. Gradually you can heal old wounds, feel empowered and use your newfound confidence in ways that make you comfortable with yourself. It is possible to experience less anger with less intensity when it shows up. Releasing the pain of your past gets you unstuck, and as you feel better, you can begin to access your natural ability to express yourself without having angry outbursts. With guidance, support and an anger management approach that best addresses your specific needs and therapy goals, you can learn how to control anger. It is possible to feel balanced and manage strong emotions in healthy, productive ways.
You still may have questions or concerns about anger management therapy…
I feel ashamed of many things I have said and done while angry. I’m not sure that I could share any of it—even with a therapist—without feeling more shame and judgment.
It’s understandable, normal and natural that you feel ashamed about the way you have acted in anger. You likely feel that I will judge you as badly as you judge yourself. But, my stance is to be with you, share the experience and help you get past the shame by accepting the legitimacy of your anger. Anger is a normal emotion and we have all said and done things in anger that we later regretted. I believe that intense and uncontrollable anger is an expression of deep pain, making you lash out when it becomes too much. In sessions, we’ll work at a pace that feels comfortable for you to uncover the root source of your anger and gently soothe your pain. In a safe and compassionate space, I can help you identify the old wounds that still have grit in them. I can help you get rid of ‘emotional infection’ so that you can have your life back the way it’s supposed to be. You can make peace with yourself and learn healthy ways to communicate so you never have to feel deep shame again.
How is anger management therapy different than anger management classes?
Anger management classes are designed for a one size fits all solution, where anger issues are addressed in ways that may not apply to you. While the classes provide attendees with generic anger management strategies, they communicate with the rational part of your brain – the part that already knows what to do but you can’t access when you are angry. Knowing and feeling are very different, and that’s where therapy with me can be truly effective. I can help you access the hurt and pain that make you angry while we are together. In that exact moment, I can help heal the pain so that you don’t keep reacting in the same way that later makes you feel ashamed. In anger management therapy, we address your unique issues and needs while considering individual ways to approach your particular experiences. Together, we can identify your specific hot buttons and explore what’s underneath all your anger. In a safe and personal space, you can process pain and challenging emotions, better understand your anger and learn how to use the energy once channeled through anger to engage in more stable and long lasting relationships.
I tried therapy in the past and it didn’t help much. How would working with you be any different?
What sets me apart from many therapists is that I work in the present moment to help you notice and immediately address what is coming up for you in sessions. Anger comes from feeling bad in relationships, and that is what we focus on. You can improve your confidence and skills in dealing with the raw anger that erupts in stressful relationships. You can then take care of yourself by expressing anger in a way that leads you to have better more satisfying connections. I also tailor-make a therapy approach with useful anger management strategies that best supports and addresses you unique personality, goals and needs.
You Can Live A Balanced, Peaceful And Empowered Life
I invite you to take the next step and call my office at 310-985-2491 to schedule an initial appointment. I offer face-to-face psychotherapy in my office or global coaching if you live outside of Los Angeles. Your sense of peace is an investment that matters.