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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Anger

Monday, August 1, 2011

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Anger

By no means am I suggesting that the answers to the following questions are easy, readily available to you, or in any way obvious, though some may be. I think, rather, that they may serve as guide posts toward progress, relief, and insight. While anger is not always the culprit, it does often lurk underneath depression, anxiety, restlessness, discontent, or irritability. While certain angers are clear and apparent, others are more subtle. I think it pays to pay attention to them. Having anger does not mean that you are an angry person, that you have a temper; it just means that you have real feelings, some old, some new, and that tending to them may improve your life in many ways. How we feel anger, what we do with it, is usually based on a mix of genetic, hormonal, biochemical and socialcultural factors. Given that, we can ask ourselves the following questions in our quest to feel better.

1) How was anger expressed or suppressed in my family?

2) What are my earliest memories of feeling angry? With whom? For what? What other feelings do these memories bring up?

3) What are my earliest memories of someone feeling angry with me? Who? For what? What other feelings do these memories bring up?

4) What are my views or ideas about anger?

5) What is the connection between my sense of self and anger?

6) What am I willing to learn about someone elses point of view, character traits, personality?

7) What are my views about forgiveness? Do I forgive myself for mistakes, oversights or missteps?

8) What are my views about compromise, sacrifice and tolerance in relationships?

9) What does anger do for me? To me? To those around me?

10) What would I like from myself when I am angry? What would I like for myself?

Here in the office, each question can be a path to more insight, to relief and to better feelings. Sometimes, it's the talking itself that moves things along, not necessarily the answers. Anger is such a dense topic I think. I see a lot of folks who shy away from it because it can be so painful. Or because of what they think anger may say about them. Many folks find that studying things helps. We don't always or only have to focus on "anger management." We can focus on"anger curiosity," and see where it leads us.


Lily said...

I was just talking about this with my t yesterday. When I try to talk about things that are emotional for me, it almost always comes out as anger.

I'm so "dumb" when it comes to how to express other emotions, but anger I saw a lot as a kid and am pretty good at mimicking.

So when I'm feeling something scary and new, something I'm trying to get out and verbalize, it almost always seems to take on the anger traits.

I will definitely use these questions to help me separate "real" anger from this other stuff!

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

hi Lily,

yes, it is challenging for us to seperate out anger from other feelings, and sure, what we see as kids def. influences us!
thanks for you thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Your questions really helped me reduce my anger. great blog you have..please keep helping every one!
Goodbye to a Friend

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

thanks for stopping by Chandra.