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Anger Management - Help with overcoming anger in Bristol and Bath

Anger ruins lives. Anger, it has been said, is like a hot rock that you intend to throw at someone else. In the end though, the only person it burns is you. Though of course anger serves a useful purpose when properly channeled, anger which is left to run amok is often highly destructive. It is also very painful, both for the giver and the receiver. Actions are undertaken and harsh words are spoken in anger that can leave scars long after the emotion has subsided.

Anger is one of three main response patterns created by the emotional mind during times of stress, the other two being anxiety and depression. Most people are familiar with the term "fight or flight" which is used to describe the welling up of emotion and instinct we experience when threatened. In fact what is happening is that our primitive brain is readying us for evasive or emergency action. We are being primed to "fight" or run away (flight). Anger is the "fight" response. For our ancestors this powerful response pattern would have been absolutely essential on an everyday basis since they would frequently encounter genuinely life threatening situations. Today we are much less likely to be physically threatened in this way, but the mechanism which creates those feelings of aggression is still very much primed for use, and we as civilised modern folk have to manage this sensibly.

If you are having trouble controlling your temper then at the simplest level, it's because your stress levels are too high. When stress levels are too high we lose some of our usual level of "control" at the intellectual level as the emotional instinctive brain (the limbic system) steps in with the "fight" mechanism response. This is a direct response to too much stress. When your stress is lowered you will have much more control at the emotional level. Often therapeutically we can improve anger difficulties in just a few sessions by reducing overall emotional arousal levels and by giving you the understanding that you need to take control of the problem. Managing anger appropriately is a skill. Impulse control is important and hypnotherapy can help enormously with this by "anchoring" calm responses to usual trigger situations. Then you can take that few extra moments to CALMLY assess a situation where you may previously have "automatically" responded with anger.

Here, we are focusing solely on temper and anger management. There are however other aspects of anger management which warrant discussion. Attack is the best form of defence. This is a well understood psychological truth. If we are feeling the need to assert ourselves constantly or behave aggressively then it's a safe bet that we're feeling defensive. The reason a person feels defensive is because they are feeling vulnerable at a deep level. There are many life experiences that could create such vulnerabilities. Basically anything that hurts a person deeply enough emotionally can create these feelings. 

Example 1

Betrayal by a friend or partner can easily create a loss of trust in people generally. The psychology is basically that the original trauma hurt so much that the person unconsciously will do ANYTHING to avoid being hurt like that again. Here, in order to maintain that position, it is also necessary for us remain angry (often again unconsciously...the alternative would be to forgive and that would leave us vulnerable right?).  So at one level there is a guarantee that no one will ever get close enough to hurt us so deeply again, but there is a tremendous price to pay too......not experiencing closeness. Unconsciously this dynamic is painful and can create feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated and angry. It can manifest as displaced anger towards friends and loved ones and then frustration at not knowing why we feel angry and so on.....

Example 2 

Years of being told we are rubbish or useless (abusive bosses, parents, guardians etc) will obviously create defensiveness within us. Now anytime anyone offers "constructive criticism" we are unable to cope with it and see it absolutely as an attack upon our nature or character. Anger ensues!

Example 3 

Life hasn't gone too well for us. We're angry at ourselves for not "getting it together". We blame everyone else. We blame the world, and the world itself appears as hostile. Now we're primed to be angry at just about anything that doesn't fit our idea of how things "should" be. 

Example 4 

We hold "rules" which inspire anger easily. For instance, suppose we have a "rule" in life that people should always be courteous and polite. We know that the world is full or people who will meet that expectation, because MOST people are, but we also know that there are many people who are not courteous and polite. Consequently if we find ourselves raging when someone is rude we do well to ask ourselves...is it the rude person that is creating my anger or is it in fact my response to the rude person? If I were to change the "rule" to "expect" that sometimes people are rude, would I feel anger in the same way? Probably not! We work on core beliefs in this work too. 

We could go on. The point to illustrate is that there are all sorts of things can cause chronic ongoing anger. A really good therapy will address the roots of our discontent and re-frame emotionally how we can view things differently at the unconscious level. 

If you'd like some help with anger, do feel free to contact me and arrange a consultation with a view to getting started.