DEALING WITH ANGER

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23

Many problems in relationships are caused by unprocessed anger. Anger is that God-given emotion that warns us when an injustice has been committed. Yes, anger is God-given. God Himself tells us to be angry, but not to sin in the process (Ephesians 4:26). Problems with anger arise when our God-given emotions are not handled properly, resulting in misunderstanding, conflict, and, sometimes, even violence. 

Like any emotion, anger has two parts: the feeling and the behavior. While we cannot control the feeling of anger, we can control the behavior that results from the feeling. Most people, however, have never learned how to control their behavior when they are angry.  Instead, they either explode by lashing out verbally and/or physically, or they implode by withdrawing and suppressing their negative feelings. Neither behavior is proper, and both lead to further problems,  emotional as well as physical.

If you are having trouble controlling your anger, here are some suggestions that will help you to do so in a healthful way:

1. Admit that you are angry. Say out loud something like the following: “I am angry about this situation. Now what do I plan to do about it?” This kind of statement helps you to be aware that you are angry and gives you time to think about the action you are going to take.

2. Control your immediate response. The triggering of all emotions involves a stimulus followed by a response. The split second between the stimulus and the response is the moment of choice. It is during that split second that we decide how we are going to respond to the stimulus.

When dealing with anger, decide ahead of time that when a stimulus triggers your anger, you will stop to think before responding to the anger.

Don’t give in to the two most common responses to anger: a) verbal or physical venting or b) the silent treatment. Count to ten, leave the room, or do whatever you have to do to avoid getting out of control. When I feel angry, I usually go off by myself to vent to God and to pray for His help in dealing with the situation that caused my anger. When you wait before responding to anger, you will avoid saying or doing things you will regret later.

3. Determine the cause of your anger. Ask yourself what triggered your anger. Was it a legitimate injustice, or was it an honest mistake? Often people allow themselves to get angry over something that later turns out to be insignificant.                                                                                                  

4. Consider your options. Ask yourself if the response you wish to make to your anger will help or hurt your relationship with the person who has wronged you. The two basic choices you have when facing anger are (a) lovingly confront the person who has wronged you or (b) decide to forget about the matter.

5. Act on the option you have chosen. If you’ve chosen to confront the person who has wronged you, do so in love. Listen to his side of the story. It may totally change your perception of the situation. If the person who has wronged you asks for your forgiveness, forgive him.

If you’ve chosen to forget about the matter, tell God what you’ve decided. Give your anger to God and trust Him to deal with the person who has wronged you in His own time and in His own way.

By implementing these five steps, you can turn your anger into something productive that will not destroy your relationships but actually improve them.

Now, it’s YOUR turn: How do you deal with anger?

TWEETABLE: “Dealing with Anger” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

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How to Handle Anger

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Amy threw the dish across the kitchen, barely missing her husband’s head. Shaking all over, she hated herself for what she’d just done. She’d turned into a monster. What was happening to her? Why couldn’t she control the rage that increasingly tormented her?

angryPerhaps you identify with Amy. Or perhaps you know someone like her. What is going on here? And what can people like Amy, who are controlled by anger, do to get rid of it?

To get rid of anger, we must first understand what it really is. Anger is basically a hostile expression of one’s dissatisfaction with life. Things are not the way we want them, so we respond in anger. Webster defines anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” 

Anger is aroused by a real or a perceived injury, a feeling that life has treated us unfairly. Often, but not always, a desire for vengeance accompanies anger. The angry person wants to punish the one who hurt him. If that someone is “life in general,” then the angry person will have a consistently negative attitude. Interestingly, anger is sometimes associated with grief, which is the emotion experienced at the loss of someone or something important to us. For example, one may feel anger at the loved one for having died. 

Chronic anger usually has its roots in childhood. Anger can stem from any kind of abuse, injustice, or unmet needs. If one grew up in an angry family, one will often carry those angry response patterns into adulthood.

Scripture has a lot to say about anger. First of all, Scripture tells us that anger is not necessarily a sin (Ephesians 4: 26). Initially, it is only a temptation. It becomes a sin, however, when we give in to it and respond in a negative way. Scripture also commands us never to go to sleep angry because doing so gives Satan a toehold in our lives (Ephesians 4: 26). 

True to its function as our Manual for Life, Scripture gives us ways to handle anger. Here are some of them:

1-Be alert to Satan’s ways of tempting you to be angry. He knows your triggers, so pay attention to those triggers and resist them with the strength of Christ in you. The Bible says this: Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too (1 Peter 5: 8-9).

2-Pray for the person who has done you wrong. In my own life, this has been one of the greatest antidotes to anger. As I pray for the person who has wronged me, I begin to feel great compassion for that person and a desire for God to grant him mercy.  The Bible says this: Don’t let evil get the upper hand, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12: 21).

3-Leave all vengeance to God. Anger makes us want to punish the one who hurt us. But this is a very dangerous attitude. Scripture commands us to leave all punishment to God. Instead of revenge, ask God to have mercy on the one who hurt you. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the LORD” (Romans 12: 19).

Angry young Businessman sitting in the office and screaming on the phone.

If you are struggling with anger, don’t be discouraged. Countless others are struggling, too. But if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have all the power and strength you need to overcome anger.  If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you will not be able to overcome anger in your own strength. So, accept Jesus Christ now by clicking here

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:  What do you do when you are angry? Do you handle it God’s way? Please leave a comment in the box below. Thanks!
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 “How to Handle Anger” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

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