Dealing with Different Types of Anger

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At a recent GROW Leaders’ meeting in Kilkenny, a discussion took place about the three types of anger – suppressed anger, reactive anger and constructive anger. Below are some of the reflecctions…

“It took a long time attending GROW to figure out I had suppressed anger. Acknowledging that we hold anger takes much effort and honesty.  It meant I needed to actively apply the Serenity Prayer to my Life – if I can’t do something constructive then actively accept some painful reality beyond my control.

“It often meant having to my change negative habits – easier to blame others than change myself!  Suppressing such challenging realities may feel easier in the short term, but it takes an increasing toll in the long-term.”

Reactive anger is fuelled by a combination of: HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

“Tiredness can make me moody and quarrelsome. Becoming aware of this means I’m better able to avoid getting sucking into destructive arguments – some issues are best addressed after a good night’s sleep.

“Regarding hunger, it’s curious how a banana or biscuits are enough to raise my blood sugar and my ability to reason. Long-term, good eating habits help keep my blood sugars more even. Hunger can bring out a petty tyrant in us – not letting our blood sugars plummet keeps this tyrant at bay.”

Another topic discussed was the connection between anger and loneliness.

“Every human being can feel lonely. Exploring these feelings at a GROW meeting, listening to others experiences and taking relevant practical tasks all help me to gain perspective and stay socially connected.

“By doing something constructive regarding my feelings of loneliness, hunger and tiredness I’m better able to constructively channel my anger.”

Constructive anger requires being able to see the bigger picture.

“My anger is reasonable if it aims to advance the common good.  However, being human means I can have a selfish, blinkered view of reality, blinding me to others rights and needs. GROW is where I learn to listen to other perspectives, so I can reason more objectively.

“Two skills that go hand in hand are learning to both listen and express myself better. There can be a thin line between constructive and destructive anger. Yet a life well lived requires discovering where that line is. ‘If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly – for a start and while we’re improving’.