How Do You Deal With Your Anger?
A. Suppressing Anger – Why? Out of denial, fear, to look strong. “I’m not showing anger. You are. Obviously, you’re the one with the problem.” Anger is often suppressed because some equate showing anger to human imperfection, or the fear of lower estimation from others.
* Suppression does not eliminate anger; instead, it pushes the anger deep into our hearts where it festers into a toxic emotion called bitterness.
B. Open Aggression – Open aggression is the expression of anger at the expense of someone else. It is the most self-centered choice in dealing with anger. The focus is on the openly aggressive person’s needs, desires, and feelings. There is little or no sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others. “You don’t matter, you feeling don’t matter, I don’t care who I hurt, I only care that I get to express my anger.”
* Open aggression hurts and offends other people. It damages relationships, reputations, and is a power-play over relationships as well (insecurity).
C. Passive Aggression – Like open aggression, passive aggression is the expression of anger in order to preserve personal worth, draw attention to unmet needs, or preserve convictions at the expense of another person; but passive aggression operates secretly instead of openly. Why? Because very often, passive-aggressive people do not feel competent to bring their anger out into the open. They feel that if they do, it will expose them to counter-attack or to be viewed in a negative light (fear of not being liked). “I don’t matter, but you don’t matter either. I am angry and I want to strike out at you, but I don’t want to get caught.”
* Passive aggressive anger is caused by the need to have control with the least amount of vulnerability; thus, subtle sabotage.
D. Assertive Anger – When we express our anger assertively, we preserve our sense of self-worth, our needs, and our convictions while at the same time consider the needs and feelings of others. When we express our anger assertively rather than aggressively, we actually enable our relationships to grow stronger. Assertive anger is a mark of personal maturity and stability.
Assertiveness considers the dignity of others even if they do not consider yours! It is not selfish and it looks at “the big picture” and sees the future ramifications and interactions. “I matter, and you matter too. We each have a right to express our anger, but we do not have a right to hurt each other.”
* Three key reminders of constructive assertive anger:
- Make sure the issues are worth raising (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6).
- Speak with gentleness (Galatians 5:22,23).
- Do it privately (Matthew 18:15).
Assertiveness defined (James 1:19): Swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
E. Dropping Anger – You accepted your inability to control circumstances, and you recognizes your personal limits; you tolerate differences and choose to forgive. Choosing to drop your anger is far different from suppressing it. Suppressing is phony or denial, where dropping anger represents a commitment to Godliness (Matthew 6:14,15; Matthew 18:21-35).