Here are some of the ways I cope with my anger and keep it from coming between me and others.  What are some of your strategies?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

  • I repeat to myself “anger boomerangs” and it’s worse when it comes back at me.  The consequences are very unpleasant and are not worth the brief benefit of telling someone what I think or expressing my anger in front of others.  I remember the last time I lashed out at someone in anger and remind myself that my relationship with that individual never fully recovered from the damage.
  • I do, however, acknowledge my anger (to myself) and look beyond the anger to uncover what’s driving it.  If I’m sad I stay with that feeling and try not to redirect it too quickly.  I spend a little time respecting the sadness while being very careful not to engage in self-pity.
  • I look for hurt feelings, pride and sadness as the real feelings behind my anger.  For me, it’s mostly pride.  If I have been disrespected in some way I remind myself that I am in good company and that no one really owes me respect. Any way, I lose the respect of others when I lash out in anger.
  • I remind myself that “truth without kindness is brutality”.  Just because something is true does not mean I have to say it.  Sometimes silence is the most kind response to someone or a situation.  People, I’ve discovered, rarely want my truthful opinion (even if they have asked for it).
  • I remind myself that my competency, intelligence and character will be questioned if I lose control of myself in front of others.  It scares people and it makes people think less of me.  I lose people’s trust in me and become an unsafe person if I vent my anger in front of others or direct it toward them.  These are major things to me to consider since I am a social worker (a professional helper) and profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
  • I notice body language of others and can see when they become uncomfortable.  I recognize that even when I am not actually angry (just a little irritated or expressing negative statements) it makes people uncomfortable and I don’t want people to be uncomfortable around me.
  • I remember what my daughter once told me about my anger. She said, “mom, when you are angry, you fill up the entire room”.  I don’t want to fill up the whole room at the expense of others, especially those I love so much.If you burn your bridges