Resolve Your Anger Part II

   Written by on July 31, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Last week we talked about the differences between anger resolution and anger management.  Anger management focuses on learning coping skills.  Anger resolution’s focus is not on managing the anger but on dealing with why a situation moves you to anger.

logo-gowin-cheryl-dennisAnger is a secondary emotion. It is an underlying emotion that causes us to move to anger.  Let us look at the common causes of anger.

A variety of medical issues can increase a person’s anger.  Any kind of brain damage, like a severe concussion, a stroke, a brain tumor, or brain damage from drug reactions or toxins, can cause a nice person to become a person filled with rage.  An underactive thyroid leads to depression and anger problems.  Sleep studies results indicate that the effects of sleep apnea (not breathing evenly at night) can include depression and anger problems.

You probably know someone who at one moment is a great person, kind and caring.  And, then something causes a Mount Vesuvius eruption.  This eruption can look like road rage, verbal rage, and sometimes even physical hitting.  After the eruption, the person feels guilty for exploding, apologizes and is nice…until the next explosion.  This person has an explosive personality.  There are two main underlying reasons for the explosive personality.  Growing up in a household where the parent figures have an explosive personality has trained your friend to explode.  The second reason is repressed rage from abuse as a child.  In spite of the repressed rage, your friend has grown up to be a nice person while stuffing hurt away inside until it builds up to a point that a small offense sets off a volcanic eruption.

Substance abuse: advances in the quality of brain scans now show brain damage in the brain of people who have abused alcohol or illegal drugs.  Alcohol, pot, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and especially illegal amphetamines all cause brain damage.  The scans show damage to all regions of the brain, the most damage appearing to be in the Amygdala; this is the area of the brain that affects our ability to make conscience-based decisions. These scans show why alcoholics and drug abusers have a more difficult time controlling their anger.

Severe depression affects anger; indicators of depression are increased irritability, amplified anxiousness, and a raised level of anger.  Depression is often referred to as “anger turned inward.”

Have you heard someone say, “I am not angry, this is just righteous indignation.”  The question needs asking: is he/she using an over the top need to control as the reason for “righteous indignation”?  A person who is selfish, thinks the world should revolve around him/her, and uses people to make him- or herself look good is self-centered. Self-centered people think they should be in control, and that every problem is somebody else’s fault.  A self-centered person will be angry many times a day if he/she doesn’t get his/her own way.

All of us are born with an inability to control our emotions.  Watch a sleeping baby who then wakes up.  The sweet baby realizes a need; the only way to express this need is an angry outburst of crying.  Remember the terrible twos?  It takes years of love, good boundaries, and healthy examples to help our children learn how to control their emotions.  A home that does not provide the appropriate love, discipline, and examples of how to control our emotions will not provide the platform to help us grow into loving and responsible human beings.  Abused children often become more selfish in order to survive.  They learn to fend for themselves, hide their feelings, and manipulate the environment in order to avoid the abuse.

These issues may be the reason for anger but should not be used to justify anger.  Remember, anger resolution looks to finding the source problem that fuels the anger.  Next week we will look at ways to overcome anger.

Know this, my beloved brothers:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20

Cheryl Gowin, and Dennis Gowin, Hope for Tomorrow Counseling Center.  Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637. 

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or


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