The top seven reasons people resist anger--Part I
In my capacity as an outpatient psychologist for twenty-
five years, I run into eight major conditions every day.
These are all touched by the experience of anger, which if
not dealt with effectively, will exacerbate the eight contions
(relationships, anxiety, self-esteem, mood, assertiveness, etc.)
Here's the top seven reasons I have encountered every day to
NOT deal with anger.
1) I’m afraid people will get mad at me. This is the fear
of reprisal. The thinking goes something like this, “If I’m
angry this person will get also get mad.” Of course, when
someone is mad, all kinds of bad things are likely to happen,
so of course, don’t make people mad. The thinking is that
people will retaliate and punish me. The assumption is that
getting mad makes other people get mad.
This is a myth. Uncontrolled anger makes people mad,
maybe, but anger itself is not the culprit. Most people think
this way because in the past they have exploded after holding
feelings in too long. Of course when we blow up “things” can
be unpleasant. But, this is not because of being angry; rather,
it is because we were not assertive. Had we been assertive with
each feeling as it occurred, we never would have reached the
“blow up” stage and there would be no fear that people “will get
mad at me.”
If people are really angry, most people around such a person
2) Bad things will happen to others. The thinking is that if
I’m angry, others will fall apart or even do themselves in.
This is about guilt.
This is also false. Others are not nearly as bothered by
our angry communications as we might think. And, we are more
bothered by what we don’t communicate than what we say. Being
responsible for someone else’s reaction is considerate to a
point, but imprisoning if taken too far. Let others be
responsible for their own reactions and let us practice more often
speaking up, even if tinged with anger.
3) People won’t like me. “If I get mad, I’m going to scare
someone and they will think negatively of me. It’s better to
People who can’t deal with their own anger are more
likely to be afraid of you, or avoid you because you are
“stimulating” their own feelings, which they want to avoid.
“Likeability” has to do with many other more important variables
that don’t necessarily have anything to do with anger. Think
about interpersonal warmth, honesty, emotional intelligence,
genuineness, empathy and caring. These are some of the qualities
that produce “likeability” in relationships, and they are better
expressed with assertiveness, which in this case is the best purely
psychological expression of anger, rather than with aggression or