Benefits of Feeling Angry! 😡Feb 22, 2022
On one hand, this newsletter may sound like I’m excusing Anger. I am not. I am not condoning Anger. I do believe that those who work through and process their feelings of anger in healthy ways, are the most composed and the safest people to be in a relationship with. The healthiest parents, spouses, children, teachers and friends are those who have healthy emotion management. And, those who are quick to anger is a reflection of unhealthy emotion management.
However, there is an appropriate context to be angry. To use extreme examples, think about Nazi Germany. Are we not supposed to be Angry at the injustices and the murders? Are assault or abuse victims not supposed to feel angry at their abusers?
So, clearly, there is a time and place for Anger.
With that in mind, let’s continue to shmooze about some benefits of Anger.
Anger has earned itself a bad reputation. And for many good reasons!
Anger, experienced as a primary (raw) emotion is the feeling of experiencing an injustice. Often being treated unfairly, or worse, having our boundaries (this can be physical or emotional) violated will (and should!) elicit the feeling of anger. This form of anger is often constructive. Healthy. Necessary.
However the “Anger” that most of us think of when we talk about “angry” - is often a “secondary emotion.” In regular people words, it’s an emotion caused by another emotion. As explained clearly in my Social Skills Made Simple course, we often respond in anger - but the angry reaction is really stemming from a different emotion that we are feeling. That type of anger is a reaction. That anger is a response to another emotion. That anger is confusing. Unnecessary.
Ex: I felt worried that Husband/Son forgot to call that he’d be coming home late, so I responded in anger by yelling at him for not calling, instead of communicating my worry to him. Or to be even more confusing to myself and Husband/Son - I respond by yelling at him about something else entirely.
And people do this All. The. Time.
Anger is also contagious. I act angry to you, you act angry back. We both walk away feeling angrier. And we often don’t even know what is triggering the anger, because the primary emotion hasn’t been communicated!
And now we’re distant. And we need to repair our relationship even more.
Here's another important distinction: There is a difference between feeling anger and acting out of anger. And by extension there is a difference between feeling appropriately angry (constructive) and acting out on that anger in inappropriate ways (destructive).
All emotions are ok! All valid. Every single one. Even anger - especially appropriate, constructive anger. But it’s how we manage them that makes all the difference. And so one may feel appropriately angry but then react in inappropriate, hurtful ways.
The metaphor that resonates with me is that Anger is like fire: when constructive, it is a primal source. It builds, creates, and keeps us safe and warm. When destructive, it can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Constructive anger, when contained, can be a very valuable source of information. If you think about this, it’s fascinating. It can be a defense mechanism that can be constructive or destructive. (Review our Newsletter on defense mechanisms, saved on Our Blog.)
Let’s look at some benefits of Feeling Angry:
- Whether we are feeling angry ourselves, or our loved one is feeling angry, it is crucial to listen to the message in the Anger. Anger is often an alarm that something is wrong. We need to hear that alarm and figure out what is wrong — what is triggering that anger. Don’t suppress the alarm! You can snooze it for a bit, and see what happens. But if it comes back -wake up! You may be in danger.
- Because anger is often felt when someone violates our boundaries, anger can protect us by sending a message to the violator that this will not be tolerated! Unfortunately, victims often suppress their anger.
- Anger can even protect us from emotions that are too unbearable to feel. This is complex and a deeper discussion is needed. But it’s super cool.
- Anger at parents or G-d, should be validated. Speak to your LOR, a therapist, or someone you trust, if you or your child is struggling in this area.
- Anger (like all emotions) allows us to understand and have empathy for others who feel anger.
We need to remember that feeling anger, as well as every emotion, is a part of life. So, we must teach our children that Anger is sometimes called for. And review with them what constructive or destructive anger can look like.
With that said, I feel that I need to clarify something about our online course.
Someone who recently watched our Social Skills Made Simple course said to me: “Shifi, the title is much too narrow! I didn’t realize how many topics the course actually covers. I thought it was just about making eye contact and sharing!” 🤯🥴
Oh no! That is a good point. So, I’m thinking to change the course title to “Real Relationships Made Simple”. Or “Self Awareness Made Simple”. If anyone has any better title ideas - then let me know!
So here is a brief explanation about some of what we cover in the course:
How to develop Empathy and Emotion Management is taught comprehensively. Anger is just an example (of many) emotions that needs to be taught and explained to all of our children. With so many relationships on the brink, we need to start educating our children, especially when they are young, about all our emotions. And how to create healthy relationships: it begins by teaching them all about Empathy and Emotion Management. How should our children know how to handle their anger, frustration or their worries if they don’t know what they are and they aren’t deliberately taught from a young age — or at least at an older age- how to manage them?
Vulnerability is another example. How should we and our children know how to be vulnerable if we don’t even know how we are feeling and how to communicate it? My dream is to have us all naming their emotions like they’re talking about the weather :)
Identifying Different Feelings. Different intensities of each emotion. Everyone feels differently in the same situation. And so much more! If you don’t know the difference between frustration and disappointment, or shame and guilt, or hurt or embarrassment — then how should your children know? And if they cannot identify the differences, they will not be able manage these emotions. Often what looks like chutzpah or anger is something else entirely.
Calming Down and Problem Solving Adults and children need to be taught how to calm themselves down. And learn how to move forward while feeling intense emotions.
Attachment Theory How your relationship with your own parents, will influence your relationship with your friends, your spouse, and your own children. And that gets passed down for generations. So understanding how to create “secure attachments” with your children is key in influencing all their relationships.
- Ahh! Too much more to write about!
It is our obligation as parents to give our children the Relationship Skills they need for life. Children aren’t picking up the “Social Skills” the way they used to - and many are reverting to anger and other destructive tendencies because they just do not know better. As to be expected - this is damaging relationships everywhere including friendships and marriages. I see the fallout daily.
Hence, our virtual, online course: Social Skills Made Simple was born! My passion is to offer a creative, entertaining way to teach adults. And to provide a step-by-step guide for parents on how to help themselves and their children build healthier relationships. All from the comfort of our own homes.
Question: Who is this course for?
Answer: I believe this course is for everyone! Because everyone is and will be in relationships.
So, It’s time to buy the course! Price now is at $449 🎉 (so buy it before the price goes up to $497 on Wednesday night at 11:59 pm).
With appropriate Social Skills and healthy Emotion Management, you and your child will be more successful and confident in every area of life. Guaranteed! I can guarantee this because the course will simplify all you need to know about building healthy relationships.
So Simple. So Effective. Start Young!
Wishing you a great week,
❤️ , Shifi
P.S. Back to anger for a second: if you (or a loved one) are perpetually angry, please seek professional help ASAP. There are many tools to help you. You as well as everyone around you will be much happier!