Emotions are powerful. They can be our friend or our enemy. Problem is many of us don’t know how to process them properly. We tend to either externalize or internalize our emotions. We take out our frustrations on others, over-react to minor problems, use substances to assuage our feelings, alienate ourselves from loved ones, or my all time favorite – NOT – resort to passive aggressive behavior. In this post, we will discuss the emotion of anger and how to identify if we or someone we know has an unresolved anger issue.
Think about the last time you had a very strong reaction to a situation or a person. To get you started here are a few typical scenarios to consider:
1: You’re in driving in the car and someone lays on the horn, tailgates you, or flips you the bird.
2: Your boss yells at you on a Friday afternoon
3: You’re waiting in line at the bank, post office, or grocery store, and the line is not moving.
4: You’re at a restaurant and the food is taking forever to arrive. You’ve lost track of time because you are in deep conversation and realize it’s been over 25 minutes.
Anger is a normal human emotion. We feel angry for a reason, but sometimes the reason we are angry is not the reason we think. When we have a very strong reaction to a particular situation or person, chances are there is something going on way beneath the surface that needs to be addressed but the current situation gets so blown out of proportion, the real problem never gets identified. Here’s a personal story to give you an example of what I’m talking about.
Many years ago, when my oldest son was still in college, I was in bed reading a book when my oldest son walks in. A little background here, my son is brilliant. He has what his teachers call a photographic memory. He never really had to study much in high school and aced all his exams with little effort. He was home visiting for the weekend.
“Hey, ma, how you doing?”
“I’m fine. What’s up? You look a little down,” I observed.
“Yeah, I didn’t do so well on my exam today,” my oldest darling replied in a dejected tone.
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Do you think you studied enough?”
“I’m leaving,” he announced, slamming the door as he bolted out of the house.
Wow! Wonder why he reacted like that. It was a simple question.
Several months later, I found out the real reason for the sudden display of anger. Alexi had lost his scholarship by not keeping his grades up.
So, if you find yourself over-reacting to minor situations, venting to anyone and everyone who will listen, distancing yourself from a loved one, or having a strong desire to over-eat, drink too much, or do anything else to excess, there might be an unresolved anger issue lurking deep within.
Remember, anger is a signal that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is not something to be ignored, denied or ashamed of. “Be angry, but sin not,” it says in scripture. Next week we’ll talk about how to handle unresolved anger, but in the meantime, let me know if this post was helpful and remember to keep looking up!