Often when we are angry, it’s because someone did something that we don’t like. It’s easy to focus on the other person and their mistakes, bad habits, and character flaws. We may even be 100% right that the other person could or should have done something differently. But calming down and controlling anger requires us to admit our part in the situation. Yes, indeed, no matter how wrong your partner is, you must own your part of the problem. And you must own 100% of your part. This is the heart of Step 4 or 12-Step Recovery.
Here’s an Example:
Let me tell you about what happened to me last week.
I was inconvenienced the other day. and I was irritated. Someone’s poor planning created a problem for many people and I had to go out of my way, take extra time, make extra effort, and I was fuming. “They should have…! Why didn’t they… Why DID they…!” Thankfully, I stopped myself before these thoughts took much of a hold and I changed my focus to help me calm down and control my anger. I did that by asking what my part was in the problem.
Now, I didn’t have a role in planning so I could not change the external situation. But when I really evaluated my dilemma, I recognized that the real source of my distress was that I don’t like wasting time and that dayin particular I felt pressured for more time.
Once I realized the real source of my problem – feeling pressed for time – I was able to change my focus from something I had no control (poor planning) over to a problem I could actually solve (managing my time). My anger disappeared and I totally forgot about the poor planners.
How You Can Start Controlling Anger
Often that is what happens with anger – it covers up a more uncomfortable feeling. The next time you are angry, ask yourself, “What is my part in this?” What is causing me to feel sad, lonely, anxious, hurt, guilty, or afraid?” If you can answer that question, you will be closer to calming down and control your anger.
Looking for help in controlling your anger? We are a staff of state-licensed, board-certified therapists who can help you identify the sources of your anger and help you come up with effective solutions for managing and coping. Contact us if you would like to set up an appointment with us.