Angry feelings and aggressive behavior do not necessarily indicate a problem with anger. Anger is a normal and healthy emotion of an instinctive signal that something may be wrong to incite us to act quickly in negative situations. Healthy anger usually causes effective change. On the other hand, everyone can react with an angry outburst from time to time, but one of the common problems I encounter in the counseling office are people eaten up with anger. They have an uncontrollable temper because they been deeply hurt by others and have held all of those hurts inside for a long time. Their parents hurt them with harsh words or severe punishment. They were bullied by their peers in school. Their spouse or boss treated them unfairly. Many times, I find it is because in an effort to be “good Christians”, they have held their anger inside. They didn’t want to explode or be unkind, so they said nothing. The Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” It is warning us of the danger of internalizing our anger in our hearts too long. Holding anger inside leads to bitterness, hatred and even depression.
Discover The Symptoms:
Do you find yourself over-reacting too often to little irritations? Your spouse forgot to bring home the milk. Your child tracked mud on the new carpet and you explode. You are constantly screaming at other drivers on the road. There is a problem if anger happens too often, is too intense or out of proportion, is inappropriate to the circumstances, or the manner of expressing anger causes harm to yourself or others. You are most likely suffering from stored anger – anger that has been living inside of you for years and flares up over the slightest irritations. Your stored anger is now showing up in your behavior.
Many people have no idea why they are cranky, critical and condemning. They make life hard on others and hard on themselves. They can’t develop any meaningful relationships and constantly battling with loneliness, but they always find the fault is with others. Almost always, it is because they are filled with anger. Everything they encounter seems wrong. They read into the present what has happened to them in the past. They were hurt by parents, siblings and/or others. The hurt turned to anger and the anger into a critical attitude.
Release It To God:
If you have internalized your anger for a long time, it’s time to release it to God. Tell God how much you have been hurt. Then, release the person and your anger to God. He is a just and loving God. If the person repents, God will forgive. If they do not, let God handle them. When you release people to God, you put them in good hands.
Confront In Love:
When we are mistreated we need to lovingly confront the person who hurt us and seek reconciliation. Don’t sit around the rest of your life letting anger control your life. The first step in getting rid of anger is to make a list of all the people who have hurt you through the years and then release these people and your anger to God. If you can, go to each person and tell them that you would like to “make things right.” Make one more effort in seeking reconciliation.
If someone is open when you lovingly confront them, they will confess their wrong and you can forgive. If they are not, then ask God if there is anything else you need to do such as “return good for evil.” Whatever He brings to mind, do it. Then give that person and your hurt and anger to God. Pray for them, but don’t allow their behavior to control your life.
Seek counseling with a Catholic therapist to help you learn healthy ways to manage your anger and to express it. God wants you to be free to follow Him and to have healthy, meaningful relationships in your life.
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