On this track, we will discuss how other emotions create anger. The four areas we will discuss pride influences anger, fear’s effects on anger, loneliness creates anger, and anger can reflect inferiority feelings.
How Emotions Create Anger - 4 Areas
#1 Pride Influences Anger
First, we’ll look at how pride influences anger. Would you agree that pride is an emotion of self-preoccupation? The goal of pride as an emotion tends toward meeting personal needs. Kyle, age 38, angrily stated, “I’m at my worst at work. If my customers give me a hard time all day, I work hard to help them. Then I figure I’ve done a good job and I take pride in that. But my boss overlooks it and jumps my case for not finishing the damn inventory. On days like that I get pissed by anything that moves!”
Kyle’s anger builds each day through frustration at work. His pride compounds that anger with self-preoccupation, resulting in Kyle directing his anger toward others. To help Kyle overcome his pride-anger management trigger, I had him try the Relationship Developing exercise, which we will discuss later on this track.
#2 Fear’s Effects on Anger
Second, we will discuss how Kyle’s fear affected his anger. As you know, fear can imply hesitancy, apprehension, and doubt. Fear can set the stage for several dysfunctional behaviors. As fear relates to cognitive therapy for anger management, fear causes defensiveness. As you are aware, defenses arise as an attempt to shield oneself from perceived threats. Defenses are normal, but overdeveloped defenses indicate unresolved fears. When Kyle argued with someone who overcame his defenses, he resorted to anger.
Kyle stated, “I know I have a hard time trusting people, but it’s difficult to let someone get close after my ex-wife, Lorie, hurt me so much. I mean, not only did she sleep around, but she left me with nothing! Just because I smacked her around a little, the judge gave her everything!” Kyle’s fear of being hurt made him untrusting, resulting in defenses which only frustrated him further and added to his anger. Do you have a Kyle who feels they have been hurt, gets defensive, and creates a vicious cycle?
#3 Loneliness Can Create Anger
Third, loneliness can create anger. Kyle struggled with loneliness and he was susceptible to frequent feelings of disgust, resentment, and disillusionment. I have found that these feelings can create anger. Kyle stated, “I feel betrayed by everyone I know. Even my family! I mean, I still talk to them and see them frequently, but they hate me since Lorie spilled her guts to them about me losing my temper.” Clearly, Kyle was experiencing the difference between solitude and loneliness. As time went by, it became difficult for the other people in Kyle’s life to identify with his. When a client feels like no one understands them, loneliness-based anger arises.
3-Step Relationship Developing Technique
To help Kyle overcome his loneliness, I asked him to try the Relationship Developing exercise.
First, I wanted to increase Kyle’s awareness regarding which of his personal needs he felt were not being met. We discussed the needs relating to his desire for improvement. Some of Kyle’s needs were self-esteem and camaraderie. Kyle described these needs in his journal.
Second, I emphasized those needs which could only be met through personal relationships and asked Kyle to focus on nurturing the relationships he had to fulfill those needs. Kyle’s next journal entry included his plans for positively developing relationships with his family.
Third, clients can include any positive relationship developments in the journal. I have found this technique also works well for clients whose anger has negatively affected relationships. Do you have a Kyle who is an anger management client who might benefit from journaling regarding unmet needs?
#4 Anger Reflects Feelings of Inferiority
In addition to how pride influences anger, fear’s effects on anger, and loneliness creating anger, we will discuss how anger reflects feeling of inferiority. As you know, clients who feel inferior do so for many different reasons. These reasons dictate how feelings of inferiority manifest themselves in anger. As you have probably experienced, aggression is most common.
I spoke with Ron, 42, whose feelings of inferiority stemmed from a mentally abusive father. Ron’s feeling were evident in his open aggression. Ron gave me a few examples of his behavior. When his son was working slowly on his chores, Ron would shout, “Why do I have to yell at you to get you move?” If his wife overspent her monthly budget, Ron would ask, “Do I look like I’m made out of money? Get with the program!” His daughters argued over bathroom time and Ron would shout, “I didn’t come home to hear this. Quit you’re grumbling!”
Clearly, Ron’s inferiority made him feel obligated to gain a superior edge even over his wife and children. This edge provides clients with temporary relief from inferior feelings, but perpetuates the manifestations of anger.
Underlying Values Technique
I asked Ron to divide a sheet of paper into three columns for what I call the Underlying Values technique. These columns are structured to help a client see the difference between what they say and what they want.
a. For example, Ron labeled the first column “Verbal Dialogue.” In this column, Ron wrote the things he said. When his son was doing his chores slowly, Ron would yell, “Why do I have to yell to get you to move?”.
b. The second column was labeled “Inner Monologue”. Ron wrote what he thought his son may be thinking. Ron wrote, “Dad is an asshole. He yells and is always mad because he thinks that keeps him on top of everything.”
c. In the third column, Ron wrote what he could have said to illicit the response he wanted. This column was labeled Equality Response. Ron wanted his son to work faster, so he wrote, “I know chores aren’t any fun, but as soon as you’re done you can go play.” Ron and I discussed the benefits of recognizing underlying values and how he could apply the technique to become more assertive.
On this track, we discussed how other emotions create anger. These methods of anger creation are: pride influences anger, fear’s effects on anger, loneliness creates anger, and anger can reflect inferiority feelings.
On the next track, we will discuss the two intentions of anger displays. Anger is displayed by choice as negative anger or positive anger. I’ll also explain Rational Emotive Therapy.
What are four methods of creating anger?
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