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On the last 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 this track, we will discuss the two intentions of anger displays. Anger is displayed by choice as negative anger or positive anger. As you know, anger displays can intensify a situation. Conversely, assertiveness helps reduce tension and anger. The consequences of the anger displays differ with intent. As I discuss these topics, see if you can relate these ideas to your anger management clients.
#1 Negative Anger Displays
Darren stated, "Whenever Rebecca confronts me with any type of criticism, I just look away and remain quiet. She gets so frustrated when I won’t answer her. If she demands an answer, I just shrug or tell her I don’t know. What gives her the right to criticize me, anyway?" Darren may have had a number of reasons for his negative anger, but, as I found out, he was trying to hurt Rebecca the same way he felt hurt by her criticism.
Darren stated, "I may be a little lazy and insensitive sometimes, but that’s how people are, right? The bitch can’t expect me to want to talk when all she does is make me feel worse than I already do!" As you are aware, helping clients become conscious of their intentions is an important part of constructive anger management.
Technique: Rational Emotive Therapy
When he finished, Darren felt like he should face Rebecca to discuss their issues.
#2 Positive Anger Displays
Here is statement number two regarding positive anger. "I hope I confront her in a way that she’ll be able to sense how much respect I have for her. I want her to know I’m angry, but I don’t want her to be hurt." How close is one of your anger management clients to making this statement? When clients have positive and constructive intentions behind their anger displays, it is possible for them to alleviate tension and animosity . As you have probably experienced, these clients intend to make their needs known and improve relationships. However, probably like yours, the relationships of my clients are already affected by negative expressions of anger.
When a client learns Rational Emotive Therapy and begins to display positive anger for the first time, they may experience misunderstandings in their relationships. In my experience, these first displays of positive anger expression can be misconstrued as sarcasm. In Darren’s case, he stated, "I decided to face the issue next time Rebecca wanted to talk. So when she did, I made eye contact and asked a few questions. But when I showed concern and a willingness to solve our problems, she thought I was making fun of her." I asked Darren how he felt about Rebecca joining him for the next session. In that session, Rebecca felt that Darren seemed sincere. Do you have a client who has difficulty asserting themselves due to longstanding negative anger displays? Are you using RET with them?
On this track, we discussed the two intentions of anger displays. Anger is displayed by choice as negative anger or positive anger.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Chue, A. E., Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Skalina, L. M. (2017). How does social anger expression predict later depression symptoms? It depends on how often one is angry. Emotion, 17(1), 6–10.
Park, J., Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., Coe, C. L., Miyamoto, Y., Karasawa, M., Curhan, K. B., Love, G. D., Kawakami, N., Boylan, J. M., & Ryff, C. D. (2013). Social status and anger expression: The cultural moderation hypothesis. Emotion, 13(6), 1122–1131.
Tibubos, A. N., Schermelleh-Engel, K., & Rohrmann, S. (2020). Short form of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2. European Journal of Health Psychology, 27(2), 55–65.On the next track, we will discuss children and anger. The five keys are don’t be threatened by your child’s anger, let choices and consequences shape the child, don’t preach, don’t major in the minors, and share your own experiences.
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