Talk About Anger
By Elizabeth Bogod
Vancouver Island Invisible Disability Association.
Pick a topic:
Anger and Learning Disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder
Management for Everyone
and/or Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder
frustration about the impact your LD/AD(H)D has on your life – “It’s not
fair”. (Why do I have to struggle when other people lives seem so much
towards others (non-LD/ADHD) who have seemingly easier lives.
directed at one’s self for failing to meet your own or other people
· Blaming others (e.g. parents, teachers, social workers, etc.) for not providing you with the support you need(ed) or failure to recognize the problem in the first place.
with academic performance such as poor reading comprehension, poor
concentration, poor memory, or slow work completion rate.
frustration about the lack of understanding of LD/ADHD in the family, workplace,
educational institution, and general public.
caused by lack of services (e.g. assessment, counseling, and job training
Anger about being incorrectly judged, diagnosed or labeled.
about being abused, bullied or taken advantage of because of LD/ADHD related
noticing or understanding humour, sarcasm, and non-verbal communication (e.g.
tolerance for your LD/AD(HD related difficulties.
· Accept your LD/AD(H)D – Work through the acceptance process by using the Acceptance module
· Redefine your goals and recognize unrealistic expectations
· Practice forgiveness
· Develop strategies to make learning easier (e.g. mnemonics for memorization, etc.)
beat yourself up over every LD/ADHD related problem you encounter – REMEMBER
IT IS A DISABILITY!
· Share difficult experiences and your feelings with someone you trust who is a good listener such a family member, relative, friend, or therapist.
· Contact VIDA (250-478-4554) or your local Learning Disabilities Association to find out about services available to you or take the Finding Your Way workshop to learn about services available in your community.
· Develop an awareness campaign to educate people about learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. Use your LD/AD(H)D to educate people if you feel comfortable.
· Develop your self-advocacy skills to get the support and accommodations you need.
· Learn new social skills and practice them regularly.
Management for Everyone
Mini Anger FAQ
What is anger?
b) An emotion experienced by everyone
c) A powerful feeling but one you can learn to manage with practice.
d) Not the same thing as aggression, which is a behavior (such as hitting someone) that may result if you can’t bring your anger under control
e) Neither positive nor negative nor right nor wrong to feel
f) All the Above
you answered “f) All of the Above”, you are correct.
So what is anger?
Simply put, anger is an
emotion. In fact, anger is just an
emotion - it is neither right nor wrong to feel it. Anger only becomes a problem
for people when it is repressed. Unresolved anger can lead to serious physical
and mental health problems such as heart disease, stroke, depression and
is the purpose of Anger?
The purpose of anger is to
alert us to danger and in doing so produce the flight or fight response. In
other words, anger is meant to protect us from harm. All of the physical effects
you experience when you are angry are there to tell you that something is wrong.
It can motivate us to make positive changes in our community or advocate for
others. For example, Martin Luther King was motivated by outrage over racial
prejudice (some of which he experienced first hand) to start a civil rights
movement in America. With this in mind, you can see that anger, in and of
itself, is not negative.
It is, however, a complex
emotion. Anger is usually considered a secondary emotion. When we get
behind our anger, we discover that there is always a primary emotion such as
fear, sadness or frustration at root of it. Understanding the emotions behind
the anger is one way of expressing anger appropriately, but we will discuss this
does anger come from?
is usually caused by some kind of perceived or actual injustice, selfish or
thoughtless act, hurtful remark, etc. But this is not where anger comes from.
Anger comes from inside of you. It is a natural response to dissatisfaction with
to John Lee, writer of Facing the Fire – Experiencing and Expressing Anger
Appropriately , there are basically two main types of anger – Present
Anger and Suppressed Anger.
type of anger is caused by immediate circumstances such as somebody cutting you
off while driving, the frustration you experience after missing your plane, or
being forced to deal with someone who is being verbally aggressive. The
emotional response is in proportion to what has happened. This anger is only a
problem as long as the circumstances persist. Once the circumstance passes the
anger subsides quickly and everyone is able to go on with his or her life as
type of anger is destructive. It is left over anger from experiences that we
were either unable or refused to deal with at the time. We often express this
type of anger inappropriately. Present day events remind us of the experience or
some aspects of it which brings back our old feelings of anger. Unfortunately,
because this anger is not based in the present and has been allowed to build up
over a period of time (sometimes for years) our emotional responses will not
likely to be in proportion to the triggering event. As a result, we might
overreact or take our anger out on somebody who had nothing to do with the
original anger-producing event or trigger.
This anger is misplaced. It usually continues to trouble us long after
the reminder has passed. You might obsess over it or become extremely depressed
do people suppress anger?
we grow up, we learn about anger and how to respond to it. Some people learn
that anger is bad. In their minds, anger is directly associated with pain or
violence and therefore must be avoided. They don’t understand that anger, in
and of itself, cannot cause someone to act violently. Violence is a conscious
choice. Only you can decide to hurt someone else – not your anger!
anger can often be traced back to some type of trauma that we have experienced
in our lives such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Bullying during
childhood is another form of trauma that often contains suppressed anger.
Victims of natural disasters and crime are partially susceptible as well. Other
life changing events such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, child custody
battles, job loss, etc are other sources of suppressed anger. However,
suppressed anger does not necessarily have to be related to a huge traumatic
event in your life. For some people, the intense feelings of loss and anger at
never having a chance to say goodbye, after a close friend moves away, remain
with the person well into adulthood. It is important not to dismiss these types
of experiences as being silly or unworthy of exploration.
do some people seem addicted to anger?
people are anger junkies. They enjoy or need to experience the short-term
pay-offs of aggression in order to get through their everyday life. A definition
of addiction which I find useful is that it is "a short term kick followed
by a longer-term kick in the teeth"--a reward followed by a punishment.
are some of the short-term rewards of anger:
Creates an adrenaline rush
Provides a sense of power
Makes people listen to you
Enables you to avoid crying or
Keeps you from facing feelings of
sadness or fear
Gets people to do things for you
Establishes superiority over others
(“I’m better than you”)
Puts the blame on someone else,
other than yourself
Shows other people that you are not
Scares other people into submission
Motivates you to get things done
If you are an anger junkie, try to
identify the pay-offs you are getting out of it. Then think about the long-term
effects of your aggressive or passive aggressive behavior (e.g. loss of
relationships, opportunities, etc.). Now decide if the short-term benefits are
worth suffering the long-term punishments.
can I manage my anger appropriately?
You can manage your anger and express it appropriately! Here is what you will accomplish once you learn how to manage your anger:
|1.||You will view anger as an emotion and nothing more. You won’t see it as a precursor to violence and will be able to recognize both the negative and positive effects anger can have in your life.|
|2.||You will use anger as a signal that there are problems you need to look after.|
|3.||You will take action, but only after you are aware of what is making you angry and why. You will be able to identify the type of anger you are experiencing – Present or Suppressed Anger.|
|4.||You will be able to identify the primary emotions that lie under the surface of your anger and use these emotions to communicate your needs.|
|5.||You will not need to resort to violence, crime or verbal attack because of your anger.|
|6.||You will skillfully cope with interpersonal conflict.|
|7.||You will state your needs clearly, in ways that others can understand.|
|8.||You will let go of your anger rather than hang onto it once you have expressed your feelings and resolved the problem.|
anger is not a negative emotion it can be a healthy emotion! Healthy anger lets
you problem-solve, not blame. It gives you control, allows you to think and to
accept your feelings. With healthy anger, you accept responsibility for your
anger. You do not blame others.
How do you make anger healthy?
are angry. Your body will tell you that you are angry. Pay attention to the sign:
of the throat
is making you angry. What type of anger you are dealing with (present or
You can tell what kind of anger you are experiencing by comparing your degree of
emotional response to the situation. If you are annoyed, frustrated, mildly
bothered, flustered, taken aback, you are likely responding to Present Anger.
However if you are ticked right off!, vengeful, or ready to hit someone you’re
responding to Suppressed Anger. Of course, some Present Anger
situations can make you extremely angry. For example, if you experience a major
injustice such as losing a child to murder. With this in mind, you will also
need to take the situation into account. Ask yourself if your emotions are in
proportion to event taking place. Be honest with yourself about this. If the
situation doesn’t warrant the degree of emotion you are experiencing try to
figure out where your Suppressed Anger is coming from.
Here are some strategies for emotional release of anger:
ü Take a few deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose for five seconds and out through your mouth for five seconds. Repeat the process until you feel calm.
ü Write a letter to the person you are angry at that you never intend to send. Be as irate as you wish, but try if you can to express the secondary emotions behind your anger in the letter. After you are done, you can either tear the letter up or burn it, depending on how you feel.
ü Talk to a close friend who has nothing to do with the situation. One cautionary note, check with the person before you begin to be sure they are prepared to listen. If it is not a good time, ask when would be a better time and make an arrangement to talk then. You will also need to be sure the person is a good listener and is willing to put up with your ranting and raving!
are coping with a lot of historical anger it might help to write a list of all
the people you are angry at and why. Remember you are not planning to share this
list with any of the people on it.
ü Scream in the Car - If you do this, be sure that the windows are rolled up and doors are closed. Make sure nobody is around.
ü Twist a Towel – Tightly twist a towel using both hands. As you twist, express your anger verbally, say I’m angry”, “I hate you”, or whatever else you are feeling. Let the towel absorb your anger.
ü Dance and Music – This is a great way to release anger but it is a bit noisy so you may want to wait until you are alone. If you live in an apartment that has poor sound proofing you may prefer to take it to some other location, such as a secluded woods. Play a piece of music that expresses your anger. Now start dancing – in a primitive, passionate style. Stomp your felt on the floor and shake your body. If you have one, you can add a drum or tambourine to the mix. Feel the anger flowing out of body. When you stamp the floor say, “Boom, this Anger”, “Boom, Boom, (name the person you are angry at here)”.
ü Get back to nature – Go to your local forest or wildlife park. Walk or run on the trails – what ever you prefer. Use what nature has to offer such as a rocks for throwing (be sure nobody is in its path!), dead branches for beating on the ground, etc.
– go for a walk or run to unwind. Only one precaution here… Be sure you are
not using exercise as a distraction. The object of this exercise (no pun
intended!) is to release your anger not suppress it.
ü Beat a Drum – Get a drum and pound on it. Please note, all the cautionary notes mentioned in “Dance and Music” (above) also apply here too!
ü Punch a Pillow – Don’t forget to verbalize your anger. Yes, you have my permission to yell at your pillow.