Anger - Women
As women who struggle with anger, wemay not recognize that our anger has foundations in other basicemotions-usually fear or pain. These basic emotions may have becomedamaged as adults or when we were children. Some of us may have beenabused or neglected as children. Others may have lost a parent or aloved one by their death. Many of us may have been abused or cheatedon by a spouse or boyfriend.
We may have learned how to expressanger inappropriately from our parents, other relatives, or friends.We did not realize that when we lashed out in anger, we were ignoringour fear, pain, or another deeper hurt, habit or hang-up. Others ofus did not even realize we were struggling with anger because we didnot express it, but rather, we stuffed it down and kept silent.
As our lives and relationshipsprogressed we may have become addicted to the physical symptoms ofanger. Some of us may have felt a momentary euphoria as the anger wasreleased. Some of us did not recognize we were actually hurting ourloved ones and ourselves in the process. In the heat of the moment,releasing our anger was all that mattered.
Some of us felt our anger was justifiedbased on the object of anger's actions, i.e., "If he hadn'tcome home late from work, I wouldn't have had to yell at him" or"If she had not talked back to me, I would not have had to slapher" or "My husband deserves me calling him names, yelling andfighting because he cheated on me."
Many of us feel intense shame and guiltover the actions that we have committed during our unhealthyexpressions of anger. We have vowed to never act that way again, onlyto find ourselves back in the same situations, unable to change itunder our own power. Anger has confused us and gotten the better ofus time and time again.
Some of us did not understand thatanger is a God given emotion and that we could use it in healthy,productive ways. Being angry meant that we were bad, somehow faulty;even that we were not Christians. We have allowed our shame and guiltto create the false belief that we could not turn to God for hiscomfort, strength and guidance. We did not feel worthy of His help orlove. We remained stuck in using anger as a coping mechanism and toget the desired results from others.
EVALUATE THE ANGER: Anger is oneof my ten basic, God-given emotions. This emotion can be CONSTRUCTIVEor DESTRUCTIVE-depending upon my response. The focus of this groupis on giving Jesus a "NANO SECOND" (just one billionth of asecond!), to help me use all of my emotions according to God'sdesign, for my life, and to appropriately change my pattern ofrelating to my responsibilities and to other people.
It is both healthy and necessary tofeel anger and to talk about my anger. I should recognize anger as myown emotion and avoid hurting the objects of my anger- keeping myanger as a feeling not an action. Looking at anger as a feeling mayalso reveal a larger hurt, habit or hang up that is hiding behind theanger. It is what I do with my feelings that will allow me to fallinto sin. I need to check the motives for my behavior. Rudeness underthe disguise of being honest is still rudeness.
There are two kinds of anger: healthyadaptive anger and unhealthy needless anger. Healthy anger is basedon being protective of myself or others. Unhealthy needless anger isbased on my resentment which leads to desiring revenge. Recognizingand accepting my responsibility for unhealthy needless anger is thefirst step towards true freedom from anger.
DAILY QUIET TIME WITH GOD: Angercauses me to live in conflict and not in peace. I will try toremember that God is in charge of my life and He loves meunconditionally. I will commit to having a daily quiet time with God.
TAKING A "TIME-OUT": When Ifeel body arousal, I need to recognize that as a sign that I amgetting angry. I will use a "time-out" to isolate myself from thetrigger for my anger and to prevent the anger from becoming toointense. I will ask myself, "What is making me angry? And "How isthis trigger about me?" I will reappraise the situation to keep mybehavior under control. I will do something physical to release theadrenaline rush and energy in a healthy way, such as going for a walkor cleaning a closet. I will avoid alcohol, caffeine, or othermedicating substances during "time-out." Looking at anger as afeeling may also reveal a larger hurt, habit or hang up that ishiding behind the anger.
CONFRONTING IN LOVE: After thetime-out, I will go back and deal with what made me angry. If I leavean issue unresolved, it is likely to return later. I will not use theconfrontation as an opportunity to blame, shame, seek revenge, or torationalize my anger. Examples of confronting in love while statingmy feelings are: "I love you, here's how this action makes mefeel," or "I feel devalued when this is said or done."
WORK THE 12 STEPS AND CONNECT WITHOTHERS: I will commit to working the 12 Steps, to attendregularly the Celebrate Recovery meetings, and to getting anAccountability Partner for my anger management. (We strongly suggesteach woman obtain a Life Recovery Bible and the Participant'sGuides, which are the tools we use in Celebrate Recovery.)
FORGIVE: I will become willingto forgive myself and others. The Lord forgave you, so you must bewilling to forgive others (Colossians 3: 13b NLT). Forgiveness is NOTforgetting what has happened. Forgiveness IS changing the way Ithink. Forgiveness IS my giving up my desire for revenge.
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