Relearning How to Be Angry

October 15, 2013 Becky Oberg

I'll be honest--I am angry today.

Two weeks ago, I made arrangements to get $100 out of my disability account. The first week, last week, one of my neighbors died, which caused my payee to have to reschedule checks to this week. Today, there was no sign of the check. I am very angry.

Yet I am calm and have not resorted to any negative coping skills. I've relearned how to be angry.

Practicing Anger Management

Ask yourself: "Is it worth it?"

Calm anger does not come naturally to me. I will readily admit to having a temper. That said, I have made progress in learning how to express my anger. Before I react, I stop and ask myself "Is it worth it?"

Is it worth going to jail? Is it worth an involuntary admission to the psychiatric ward? Is it worth self-harming? Is it worth my sobriety?

Ask yourself questions like these. More often than not, you'll find that the answer is "No." And when the answer is no, you'll find that it's easier to calm down and respond rationally.

Look at the bright side

Believe me, this does not come naturally to me. It's taken years of practice to not only say what the bright side of the situation is, but to actually feel it. Saying it is merely the first step.

The bright side is, the rent's paid, my medical bills are current and I have enough food to where this isn't a disaster. The bright side is we can track down the money and get it to me at a later date. The bright side is I have an income from another source, so while this is causing me to postpone some purchases, I will be able to make those purchases eventually.

As I've said, this doesn't come naturally to me, and it probably doesn't come naturally to you, either. Do not be discouraged. It is a skill that gets better with practice. I'm light-years ahead of where I used to be, and you'll make progress, too. Start by saying what isn't going wrong in the situation--for example, I still have my apartment, my treatment team, and my income. There's always something, even if it's as simple as "I have not self-injured/gotten drunk/used drugs today."

Acknowledge the Anger

This does not mean you'll stuff the anger inside you and let it fester. On the contrary, the first step to accepting life on life's terms is acknowledging your anger. Say to the person--or situation--"I feel angry when my check doesn't arrive on time" or something along those lines. Be honest. Say how you feel and gauge your response. More often than not you'll find that there's a perfectly good reason behind what's upsetting you, or that there's an angle you haven't used to study the problem.

Once you've admitted that you're angry, ask yourself what you want to do with that anger. Since there is very little I can do about my check being missing besides talk to my payee, I'm channeling the anger into my writing. I'm doing everything within my power to manage my budget in the meantime. I've decided to channel my anger into productive activity--writing. I've decided not to get drunk. I've decided not to cut.

As we said at Richmond State Hospital, "Tell yourself: Just For Today."

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2013, October 15). Relearning How to Be Angry, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Becky Oberg

October, 21 2013 at 12:42 pm

I'm a recovering addict with 34 months of clean time and I still don't have it under control , but I'm better then I used to be.a day at a time.

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