Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

Amanda Mcpherson

To hear it from my mother, even as a tiny little girl I could throw tantrums of seismic proportions. And if you were to interview some of the people closest to me, they would say that the same angry little girl made occasional appearances in my 20s and early 30s.

I used to have an unhealthy relationship with anger. And it resulted in outbursts that made me look like a big ol' child. And these were followed by the cycle of shame, embarrassment, and regret. It wasn’t a fun ride.

I was a grown-up. I knew better. But I still struggled to control my anger. Why?

Because anger covered up my pain, my fear, my insecurity. And if you're struggling with anger, I'd bet good money it's covering up some of these emotions, too.

Anger is so very misunderstood. We judge it and shame it more than any other emotion. And I can see why we are so uncomfortable with it: Anger doesn't look very pretty, and no one wants to be the "crazy angry person.”

But, hey, can we just all agree that even really good people sometimes struggle with anger?

So the question is: How do we develop a healthy relationship with this powerful emotion and use it for growth instead of destruction?

Anger is an Alarm System

Here's the thing about anger, it can be a really powerful tool! It is a strong indicator that something is off balance or not working in our lives. It's like an internal alarm system saying "Warning! Warning! Something isn't right.”

If we are willing to get real about our anger, it can propel us toward a happier, more empowered life. But if we refuse to examine what is behind the anger, we are going to miss out on the opportunity for growth—and we'll just keep sabotaging our happiness.

For example: When I felt the most angry, what lurked behind were feelings of rejection, abandonment, and insecurity. I began to believe that the only way to ease those feelings was to lash out in anger. Because, as it turns out, when you're acting like a big ol' child, you often get attention. Yes, it may be negative attention, but hey, it's attention. For awhile, you feel powerful. You feel in control. You’ve banished those uncomfortable feelings in exchange for this (temporary) sense of having it all figured out. But, as we angry -types know, it doesn't take long for the feelings of regret and shame to take over.

Making Friends with Anger

It took a lot of personal work to unravel some of the belief systems I had around anger. I had to wrestle with some deeply embedded Gremlins (a.k.a negative self-talk and beliefs) to understand what I was so darn angry about.

But through this process, I cultivated the confidence and skills to make myself seen and heard in a much more empowered way.

If you have an unhealthy relationship with anger, I encourage you to face it with curiosity instead of fear and shame. Look at it as your internal alarm system that is trying to get your attention. Inquire within about why you are feeling angry.

  • Are there areas of your life in which you feel powerless?
  • Do you struggle with verbalizing what you want and need?
  • Are you compromising on your values or boundaries?

You aren't a bad person because you experience anger; it’s a normal human emotion, But you owe it to yourself to create a healthier relationship with it. Seek out help if you need help unraveling the gnarly ball of emotions and beliefs that are lurking behind those angry defensive mechanisms.

Take it from me: Nothing will make you feel more like a bad-ass than being able to express yourself in a healthy, empowered way.

If I can be of help to you as you tackle anger or anything else in your life, don't hesitate to reach out.

Amanda is a trained Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling. As a recovering risk-avoiding scaredy-cat, she is passionate about empowering women to live and love boldly. Amanda shares her inspiration through personal coaching, corporate training, workshops and international retreats. She particularly loves working with women in the areas of dating/relationships, career growth, and overall self-confidence.