Children and Conflict Series Part 10

Managing Anger

We experience emotions through physical sensation such as heart rate, breathing rate, aches and pains, electrical currents.  Communication and behaviors which come out of emotion are often ineffective.  Use your head, not your heart and examine the other’s intentions before reacting.   Anger is a reaction – not an emotion. Understanding the source of your anger makes it more manageable.  If unaddressed, the consequences of anger can include: unexplained aches and pains, migraines, depression, insomnia, apathy, irritability, substance abuse, destructive behaviors, serious medical conditions etc.  If acted upon, the consequences of anger can include: legal repercussions, physical harm, and irreparable damage to important relationships.

Most of us have “hot buttons” or sensitive areas/topics that when pressed cause a negative emotional response.   The more often your buttons are pushed the touchier they become – making your reactions more and more negative and dramatic.  You may believe that your reactions are unconscious and uncontrollable; however, because you can only control your own behavior and your reaction to the behavior of others, learning to manage your reaction to your “hot buttons” will allow you to manage our anger.  In order to control your reaction you need to understand your hot buttons.

Do a self-analysis of your buttons.

  • Identify your triggers & typical response.  Ask: When I feel _____, how do I respond?
  • Think of a more constructive reaction. Ask: “Would this new approach be acceptable in a business setting?”
  • Develop an action plan and use it the next time someone pushes your hot button.

Check your emotions…when you are angry, ask yourself what feeling or emotion is causing the anger.  Common causes of anger include:

  • Betrayal
  • Deception
  • Embarrassment
  • Fear
  • Feeling Hurt
  • Feeling Guilty
  • Feeling Trapped
  • Injustice
  • Limited Resources
  • Loss of Control
  • Loss of Self Respect
  • Powerlessness
  • Rejection
  • Unmet Expectations

Once you understand the source of your anger, use productive conflict words to describe your feelings and express your anger in a productive and respectful manner.

Examples of Productive Conflict (PC) Feeling Words:

  • Alarmed
  • Concerned
  • Confused
  • Discouraged
  • Dismissed
  • Embarrassed
  • Frustrated
  • Intimidated
  • Manipulated
  • Overwhelmed
  • Pressured
  • Resentful
  • Sad / Hurt
  • Scared
  • Shocked
  • Stressed
  • Surprised
  • Vulnerable
  • Undervalued
  • Worried

Examples:

“I resent hearing about your vacation plans when I have not received a child support payment in 6 months.  Lacking a payment, it will be difficult for me to accommodate your special requests.”

“I feel intimidated by yelling.  I need our conversation to remain calm and business-like.  If yelling occurs, I will remove myself from the conversation and we can try again at another time. ”

“I feel overwhelmed and pressured when asked to make decisions on the spot.  I would appreciate having a couple of days to process the information and make a decision.”

“I feel confused and hurt when I hear that the kids needs both of us in their lives while at the same time we are going through a contested custody battle and evaluation.  I would like to discuss options for resolving these issues without further involvement of the courts and more expense.”

Examples of Productive Conflict (PC) Feeling Words:

  • Alarmed
  • Concerned
  • Confused
  • Discouraged
  • Dismissed
  • Embarrassed
  • Frustrated
  • Intimidated
  • Manipulated
  • Overwhelmed
  • Pressured
  • Resentful
  • Sad / Hurt
  • Scared
  • Shocked
  • Stressed
  • Surprised
  • Vulnerable
  • Undervalued
  • Worried

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