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How do I navigate anger in a healthy and empowering way?

Updated: Nov 13, 2023


This may feel like a seemingly hopeless, repetitive, and frustrating concept to manage by ourselves, especially if we have a fiery and harsh inner critic - cue the added self-blame and shame on top of an already difficult experience.


Emotions such as anger, resentment, or self-hatred may be so overpowering that on our own it feels like we're entering the abyss; a black hole, leading us to feel exhausted and incapable of processing what is really going on within ourselves. Eventually, our inner emotional world feels alien and unsafe, somewhere we approach with caution and control when it should instead feel like home.

In therapy, we co-create a contained, safe, and exploratory therapeutic space with our therapist to navigate such experiences. Here, we can begin to find a new perspective and a fresh approach to these seemingly fixed emotions and parts of ourselves that we may have been carrying alone for some time. Emotions that may be feeling too scary, too heavy, and infinitely too complex for us to decipher alone, slowly – and gradually – shape-shift into something much smaller and much lighter – a new tool that we will carry within us for whenever they arise again.

Therapy provides the necessary support and guidance to challenge and reframe our negative self-talk whilst processing our anger, in contrast to our usual inner critic exacerbating our overwhelming emotions, feeding us self-blame and shame. Through therapeutic interventions, we develop new and empowering ways to relate to ourselves. We begin to cultivate self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-advocacy.

As we progress on this therapeutic journey, we discover that emotions are not our enemies but rather messengers, providing valuable information about our needs, boundaries, and values. By learning to listen to these messengers, we become more attuned to ourselves, gaining clarity and insight into what truly matters to us.

Think of it as a training montage, but instead of punching bags and sweatbands, we're flexing our emotional muscles. Step by step, we become masters of our emotional domain, ready to embrace the beautiful chaos that comes with being human. With baby steps, we learn to rebuild trust in ourselves and our inner world so that we can feel confident and resilient, fully embracing the messy, complex, and vivid human experience.

Embracing our shared humanity means recognising that we are not alone in our emotional struggles. We all experience a range of emotions and seeking support from a therapist can be a profound step towards emotional well-being. Through a collaborative and compassionate therapeutic relationship, we can develop the tools and understanding to navigate the complexities of our emotions more effectively.

It is important to remember that emotions are not fixed states; they are fluid and ever-changing. Like a river flowing through diverse landscapes, our emotional landscape is constantly evolving. Just as the tides rise and fall, emotions ebb and flow, and it is within this fluctuation that we discover the potential for growth and transformation.

Emotions such as anger are intricate and complicated, requiring time and patience to comprehend. We should not expect ourselves to learn a foreign language without support or resources, nor should we anticipate waking up one day in a foreign country and effortlessly speaking fluently. Similarly, we cannot expect to understand our inner emotional languages.

Navigating overwhelming emotions in a healthy and empowering way is a process that unfolds gradually. Together, with your therapist, you can transform the seemingly insurmountable into manageable steps towards emotional well-being.

In therapy, we can learn to cultivate emotional resilience and foster a deeper connection with ourselves and others. In this shared journey, we discover that by embracing our emotions and honouring our unique emotional languages, we unlock the door to a more authentic and fulfilling life. Let us embark on this path with gentle kindness towards ourselves, knowing that the process itself is a testament to our strength and the innate capacity for growth within each of us.

For now, here are some questions to reflect on alone, or with a therapist, on the illusive angry, or overpowering feeling you may be experiencing right now:

  1. What are some common triggers or situations that tend to evoke anger within me?

  2. How do I typically express or react to anger? Are there patterns or behaviours that emerge?

  3. What are my underlying beliefs or thoughts about anger? Are there any societal or cultural influences that shape my perception of anger?

  4. How comfortable am I with experiencing and expressing anger? Do I tend to suppress or avoid it, or am I able to express it assertively and constructively?

  5. What are the potential consequences of either repressing anger or expressing it in unhealthy ways? How does this impact my well-being and relationships?

  6. Are there any recurring themes or patterns in the situations or individuals that trigger my anger? What can I learn from these patterns?

  7. How does anger affect my relationships, both personal and professional? Are there any communication challenges or conflicts that arise due to anger?

  8. Are there any underlying emotions or needs that may be masked by my anger? How can I explore and address these deeper emotional layers?

  9. What role does self-compassion play in my relationship with anger? How can I develop a more compassionate and understanding attitude towards myself and my emotions?

  10. What support systems or resources can I seek to better understand and manage my anger, such as therapy, support groups, or self-help materials?

  11. How can I approach conflicts or challenging situations in a way that allows for assertive communication, active listening, and mutual understanding, rather than escalating into anger?

  12. What are my long-term goals when it comes to my relationship with anger? How can I work towards cultivating a healthier and more balanced emotional landscape?


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