There are lots of reasons to feel anger. We feel angry when someone has wronged us, blocked us from completing a goal, or injustice has taken place. And anger is not necessarily a bad emotion. In fact, it can be used constructively for change. But often, we get so wrapped up in feeling angry that we don’t allow it to be a catalyst in this way.
You might be angry about a comment someone made, a breakup, a disloyal friend, or that person who cut you off in the drive-thru yesterday. You’re not silly for getting frustrated or angry at little things in your day. When things don’t go right, we are naturally upset. And when we’re talking about big life things that don’t go our way, we have every right to feel pretty heated.
Where does anger come from?
Anger is a strong and intense emotion. And its purpose is to alert us when something doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. It lets us assess situations, stand up for ourselves and others, and make changes in our lives. So, even though anger typically has a negative connotation, it is actually quite a useful emotion. But when we don’t have the tools to channel angry energy into something useful, we may choose to make harmful decisions.
When little annoyances or frustrations go unaddressed for some time, you eventually erupt, like a volcano. You’ve dismissed those little things throughout your day that have irked you, so when you get home and a family member asks you to help clean up after dinner, you blow up. Maybe you yell at your loved ones. Or maybe you just get so infuriated that you have to go outside and scream. Perhaps you’ve even use violence because you just couldn’t hold it all inside any longer.
Why do we hide our feelings with anger?
Oftentimes, we use anger to mask other emotions. Maybe you’re actually sad, lonely, or afraid. But it’s easier to be angry. These feelings are harder to really feel than anger is. It takes slowing down and thinking to assess sadness, loneliness, and fear. But with anger, you can react instantly. It’s a kind of self-defense.
Instead of expressing the true hurt you’re feeling internally, expressing rage or fury can harden your exterior. And when we seem to have a hard shell on the outside, we push people away. Often, we engage in relationship dynamics that push our loved ones away because it’s easier. Engaging with people and having authentic relationships is exhausting sometimes. Even when you’ve been in years of therapy and worked on yourself, being vulnerable is intimidating. And showing that vulnerable, authentic side to people you really want in your life is difficult. What if they don’t like the real you? Or what if they think your feelings are stupid? If you’re struggling to connect with those in your life, these concerns make sense. And they validate why you would use anger to mask other feelings.
DBT & Managing Anger
In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), we help patients learn to emotionally regulate. This is the ability to have control over our responses to emotions. In DBT, we don’t want to get rid of anger, but be able to understand it and use it effectively. A DBT therapist helping you with understanding anger will help you identify the thoughts and urges that accompany the emotion. They will also help you start to feel your body internally. So, they may ask you things like “when you feel angry, where do you feel it in your body?” or “where is anger in your body?” Discussions like these can help you learn about how your body and brain connect emotionally. And with time, working with a DBT therapist on emotional regulation can help you become more emotionally healthy altogether.
Learn More About Managing Anger in Los Angeles, CA
If you’re struggling with emotional regulation and find yourself experiencing high levels of anger, reach out to us. Our experienced DBT therapists know how to help you analyze thought patterns that lead to unhealthy behaviors. And managing anger is a big part of that. DBT can be a game-changer in helping you understand why you do the things you do. Learn how to take control of impulses and communicate effectively with yourself and your loved ones by starting DBT for managing anger in Los Angeles, CA.
- Contact us and get in touch.
- Start meeting with a DBT therapist.
- Gain control over your impulses and find healthy coping skills.
Other DBT Services in Los Angeles, CA
Emotional regulation is one of the primary focuses of our therapists‘ work with patients in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. And anger is not the only emotion we work on coping strategies for. Many of our patients seek treatment for self-harm and suicidal thoughts as well as social isolation and loneliness. There are a multitude of reasons you may seek out DBT, and we are happy to help you figure out if this is the treatment for you. Contact us with any questions you have about our services.