A Coaching Power Tool created by Lucie Patria
(Executive Coaching, CHINA)
Anger, an emotion
Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation.
Anger is one of the four fundamental human emotions together with sadness, fear and joy. An emotion can be defined as a sudden reaction of our organism involving several modalities, physiological, cognitive as well as behavioral. An emotion is like an inner movement, strength, energy which transforms our body and stirs up our mind. An emotion has a double function: get ready for action and communicate.
In the case of anger, get ready for action means get ready for combat as a plea for justice and action, and communicate means intimidation. This is like a hissy cat taking an angry and frightening position. It means
beware, what you are doing does not suit, stop now or I will fight you. And notice how strong I am.
Anger can be sudden and brief when its purpose of intimidation and dissuasion is achieved.
The emotion of anger in itself is perfectly acceptable. There is no reason to feel ashamed of feeling angry. This is primarily a powerful energy that can help anyone progress further in his / her life.
Vidal-Graf et al. identify three kinds of anger:
- Anger against yourself, which is an inner fight of self-acceptance in its imperfection
- Anger against others, which is related to connection
- Anger at the world, which is more of a spiritual order
Anger against others is the subject of discussion in this powertool. Several external factors can be possible triggers of anger against others such as territory invasion, fear and also fatigue and stress.
Struggling with anger comes from not accepting feeling such emotion and reacting to it in a non-constructive manner, while suffering from its consequences. Expressing anger with violence is destructive for the angry person as well as others around him/her, while not expressing it can be as destructive for the person him/herself. In both cases communication is broken with others and sometimes oneself.
Anger is the least socially accepted emotion of all. This comes from assumptions and beliefs such as:
- confusing the emotion of anger with reactions that can arise on impulse such as violence both physical and verbal, aggressivity or hate
- believing that love relationships and friendships are endangered and incompatible with anger
- anger is named in many religions as a sin or a behavior to be released and renounced
For all those reasons, parents and society teach children not to express their anger. The consequent modes of anger reactions can be established in two main groups (Vidal-Graf et al.):
- Persons quick to anger: those who often express their anger, however struggle and suffer to be carried away into violent reaction and its consequences on themselves and others
- Persons repressing anger: those who feel almost never, or very occasionally, angry. They are the ones struggling to identify and become aware of their anger, and subsequently are struggling with expressing it to others
Persons quick to anger
The persons quick to anger are in fact hypersensitive personalities for which anger is the primary emotion they have access to. This emotion and its energy often hide other emotions such as sadness, fear or anxiety, which the person might not be aware of.
In their case, anger comes from their highly emotional sensitivity, even when not expressed, and creates pain and physical suffering in their body itself; an energy that is looking to be released in any way.
Those persons often feel ashamed and guilty of any violent expression of their anger. A great suffering for them is that they would like not to get angry anymore. This is an illusion due to their hyper sensitivity with its physiological manifestations.
A person quick to anger is a victim, which suffers, and who does not acknowledge him/herself as victim nor is perceived as such due to its mode of expression: blame rather than complaint.