26th August 2020

Dealing with Anger

It starts with a trigger, often imperceptible to most.  A small thing but then it stirs a place deep within and the reaction happens before you can stop it. For some that reaction is an explosion…an overt outburst of anger that leaves others cowering, fearful of you or rising up against you to defend themselves. Not necessarily violent, but it could come out as an explosion of words  manipulative tears, or even breaking things. For others, it is an implosion, silent, self-berating, self-harming and harsh: ugly words aimed inward.

Whichever way, you hate yourself for it, you hate that you can’t control it, you hate what it does to others, what it does to you, and you try to hide the hatred.

They key to breaking through this cycle is to learn how to employ this powerful emotion of anger as God intended. God did not intend for us to process the things that happen to us alone; if we do, we are primed for such explosions or implosions.

Common responses to our feelings of anger that can cause harm are:

  • Denying it – ‘I’m not angry.’
  • Denying yourself – ‘I have no right to be angry.’
  • Burying it – ‘I won’t show my anger.’
  • Using it – ‘I will use my anger to hurt others.’
  • Independence from others – ‘I can handle this on my own.’
  • Afraid of it – ‘This is unacceptable, I will be punished if I show it.”

The more anger we don’t process properly, the more we trap it inside, leaving us with a stockpile of ammunition that when sparked becomes an inevitable, uncontrollable explosion/implosion.

Changing an anger response from a life-time habit of doing it the unhelpful way is hard but if you break it down, it becomes easier to work through:

  • Be real – ‘I am angry.’
  • Understand why – ‘I have been made to feel belittled / useless / rejected etc.’
  • Talk to God and others and draw them into the situation. – ‘I am angry, I hurt, I need help. I don’t want to deal with his on my own.’ But this is not to take sides in a war, this is to bring the battle to an end.
  • Deal with the reason why you are angry – Forgive those who need forgiving, maybe even yourself, and accept any responsibility you may have in the situation (others are best for helping you see this).
  • Express the anger – As well as the other emotions of pain and frustration. How you do this is up to you. For some, talking it through with someone else is enough. For some a physical outworking helps: screaming into a pillow, throwing stones into a river, scribbling on a piece of paper or writing it out are all effective ways of letting it go. Be wary of the anger being targeted at others (including yourself), this is not the goal!
  • Allow truth in – anger is stirred up when someone challenges who you are, your value and worth, your acceptability… on the back of this comes lies that can hold the anger in place. Lies that you are not good enough, unacceptable, unlovable etc. Sometimes speaking out the truth is a powerful way of handling anger, ‘I am not bad, stupid, useless, etc.’

You can also employ these steps to deal with the anger you haven’t expressed properly in the past, that stockpile of ammunition that is triggered so easily. You can start to make a way through to healing for the pain of the past and diffuse the anger within, bringing you peace that may have seemed impossible.

The key is not the expression of the anger but how we draw God into the situation rather than thinking we can do it without Him.

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26

Deep-seated anger is often the consequence of not having some historical issues of our lives worked through – past injustices where we struggle to let go , a build-up of resentment, or  guilt from other things that we haven’t faced and it hurts. Anger can be a fruit of deeper, unhealed areas of our lives. Take time to dig into what it might be and bring it to the Lord, and where possible, to others who can help pray it through with you.

Imagine a life where anger no longer controls you, a life where you can move on from painful situations with no long-lasting affects, where you no longer need to fear yourself and what you may do to others and to yourself. There is hope and a way to freedom.

Ellel Ministries By Ellel Ministries

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