Have you heard of anyone who was required to take a course to manage their anger ?
Our goal, as we reach emotional maturity, is to learn to recognize, tolerate and manage all of our emotions, especially anger, since it has the possibility of turning into aggression.
Anger results when our expectations are not met.
Perhaps we can learn a lesson from Joe, who ‘went beserk’.
Joe’s faulty technique of managing anger was to suppress it and deny it.
When a priest mysteriously disappeared from our Parish without explanation, Joe became angry. He had an expectation that we churchgoers would be told what had happened, but we weren’t.
Joe denied feeling angry and continued coming to church, with the expectation that he would eventually find out what happened.
As the weeks went by, and the silence continued, his anger grew, until he confronted a visiting priest one morning, and demanded to know where the missing priest went.
Joe yelled, and became aggressive. He had the classic ineffective style of ‘bottle and blow’ anger. It was scary.
After he aggressively expressed his suppressed anger, he left, and didn’t return to church.
When we feel mounting anger, it gives us an opportunity to practise our assertiveness skills.
Generally we will feel physical symptoms when our unmet expectations result in anger.
For me, I clench my jaw and my face turns red.
Joe, when he first felt anger at the vanished priest, could have asked for an explanation. That was entirely within his rights.
Our anger, if we are in tune with our emotions, is an early warning sign that our expectations, whether they are realistic or not, are not being met.
We are wise when we try to resolve our feelings of anger while they are in their warning stages of frustration, or annoyance.
We are created in God’s image, and since He feels anger, we do too.
May we pray for the grace to understand our anger, and that of others.
May God give us the ability to be effective managers of all our emotions.
And, may He give us the wisdom to recognize which of our expectations are realistic, and which are not.
Photo by Isabella Kraus