The Importance of Anger: How Anger Management Falls Short

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From GoodTherapy.org: A large portion of anger management literature focuses on suggesting ways to tame, control, avoid, reduce, minimize, and even eliminate feelings of anger altogether. However, anger can often be a valuable emotion that we should pay attention to.

“For anger to be truly managed, it must be completely validated. Feelings of anger and the related urge to lash out—not the act of doing so, but the urge, which tends to be the most anxiety-provoking aspect of anger—are part of being human (Davanloo, 1995; Skorman, 2016). When angry feelings and urges are supported and differentiated from acting-out behaviors (remember, these are a function of anxiety and reactions to anger, not anger itself), anxiety tends to diminish, and unwanted behaviors are managed and curbed without demonizing and invalidating a basic human emotion.

In my experience, when anger is internally embraced instead of resisted and suppressed, the feeling doesn’t last very long. Instead, it quickly turns into other feelings and states, such as sadness, remorse, tenderness, and true forgiveness, among others. The resultant access to the full range of human emotions, or the ability to experience both positive and negative feeling states internally, is what releases the self from a prison of repression and anxiety and allows its potential to flower and expand into an embodied sense of what it means to be fully human.”

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