Who Are You Anger?

By Kat Giles BSW, MSW, RSW  |  December 16th


For most of us, this is an easy emotion to understand and picture. Much of what people associate with anger are actually behaviours – things like yelling, becoming violent, name-calling, etc.

What Does Your Anger Look Like?

I often draw my anger like a little, squiggly-lined, red monster. I like to think of the squiggly lines being the way my brain feels when I am angry – unfocused and unable to clearly articulate my thoughts. His little tight-fisted hand is often what my own body does when I am angry. Wanting to pound something – hoping to release the tension and discomfort that I feel in my body. 

What does your anger look like?

Externalizing Anger

Like our other blog posts in this series, we are learning to (1) externalize our emotions and (2) understand who anger is and what it is trying to communicate to us.

When we externalize our emotions, we change the way we talk about them.  We recognize that emotions do not define us. Anger is not who we are, it is just an emotion that we feel. We no longer say I am angry; we say I feel angry.

Note that anger is an extraverted emotion and often likes to spend time alongside other emotions. When you are noticing anger, you will often see other emotions present as well.

Anger, What Are You Trying to Communicate to Me?

Like all emotions, anger is telling us something. It is telling us that something is not right. It says, there is an injustice here!

Each of us has a different perception of what is an injustice. In the counselling room we explore those injustices, and we try to understand them more. We ask questions like: where does this injustice come from? What values are this injustice aligned with? 

Coping with Anger

Coping with anger and managing it is important. Here are some strategies that we explore in therapy that you might like to try at home:

  1. Recognize when anger is present and ask yourself, what is the injustice I am noticing right now?
  2. Regulate anger:
    • Take a few deep breaths or take a break from the situation for a moment.
    • Think before you speak. Our anger can make us think irrationally. Perhaps come back to the conversation after you have had a moment to process.
    • Take a walk around the block (or house!)
  3. Remember that you may be feeling other emotions as well. Spend time recognizing those emotions and working to understand what they are communicating to you.
  4. Respond to the situation after you have regulated your emotions.

Managing emotions can be difficult.  If you need some help with strategies, reach out, we are here to talk.