Anger Monster: Let Go of the Rope

Anger is a power feeling. It’s energizing and tends to pump you up a bit bigger than you really are.

At least is seems that way in hindsight.

It’s almost like a monster at the end of a rope trying to pull you into the abyss.

Monster on a Rope

So if it’s got all that juice, what do you do with it?

Simple answer – nothing.

Yes. Doing Nothing is a Choice

Well, maybe explore it. One way to tame the anger monster is to take the time to explore it – to look at it as if it were a separate mega-you.

Taking a step back and exploring it from the perspective of a wiser you with a view of what you want in the long term, what would you advise your other self to do?

What would you say to mega you?

  • Go take it out on the heavy bag?
  • Just stuff it and truck with it?
  • Pretend it’s not there?
  • Manage it?

Unfortunately these advice tidbits don’t actually work over time.

Really. They don’t work very well – even though they seem to be the common sense approach.

Let’s Go Back to Exploring the Feeling

Put it under a microscope. take a good look, and start to deconstruct it.

What you may find is that there really is no such THING as ‘anger.’ Anger is a word that we use to describe a bunch of things that seem to be gathering together to make this big, ugly, sometimes scary monster.

  • Maybe your heart rate is up
  • Your breathing becomes more mercurial but shallow
  • Your mind starts spinning a yarn about how unfair the situation is and start plotting revenge

And there is more than that. Your hands may get cold; in some instances, if you are really into it, your knees may shake.

The Above Named Monster

Taken all together, these things seem to make up the above named anger monster. This monster is standing on the other side of an abyss with a rope in its hand. You’re at the other end, and the anger monster is trying to pull you in.

At one end, the monster is tugging away, and at the other end, you are trying to beat the monster, to pull it into its own damn hole.

Conventional wisdom says that this is what you are supposed to do. You have to defeat the emotion in some way or another. You have been told to express it all over everyone (or shown how to do that), to somehow silence it and move one, or to find some way to manage it. Using any of those three ways, the monster wins.

But when you take the disparate parts of anger one at a time, you may realize that you can handle any of them simply by accepting that they are part of life. It starts to seem mighty silly to keep tugging away at your end of the rope when the chimera at the other end doesn’t actually exist.

You don’t have to hold on to it. Doesn’t is seem like the thing to do is to just let go of the rope? It’s where anger flexibility begins.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

 

 

About Mike

Mike has worked with men and women to find ways to master anger for the past 20 years. If you would like to have a conversation about anger in the workplace or at home, see the contact form in the menu above.

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