They feel ANGRY

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

Anger reveals a deep need for control when you feel you’re lacking control over what’s happening to you. It makes you feel in charge rather than helpless when you feel frustrated, invalidated, or treated unfairly. It’s a natural and mostly automatic response to perceived threats. It has a survival value because it provides you with a perceived sense of control, but it can become a problem if you don’t manage it in a healthy way. However, when well-managed and expressed with discernment, anger can motivate us to solve problems, drive us toward our goals, and protect our values and beliefs.

What is the emotion of anger telling your young person?

Anger is telling them that they are in a situation that makes them feel powerless and that they are converting their feelings of vulnerability and helplessness into feelings of control and power. Anger is often experienced as a way to avoid acknowledging the painful feelings associated with vulnerability.

Suggestions for your young person on how to manage anger?
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. They both teach relaxation skills that will not only help them manage their anger, but will also help them express it wisely and constructively.
  • Help them practice thinking before they speak.
  • Take a time out and breathe deeply.
  • Get some exercise. Physical activity can help reduce stress that causes people to become angry.
  • Don’t hold a grudge. Forgiveness can go a very long way and will help us not get swallowed up by our own bitterness and resentment.