I went through this class early in my sentence called Compassion-Focused Therapy. It was a unique approach to working with anger. At the time I was a therapy aide for a friend who was blind (someone gouged his eyes out a few years prior) whom I also lived with. I was still new to being open about my sexuality, it was s sensitive time.

I came to group one afternoon overwhelmed with my job. The guy I was helping was angry all the time. No doubt with good reason, but angry all the time none-the-less. It became hard to cope and keep my own anger issues in check. So I brought the whole mess up in group. I just couldn’t understand how everyone else in the world seemed to not get angry and blow up, I felt I was broken. Until that day.

It was explained to me that anger is a chemical reaction, stemming from your Amygdala and various glands. Once those chemicals are released into the blood stream and you understand you are not in actual danger (if, in fact, you are not) they must run their course in your bloodstream. This can take up to an hour. So what I began doing was telling myself that in an hour I could deal with whatever was happening.

Before long, new habits formed. I finally felt that I dealt with anger appropriately.

Here is what I wanted to share with you, if you feel like your emotions get out of control and you are powerless to change them, that everyone else seems to not have these problems. Let me assure you that you are not abnormal or broken. Everyone feels emotions, not everyone reacts to them the same.

Here is a good start, first begin by naming your emotions as you feel them, WITHOUT judgment. If its jealousy, which we all get a twinge of every now and again, then inside your mind say “okay jealousy, I feel you.” That’s it. Just practice understanding that you have a wide array of emotions, like everyone else. Its not always anger you feel, sometimes its sadness, or envy, or shame.

Anger is a natural response to a physical threat to help keep is alive in life threatening situations. Our body sends coagulants into our blood stream, extra blood goes into our extremities to prepare them for extra strength and usage for attack or flight, adrenaline, testosterone, epinephrine..just to name a few, get released into your blood stream.

So you see, anger is useful, not an enemy. But when we feel it, we must understand that all these things happen automatically and we cannot instantly reverse them. Sometimes we can quell them before it happens by recognizing some other emotion first.

Just a little information, hopefully it was useful.

With Love
Jeff (aka Ruthie) Utnage