Question: I really struggle with anger towards people. Once I get angry, it just stays with me and builds. What can I do about this?

First, understand what anger is: it is a process of sensations in the body which the mind identifies as anger. Normally, there are corresponding thoughts to the sensations that trigger the physiological response. To be angry is to be angry about some “thing.” This “thing” is the object of focus and our mind becomes one-pointed creating a loop effect.

Eventually, the thing we are angry about drops back but we are still left with the physiological response. So any “thing” can now become the reason that gives continuity to the anger response-normal sounds, normal interactions: everything can literally seem to increase the agitation. This is why you feel there is a “snowball effect.”

What can be done if everything is now acting as fuel for the body to stay in the state of anger, or a state of subtle constant irritation?

There are many practices for different personalities. Here are some options with corresponding personality types:

The talker and doer-This person feels a very strong need to express their feelings and cannot wait to “cool off.” If they do not express their feelings, the anger tends to build and can become explosive if they feel that their voice is not being heard, and is being denied the option when someone refuses to listen. Taking a walk, being alone etc. does not help this character as they tend to dialogue in their head and return more enraged than when they left. What can this character do?

Communicate-Talk to a friend or someone who is not involved in the situation. Pick someone who you know will just listen and not encourage or validate the anger.

Write-Sit down away from others and write out your feelings uninhibited on paper. Do not stop until you feel the anger start to subside. In the beginning it will feel as if it is increasing; but stay with it until it begins to dissipate.

The Isolator-This person tends to withdraw and learns to break the physiological loop by starving it and not paying it any “mind.” Unfortunately, it appears to work temporarily but these are the characters that stuff their feelings and tend to keep track of all the times they were hurt and angered. This leads to depression, explosive acts of violence, anxiety, deeper isolation from relationships, general irritability for long stretches, and being easily overwhelmed. What can this character do?

Communicate-Once the anger subsides after withdrawing, come out and then talk about why you are angry. Often this personality can quickly become angry again. Walk away again, and keep coming back slowly and practice expressing the cause of your anger when the body has stopped reacting-even if you have to come and go many times. Be careful of convincing  yourself that communicating your feelings “does not help.”

Write-Once calm, start writing all your feelings uninhibited. You may have to force yourself to do this as you may be convinced that you’re not angry anymore; but all you did was stuff it down.

Until a person becomes completely unidentified with the body, it is imperative that you know how your specific ego has been conditioned to respond to stress. This is living as ego and managing it-psychology. Complete freedom from psychology is possible but is very rare. If interested in that path here is a link.

https://revealingtheabsolute.com/2015/09/13/question-what-is-the-relationship-between-humility-and-grace-and-what-role-does-it-play-in-enlightenment/

In Love,

Atreya Thomas

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3 thoughts on “Question: I really struggle with anger towards people. Once I get angry, it just stays with me and builds. What can I do about this?

  1. Thank you Atreya. Thoughtful article. Anger – even the word seems to have a power of its own and a passion to it….possibly it does. All words have power. It isn’t easy to find the cause at times, although if we sit and listen the answer may come. Once found, it gets diffused…it no longer has blind power over our emotion. Someone once said to me that ‘anger if used positively is the best motivator for change’….and I am reminded of an incident where my friend had a letterbox (mailbox) that was broken. Despite repeated asking of her husband for his help in repairing it, nothing was done and their mail was wet, torn or lost. So, one day, she got really angry, but rather than yell again at her husband, she got angry at the letterbox. She kicked it, screamed at it, and literally drop kicked it all the way down her driveway. Feeling better, she went out and purchased a new mailbox. When her husband came home, she asked him to help her install the new one and THEY DID! Resolution through anger placed where it was needed, not at a person, but at the object of her misery. Anyway, if you are feeling angry, ask yourself if you can actually DO something to resolve it. It worked for my friend and it may work for you. Thanks again Atreya for all your insights, they make me think! Angel hugs, Barbara xxxxx

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  2. Thanks. This is helpful. There are so many ways to deal with painful, destructive emotions but it is so hard to choose to use a technique in that moment. Unfortunately we cling to even emotions like anger, feeling they are an important part of who we are and secretly don’t want them to go away. We usually want to get our way instead. Lol.

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  3. What u=is also interesting is that our body has a very limited number of physical responses to anything. Meaning that it is difficult to determine the actual source of our body’s responses. For example, the heart pounding, heart flutters, and trembling fingers we experience could be from negative emotions such as anxiety as well as positive emotions such as excitement. We need to identify the source.. Good post.

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