No, this isn’t a post about suicide, or even suicidal thoughts. Although in your case it might be. It’s a post inspired by the words of another blogger, bookishbyte, who wrote ‘I would rather bleed from the choices I make then be hurt by what someone choose for me.’ It’s a post about making choices.
As a humanistic psychotherapist I often see people with anger issues. People who tell me they can’t control what they say in arguments with loved ones, or lash out verbally at their children and are instantly remorseful. People who tell me about the ‘red mist’ coming down.
There are practical tips all over the webosphere for controlling anger, and these are (mostly) helpful. But my first suggestion to a client is that the next time they are in a situation where they find themselves getting angry, they might try to just notice what’s going on. How they are physically in their body, what’s going through their mind, how they are feeling.
Because by noticing how they are when their anger is triggered, the next time they might notice a bit sooner in the process. And that is key. If I don’t notice I’m angry until I’m exploding, then I’m on autopilot. I’m reacting. If I notice as the anger builds, then I can decide how to act. I am responding. I have a choice.
This is clearly only part of the process of the therapy; finding out together why it happens and what may be underlying the anger is the real work. But that’s another story. Choice is part of the taking back of control in our lives. When we allow others to make choices for us – as we do when we let someone wind us up to the point of explosion – then we are giving up our power. We can’t help feeling emotions like anger, sadness and fear. But we can choose what we do with them.
Have a great weekend.