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Controlling Anger

We taught a class recently and the topic of anger came up. One by one each couple told us that one of them got angry often and the other one was supper calm. These couples had developed a kind of survival instinct to keep them going through the outbursts, they were coping, but this is a terrible way to live.

By identifying the triggers of our anger, we can begin controlling and minimizing the explosions. We all want to be a pleasure to live with, staying in control is a huge step in that direction.

So what is it that pushes our buttons?

Our EGO!!

Rabbi Aharon Feldman says, when our egos are bashed we get offended and we get angry. Aggressive, passive aggressive or just annoyed, it is all the same reaction. Our egos are demanding the respect that they think they deserve.

Every criticism that we hear is a blow to our ego and we feel personally attacked. We don’t like to hear that we have faults, and for sure we don’t like to hear about them from our spouse who is supposed to adore us. Our natural reaction is to justify or counterattack, both these responses avoid taking responsibility and throw the blame back at the other person. It is OK to be less than perfect. By being real with our strengths and being brave enough to admit our weaknesses we can help ourselves from reacting.

Jealousy turns us green and makes us see red! When I see my neighbor getting what I think I should have, my ego shouts out, “What about ME? I deserve it more than him!” When your spouse abandons you for the golf course, the kids, Facebook or your in-laws, you are jealous of the time they are giving and you get angry. Often the solution to jealousy is admitting the root of the feelings and focusing on what you do have.

Being ignored or disobeyed is another huge cause of anger. If you have kids you will know exactly what I mean; after all, aren’t kids supposed to listen to their parents? When kids don’t listen and don’t do what they are told, the ego takes offense and is thinking to itself, “S/He doesn’t respect ME and doesn’t care about what I want!” Understanding that we just can’t always have what we want is a first step to controlling this cause of anger.

You can be a pleasure to live when you choose to take control.

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