areas of specialization » anger management

How do you deal with anger?  Do you eat it, bury it, explode with it or … ?


The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”  —  Gloria Steinem

Anger can be a troublesome emotion in today’s society. On an evolutionary level, it is believed to be important for survival. When faced with harm or danger, anger provides the energy for fight or flight.

But the main ways we deal with angry feelings are based on our models growing up. We often learn or develop our behavior patterns from parents and family, friends and community. We also learn from the culture we live in — which includes the media, especially social media.

Some people over-react when they feel angry. They have a quick temper, go off like a firecracker and then they are finished. Others are slow to burn and the feeling builds up until it can no longer be contained. So it explodes into some form of conflict or aggressive behavior.

Still others suppress or avoid their anger, so it goes underground and causes all sorts of difficulties, on a physical, mental and/or emotional level.

The expression of angry feelings has traditionally been a male prerogative. In most societies, men were the breadwinners and women depended on men fighting when necessary to keep the family alive. So men learned over time that being angry is an acceptable response to almost any provocation. In fact, it might be the only emotion men feel entitled to feel and express.

Women, on the other hand, learned to curtail their angry feelings, so they wouldn’t be seen as witches, shrews, harridans, fishwives, bitches, etc. So women traditionally have swallowed their anger, denied it, maybe eaten or purged it, or transformed it into other more acceptable forms of female expression, such as crying.

We can learn to choose how we express anger

These ways of dealing with angry feelings are changing nowadays. For someone’s optimum mental health, it is important to be able to feel it and choose how best to express it.

I see anger on a spectrum or continuum, from a slight irritation at one end to murderous rage on the other, with many points in between. The good news — the ability to recognize and accept many of these in-between points on the anger spectrum is learnable.

Treatment for anger issues is often part of helping someone heal from anxiety, trauma, disordered eating, or addiction, to name a few.  I use a range of techniques drawn from cognitive, emotional, somatic, cultural or spiritual approaches, depending on the individual.

If you struggle with anger, and would like some professional support, just fill out the contact form on the right-hand menu and I’ll get back to you asap.