We are discussing anger this week and how it is a secondary emotion. As we look into the primary emotions that the anger is protecting such as sadness, fear, disappointment, and hurt, we see how important it is to identify what is driving the anger. When you recognize and deal with the primary emotions, the anger slowly goes away. Today let's talk about hurt- something we all can relate to.
Think about the last time you felt hurt about something. What was the first thing you remember feeling? Often, it's anger. Even when we grieve, one of the first stages is anger. We are mad that it happened......right before the hurt hits. The anger protects us from feeling pain from our hurt.
Even animals respond this way. Have you ever walked up to an injured dog? They show their teeth and let you know to stay away. Why? Not because they are angry with you but because they are hurt and want you to stay back while they deal with it in their own instinctive way.
We do this as well. I worked with kids when I first started out as a therapist. They were always angry when they first came in. They didn't want to be there and quite frankly didn't want to be bothered with an old lady telling them what to do. Once I was able to make a safe place for them to talk, almost always they would share the hurt they felt. Mom and Dad were divorced and the kid was hurt about it. Grandma died of cancer and they missed her......hurt. Being picked on at school.....hurt. All of it was usually hurt yet it showed itself as anger. Once they were able to talk about their hurt, most of the time their behavior would change dramatically. Then Mom and Dad knew what to talk to them about as well.
When you're angry ask yourself, "Is there possibly hurt under my anger?" If so, talk to someone about it. Just opening up may help diffuse the anger significantly. Another way to help is to journal about the hurt. Singing, writing poetry, art, or other various ways of expression can be helpful tools to express hurt as well.
Thank you for reading. Tomorrow Joleen will give us some great resources to use to deal with anger and the underlying issues around it.
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville