Not all feelings of anger are the same. We can experience healthy versus destructive anger, at times we may experience secondary anger that often masks painful emotions such as hurt, sadness, shame or fear.
Healthy or adaptive anger is often trying to communicate something important to us about our needs and wants. Regardless of the type of anger you are experiencing, it is absolutely important to always take the time to get in touch with your feelings of anger and ask yourself what is the core message of your anger especially as it relates to your healthy needs and wants.
Upon listening to your feelings of anger you may discover that you have let your rights and boundaries be overstepped and violated by other people, and that is the exact reason why you feel angry.This healthy anger allows you to take a stand, and say “ no, I won’t let myself be treated unfairly“. Getting in touch with your anger allows you to feel empowered, and protect yourself from further violation, thus helping to keep your sense of self and self-worth intact. This anger also allows you to reinforce healthy boundaries again, so that hopefully the individuals who overstepped your boundaries this time, will learn to honour your boundaries next time.
Secondly, we all get angry when our attachment-related needs and wants are not being met. Has your spouse ever forgotten your anniversary or your birthday? Maybe over the years you have felt that she/or he does not care about you anymore and in your mind you do not seem matter to him/or her as much as you did in the past. Of course If your spouse keeps neglecting your need to feel appreciated and valued, the need for you to feel like you matter, most probably you are going to feel some anger towards her/ or him. Your anger may even show up as complaining or the common nagging we often see in relationships. However, deep down underneath the anger, there is some emotional pain in the form of hurt or sadness, communicating to you about your unmet attachment needs of feeling cared for and valued.
In conclusion, I want to invite you to reflect on a recent feeling of anger that you experienced and ask yourself, “where is my anger coming from?”. Also, make a note of other emotions that accompanied your feeling of anger. Did you also feel disrespected, embarrassed or did you feel more vulnerable emotions such as hurt or sadness, fear, or shame? Knowing what other emotions accompanied your anger, will help you identify the source of your anger as either due to a violation to your rights and boundaries or a signal that your attachment needs and wants are not being met.