anger

How To Use Your Anger

Most people tell us to control our anger, manage it, and not let anger control us or dictate what we do.

I advocate the opposite. Use anger as a guiding star.

When we feel angry, something inside us wants to explode. Something that cannot be described inside us twists and tosses, and we feel even angrier.

A few years back, when I was angry, I sponged it up. I did not show it, I smiled and went about my way, collecting anger like antique valuables to be exhibited in a museum one day.

These last few years, with my depression, my anger went out of control. I threw my fiancé’s shoes out of the cupboard and kicked them out the door. I tore down his suits and threw them on to the balcony. I smashed books and broke glasses. I threw tantrum after tantrum, storming around the apartment in a rage.

As I worked with my psychologist to understand my anger, I realized that while the manifestation of my anger was different, the underlying reasons were similar.

This brings me to a fundamental point: anger is only the surface emotion; there is always at least one other emotion underneath the anger that is the real emotion we are feeling.

However, anger, given its explosive nature, usually crowds out whatever we are feeling inside. Thus, we end up calming ourselves down from the anger, and yet never process the actual emotion that is troubling us.

In my case, I was not angry. Rather, I was frustrated at the bureaucracy in the office. I felt misunderstood by my fiancé. I felt dismissed by editors. I read some blog posts and found the writing poor and wondered why articles as such could be published. I was disappointed my article was not chosen. I was sad that my friend committed suicide. I was worried about my future after the corporate life.

These were the real emotions troubling me. Identifying these emotions meant I could finally decipher the reasons behind and confront the issues.

Anger was a pointer for me. It told me something happened, something made me feel bad, there was something I disliked.

There is no need to act out the anger like I did with my tantrums, but actions are required to change the situation that caused our negative emotions, masked by anger.

Anger is fuel, a motivation for us to change our surroundings, our actions, our behaviours and our perspectives.

Let anger guide you to understand yourself – and channel that energy into self-development.

—–

Raised in Hong Kong and Australia, Noch Noch was a young, overachieving executive for an international corporation, working and living in the world’s most premier cities. After seven years of living the life she dreamt of, or so she thought, she suffered a serious episode of stress-related depression that turned her life upside down. As she battles with depression, Noch Noch is on a quest to be the wake up call for others in similar plights. She jots down her reflections on living with depression and self-awareness at “Be Me. Be Natural.” and recently started Bearapy, a creative therapy project.

Photo credit: ‘Anger‘ from Big Stock

  • http://twitter.com/ReformDesigns Reformation Designs

    Good stuff — just a heads up — the link to your website is linked incorrectly :)

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi REformation Designs – thanks for the heads up :)

      And glad you like the article!
      Noch Noch

  • http://www.coach-you.co.uk/blog Marien Perez

    Noch Noch – what a great topic you’ve chosen

    I agree that anger is largely misunderstood. It does act as a pointer. According to Marshall Rosenberg, founder of NVC (Non Violent Communication), anger comes not from our unmet needs or feelings, but rather from what we tell ourselves about those.

    What we tell ourselves often includes a “should” or “should not”.

    For example:

    “I felt misunderstood by my fiancé” means – I wanted to be understood by my fiance, and he didn’t. I told myself he should.

    “I felt dismissed by editors” – editors didn’t choose my article. I told myself the should have, as I thought my article was better written than others.

    Someone else, in a similar situation may have told themselves: editors didn’t choose my article. I wonder why. What have I got to do to get it published next time?

    The purpose of anger is to helps us identify what can make us happy. And this is how you do it:

    1- Identify what you are telling yourself.

    2- Find the shoulds.

    3- Replace them with a question that will lead you in the direction you want to go.

  • http://www.coach-you.co.uk/blog Marien Perez

    Noch Noch – what a great topic you’ve chosen

    I agree that anger is largely misunderstood. It does act as a pointer. According to Marshall Rosenberg, founder of NVC (Non Violent Communication), anger comes not from our unmet needs or feelings, but rather from what we tell ourselves about those.

    What we tell ourselves often includes a “should” or “should not”.

    For example:

    “I felt misunderstood by my fiancé” means – I wanted to be understood by my fiance, and he didn’t. I told myself he should.

    “I felt dismissed by editors” – editors didn’t choose my article. I told myself the should have, as I thought my article was better written than others.

    Someone else, in a similar situation may have told themselves: editors didn’t choose my article. I wonder why. What have I got to do to get it published next time?

    The purpose of anger is to helps us identify what can make us happy. And this is how you do it:

    1- Identify what you are telling yourself.

    2- Find the shoulds.

    3- Replace them with a question that will lead you in the direction you want to go.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Marien

      You’ve dissected the issue very clearly here for me. I just learnt another thing about my anger. It’s the presumptions and perspectives we have that underlie the anger. The “shoulds” are fatal here. But once we identify them, we can revisit to see whether our “shoulds” are rightly placed and then move on from there as a pointer

      Thanks for adding the insights!Noch Noch

  • Lisa Cloverdale

    Your articles are the best I’ve read in dealing with all this “stuff.” Keep up the brave work!

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      thanks Lisa! Soldiering on. Hope you are well

      Noch Noch

  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    I loved  this one Noch. Anger is one of the emotions that takes a delicate touch to properly identify the underlying cause. Expressing anger can also be a bit of a challenge too. Learning how to understand and express emotions is something that should be taught in school.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Justin

      Oh yes – I am struggling sometimes with showing my anger. I used to bottle it all up and now it just explodes. I’m looking for that delicate balance. And indeed, learning how to deal with emotions much more useful for us than hmm… E=mc2??
      Hard to change the world’s curriculum, so will have to remember to guide our own children when time comes!Noch Noch

  • Irenechiupc

    Your sharing definitely will have wide applications to other people. I will share with my elder sis who always express herslf in great anger on her children without a reason. Hope she can try to understand herself more.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Irenechipc
      THanks for sharing with your sister and friends. We all learn to understand ourselves more through trials and hope you sister can learn to see what’s behind her anger
      Noch Noch

  • Dougcartwright

    Like it. Great reminder that anger can point to something else.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Doug
      yup – am always reminding myself to think through my anger. Glad you liked the article!Noch Noch

  • http://worldoftricks.com/ Malikumarfarooqawan

    very nice article.
    thanks.
    totally agree.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Thanks Malikumarfarooqawan! 
      Appreciate itNoch Noch

  • http://www.thoughtful-self-improvement.com/ Natalie

    You are so right. Anger is an outward expression of another emotion. The first step is to recognize that you are angry.

    I often didn’t even realize I was angry. Then one time when my daughter asked me to do her a favor, After a pause I said “Yes” then she asked me why I was angry. I said I wasn’t angry. She said, “Yes you are. You clenched your jaw!” I never realized that I did that. Now I notice when my jaw is clenched and ask myself why that is. What is upsetting me. Stress and anger often show up in the body before a person is aware of the feelings.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Natalie

      Ah yes, those subtle facial expressions and body gestures. We neglect them usually, or simply are not aware we are doing them, but once we notice, they tell us a lot about ourselves. It was good of you to listen to your daughter – my mother used to deny everything I told her I saw about her. It made me recoil and stop talking to her for a while. We can all learn from each other, age is irrelevant. You are so right that our body knows our stress and anger much earlier on before we feel it, so we could all try to tap into our body and be more sensitive to it!Thanks for sharing your experience
      NOch Noch

  • Suzan2000sd

    I agree, thank you very much for sharing !!!

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Thanks Suzan2000sd!

  • Gina Montez

    Noch noch,great article here.Short,precise and to the point.Thank you so much for a wonderful share.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Gina

      Thanks. Happy to hear that you like my writing!Noch Noch

  • http://susangregg.com/ Susan

    Aloha Noch Noch,

    Great post. I remember when I realized I was never angry for the reason I thought. If I embraced my anger and allowed myself to move beyond it I could ‘hear’ my inner dialog and make a change for the better.

    My moto these days is only the love is real, everything else is an illusion or dillusion that I am separate.

    Thanks for posting,
    Susan

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Susan

      That’s a great motto!! And good on you for embracing your anger. I used to push it away and find that it just accumulates elsewhere. So I’m also learning to embrace the anger, understand it, deal with it, and move on

      Thanks for sharing some great points!Noch Noch

  • Brian

    I struggle everyday with anger; reactive, built-up, passive, etc. I am trying everyday to find my triggers and identify what is really setting me off on a daily basis. I really need to get the hang of what you were talking about since I don’t want to pass on a legacy of this behavior to my sons, who look up to me for guidance. Thank you for your article. Yet another way for me to understand myself and become the person I want to be and for my children to model.

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Brian

      Your sons are fortunate to have a father like you, who is interested in self development and also setting an example for them. I hope whatever it is you are angry about, you can find the underlying reasons for them

      My psychologist taught me to list out reasons why I was angry, and to dig from there. What was I thinking when I was angry? Why was I thinking that? What was my behaviour? What did I hope to accomplish through that behaviour? Eventually, I arrived at the ultimate emotions and feelings I had that were masked by my anger.

      Hope you find your light soon!Noch Noch

  • Bijudutta

    nice post, i also sometimes fell like this,,yes, similar reasons, misunderstood by everyone,, :/ Noch Noch,,is ther any point that i can refersh myself without visiting a 
    psychologist,,any link or site…please refer,,, thanks..

    • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

      Hi Bijudutta

      I just posted a post on my own blog on the websites that have inspired me to reflect and learn more about myself – perhaps that could help you?
      You can just click my name and it should take you there

      If you are talking about depression specially, theres a few: Beyond Blue, Psych Central, Psychology Today, Look ok feeling crap, Blurt it Out, Black Dog Tribe, Time to Talk, In good company

      Hope this helps
      Noch Noch

  • http://seogear.net/ seo agency

    Good written. 

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Kaizenrunner

    I like what you said about anger being fuel, a motivation for us to change our surroundings, our actions, our behaviours and our perspectives. That is how I try to look at it. It is just as you said, a pointer to something else in your life that is wrong–really wrong. It reminds me of one of my favorite saying “you are rarely ever angry for the reason you think you are”.

  • A Kamal

    Thank you very much  GOOD WRITTEN :)

  • Marilynn De los Santos

    Thank you for choosing this topic. I find myself feeling this exact way at times. As I read the article I was able to find the real reason why I have been angry!

  • Marilynn De los Santos

    Thank you for choosing this topic. I find myself feeling this exact way at times. As I read the article I was able to find the real reason why I have been angry!

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  • abdullah

    I strongly agree with you, but the stratigy you follow is CLINICAL , how about tryinng the deffencive method in ISLAM about anger:
    a man asked our prophet MOHAMMAD to give him an advise “DON’T BE ANGRY ” said the prophet he gave him the conclousion of all the mental health in one word.

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  • http://www.motivation.net.au/quotes/funny-quotes Silly Quotes

    I like the
    way you explained about “How To Use Your Anger”. I think you’ve made some truly interesting points. Not too
    many people would actually think about this the way you just did.

  • Loui

    ………………….. ummmmmm. I’m actually looking for a way to use it in a fight. I’m always angry during a fight, and I just want to use my strength in being angry in a fight

  • Devon Jones

    School is like a training ground for people who will later have to go to deep anger management classes, i swear kids are such a**holes, and i should know, i am one!

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