A few years ago, I kicked a huge dent in my washing machine.
I’ve also destroyed a pedestal fan.
I’ve thrown coffee cups, thrown chairs, punched walls, and screamed obscenities until my throat hurt.
I’ve punched myself in the back of the head and even bitten myself.
However, I’ve regretted and felt ashamed of my anger for years.
I’m not alone.
It’s the case for a lot of adults today, especially men. And you don’t need me to tell you what unaddressed anger looks like; it’s in the headlines of newspapers and news outlets around the world, played out in courtrooms and sadly, women’s refuge shelters…… and prisons.
And graveyards are full of the tragic results.
It’s not about the anger though
Here’s the kicker about my anger though.
I didn’t have anger issues. I had anxiety. And the anxiety manifested as anger.
That simple understanding changed everything for me.
My therapist explained that due to my generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), I was living life on a heightened sense of alertness ALL THE TIME which meant it didn’t take much to set me off. While most people were pretty chill, I was running around with the accelerator on my nervous system pushed to the floor. So, if something little went awry, I’d fly off the handle instantly and take to a poor innocent pedestal fan with my foot.
Now days when I feel anger arise, I pause, notice it, and then think back to what could be making me anxious. Usually, I find I’m anxious about an upcoming presentation or I’ve got a deadline for a project coming up. Once I identify it, I breathe, or do what I tell kids – run around the backyard like a chicken to release the energy. Then I talk to someone about it.
Having that awareness changed my life.
That’s why I feel it’s so important to teach kids about emotions and feelings from an early age. Imagine the difference it would make you and your child’s life?
And it’s not hard to do.