Living life, we are confronted with many emotional afflictions. Fear may seem to take the top spot but fear is not as dangerous as anger. Anger can manifest in form of hostility, wrath, and resentment. Many relationships have broken, wive’s battered, children abused by the violent outbursts of anger. Anger as an emotion has done more damage to our interpersonal relationships than any other.
There is Susan; a good lady friend of mine whom I once had a crush on. Susan’s story is a perfect example of the chain repercussions of anger, fear, and resentment in relationships. We both once had it going smoothly. We’d been out on a couple of dates and she was all fun. Just on this bad haired day, I had to pick her up for dinner. Had earlier gone out of town for a meeting and on my way back, I got stuck in traffic, which made me arrive about an hour late. I had called twice to explain everything to her and she seemed cool. But on arriving the restaurant, Susan snapped at me, verbally lashing out her disappointment. I was awed. I had forgotten to reset my phone settings from “silent mode”. She had called twice and I didn’t pick up.
And that was just it. It took weeks to endless calling and texting before we got back talking. It was after a couple of months that I realized that Susan’s childhood had everything to do with her attitude. She was born into a wealthy home but along the way, her dad lost it all and became bankrupt. Susan together with her mom and three siblings went through hell trying to meet up ends. Daddy always said “everything will be alright someday” And eventually there was light at the end. He got back into business and made ten times more wealth. But then, the excess wealth brought sadness into the family. He became boastful, a drunk, a serial liar, and a cheat; neglecting completely his family. Susan’s parents eventually got divorced. Since then Susan had learned not to trust any man.
Her anger had been directed at especially career men – and unknown to her, her resentment for such men grew to unimaginable proportion.
According to Steven Stosny, author of “Anger in the Age of Entitlement” “The road to bad sex, divorce, alienated children, aggressive driving, business failure, community disintegration, and violence begins with resentment”
Resentment as a feeling develops when people sense that they are being treated unfairly. They feel they are not being appreciated enough, shown enough affection, apologized to enough, rewarded enough or accorded enough respect. Resentment slowly and shadowly develops and becomes habitual. At this stage, it is not specific to one single behavior – and its origin is rarely remembered. It gets to a point where every new incident of perceived unfairness automatically links onto previous ones, eventually leading into a chain of reactions.
Having dealt with the kernel of anger and resentment, here are some tips to help us manage anger and growing resentment in our daily lives.
Think More, Talk Less
Learn to suppress your words. Take as much time as possible to collect your thoughts before verbalizing them. Never place yourself in a position that you have to argue and raise your tone. At the heat of an argument, you are very much likely to do something you’ll later regret. Listen more, speak less.
Exercise helps relieve built-up stress that can cause you to become angered. When you are so stressed or feel like you are getting upset, take a brisk walk, jog a few meters, play football or go cycling. By all means, do what you love to do and sweat it all out.
Let it go
Never hold a grudge. Forgiveness is the key to overcoming anger and resentment. If you allow anger and bitterness to becloud your mind, it will overwhelm your thoughts and impede your progress in life. Learn to forgive and let go.
Laugh it out
They say laughter is the best medicine and it’s so true. Humour is a great pain reliever you can use to quell your anger and possibly dowse the tensions that arise from the hassles of life you have to go through. Lighten up a little, it helps diffuse tension.
Identify the root cause of your anger
Did your anger originate from your not so good childhood experiences or does it have to do with your temperament? Psychologists have identified fear, pain, and frustration to be the common roots of anger. Again, whenever we bury our anger alive, it never dies. It just finds another way to express itself. The surest way to kill your anger is to face it and find it, then figure it out.
Take a break
At times when the stress builds up so much, take some time out. Quiet times helps calm your nerves, clears up your mind and prepares you for the task ahead.
When calm, try to express yourself
As soon as your thinking clears up and you are calm, express your dissatisfaction in an assertive way. Try not to be confrontational as this may stir up another fracas. Be clear, concise and try not to provoke another round of argument.
If your anger issues are getting out of control, and it makes you hurt others – even the people you love, don’t be scared. Understand that you are not alone. Be bold enough to seek help.