Contrary to popular belief, anger is actually a secondary emotion. What that means is that there are usually other emotions underlying the bigger, louder emotion of anger. Anger is often viewed as a more socially acceptable emotion when compared to other negative emotions such as embarrassment, jealousy, disappointment, fear, and insecurity. Those feelings really don’t feel good. Anger feels good. It feels good to get good and angry at something, doesn’t it? It doesn’t usually feel so good to admit to the other negative emotions listed above, let alone try to deal with them.
The first thing I work to establish with my clients who struggle with anger is to find out what is at the bottom of their anger. What emotions are fueling it? Then I work with clients to help find ways to express their emotions in a healthy and respectful way. I also teach clients coping skills to deal with their anger when it comes up without hurting themselves or other people in the process.