1) Anger is a masking emotion
Anger covers up primary emotions, like shame, fear, or insecurity. When we can’t deal with the deeper feeling that a circumstance triggers, anger becomes our way to self-sooth and self-protect.
When anger starts to rise up, ask yourself, “What’s the emotion behind the anger?”
Then you can start to address the root cause of the struggle.
2) Anger doesn’t go away with time
Two things happen with unresolved anger: it grows and you lose sight of its cause.
We were recently in St. Augustine, FL and Bonnie misplaced her cell phone a couple times–the kids kept taking it to play games. But it was easy to find because we recognized its loss immediately. We just retraced their steps, no problem. We’ve also misplaced a restaurant gift card but didn’t recognize its absence for a few weeks. There was no way to retrace our steps.
The apostle Paul cautions us to not “let the sun go down on our anger” because when we let too much time pass before dealing with it, we’re effected by something that we can no longer even identify.
A sure sign of unresolved anger…
Whenever our anger over a circumstance is greater than the circumstance warrants, it’s because there’s history. We’re reacting to more than the circumstance itself. It’s very easy to confuse a trigger with a cause. Suppressed anger is like a pilot light–it’s always ready to be reignited.
How do you get rid of anger?
Forgiveness is the only way to get rid of anger.
You step out of the role of a debt collector demanding repayment for what was taken from you. You cancel all debts, close all open accounts. It’s amazing how long we will keep accounts open…
We carry anger from childhood into adolescence, from adolescence into adulthood, from one relationship into another.
Freedom begins when you cancel all outstanding debt, take all of the should have’s and push them out the door, and say to those who have wronged you, “You don’t owe me anymore.”