We’ve all experienced moments when we, or someone around us, over reacts to an incident. Your husband forgets to pick up the dry cleaning on his way home from work and you blow up at him. You neglect to use your turn signal when exiting the highway and the driver behind you blasts his horn repeatedly. While anger is a normal response to what does not go according to our beliefs or desires, there are levels that are deemed reasonable and those that far exceed what is considered healthy. When this occurs, there are underlying issues spurring the exaggerated response.
Disproportionate anger is comparable to a shelf where one places more objects than the lumber is designed to hold. Each item, in and of itself, is manageable. However, the final object (although light in comparison to the others) is the preverbal straw that breaks the camel’s back. Seemingly minor incidents of anger that are left unresolved can result in any one occurrence causing an explosion of emotion.
Distractive anger seeks to divert the attention off the one who is misbehaving by projecting it on to the other person, thereby avoiding having to be held accountable for their issues and inappropriate actions. This can be accomplished by making false accusations, recalling a separate issue where the other party acted in an unbecoming manner, changing the topic to something unrelated or several other methods.
In either scenario, it is critical to be aware of what is transpiring so that one may uncover and resolve the real issues. Here are a few tips to practice to help you accomplish this:
1. If you are over reacting, take a step back and re examine the situation. Ask yourself if your feelings are fair and reasonable based on what is occurring. If not, seek to uncover what other issues you may be harboring that have not yet been resolved.
2. Put everything into the proper perspective. How serious is this issue really? Will it even matter in ten years?
3. If the other party is trying to distract you from the real issue, set boundaries. Be firm. Keep them on point. If they refuse to address the actual issue, cease the discussion immediately.
4. Be fair to all parties concerned. If you’re actions are or have the potential to harm anyone, reconsider your choices. Take into account how your behavior and choices will affect you and all those concerned now and in the future.
Once unleashed, anger cannot be retracted and in its wake it causes devastation for many. Think first – there are healthier options available.
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