In the previous post, Anger and Libido (Pt. 1 of Shark Week), we discussed how Angry Outbursts are explosions within the marriage relationship that can extinguish the fire of sexual desire. Today we’ll discuss the origins of the shark called anger and how to tame it.
A Shark Is Born? Well, sometimes.
According to this Medical College of Georgia study, there seems to be a genetic link to how quickly a person responds with anger. Another factor in anger expression is environment and what coping skills are taught (or not taught) by parents. When mom/dad explode because they can’t find the tv remote (again!), or someone took their space in the church parking lot, how are the kids taught to handle frustration?
Whatever the origin, anger can be a consequence of feeling the unfairness of circumstances or unjust actions of others. Angry Outbursts are a means for a person to control their environment and compensate for the fear and rejection they are experiencing subconsciously.
In “Taming the Shark” of anger, repression is not the key. Anger has to be handled, not held in. Repression and denial of anger can lead to depression. There is a direct correlation between anger and depression. There is an old expression that “depression is anger turned inward” (read about the correlation here).
In a hurting marriage, anger may be suffocating the overall relationship. Manage anger to help heal. Now of course, if anger is in response to a true Biblical sin, it is justified. But, the explosion of retribution is not acceptable, especially if the offending spouse has owned up and asked for forgiveness.
Pulling the teeth of the shark is not a quick or easy process. Pulling shark teeth is a bit like pulling the log out of your own eye. Most of the process of angry outburst reformation is self-introspection.
3 Ways to Tame Your Anger Explosions
Put a name to your emotion. All intense emotions are not anger. Those who come from families that exhibit anger as a coping mechanism, may not have the ability to readily identify specific emotions as they arise.
In my husband’s childhood home, he witnessed happiness or anger/rage and nothing in between. Anger reformation has included learning to name specific emotions when we feel them. Not all intense or negative emotions have to come out as Angry Outbursts. Over coffee in the morning, we discuss how we’ve been feeling. We pick one emotion from a list (like this one). It’s been a great exercise for BOTH of us.
He did not witness this emotional vocabulary in childhood. Plus, with male brain biology, his emotional processing takes longer and isn’t as readily converted into language. He has trained his brain to work through this problem. Over time it’s gotten easier.
Dave, my husband, would also like to share, that he has been able to be overcome Angry Outbursts because he was determined to break the cycle for our sons. He learned to harpoon the explosions before they were fully ignited. Snagging the shark of an outburst with the grappling hook before fully formed also takes practice. Mr. Muscle encourages you, beautiful readers, that you CAN do this. But, it will take time and diligence.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
“Often, mood is elevated just in the process of striving to find humor in difficult frustrating situations,” says the Anger Coach, Dr. Tony Fiore. In trying to find humor, the self is not taken quite so seriously. Also, when moving from anger to humor you are going from lower brain function to higher brain function. Diligently, eventually, finding something to laugh about will mean the only explosion you’ll have is from your lunch’s three-bean enchilada.
Move people! If you’ve read any of Pearl’s previous posts, you’ll know I’m an exercise advocate. And I hate to sweat or ‘glisten’ as we southern girls say. Once you experience exercise positive effects, you’ll understand. Within 30 minutes of exercise a feel-good biochemical cocktail of endorphins (related in composition to morphine), morepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin (libido chemical) are released in your brain.
All these help to soothe anger, ease frustrations and nervous tension. At the very least, 30 minutes of vigorous house cleaning or lawn mowing will count!
Interestingly enough, “Leave the Pillow Alone” shows that punching a pillow isn’t an effective anger management tool.
Here’s where the HOPE comes in.
The Lord will supply you with the power you need to overcome Angry Outbursts. If you deal with Angry Outbursts, release any guilt and shame. NONE of us are perfect. Every morning, God gives us each the gift of a do-over.
Nahum 1:3, “The Lord is slow to anger, but great in power…”Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”
PRAY over these verses. Surrender to Him for help to heal, restore and renew. Let the gifts of the Holy Spirit be fully realized in your heart and in your demeanor. If you truly desire God to help you with this, HE WILL.
“Jesus replied, if anyone love me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him,” John 14:23.