When we do not know how to effectively deal with anger, we often choose coping methods that are harmful.
The following are examples of inappropriate coping methods:
1. Putting Anger Down. We deny anger or repress it. Some of us like to keep our nice person image and not “make waves.” Perhaps we say to ourselves that the situation is not important and “swallow our anger.”
2. Putting Anger Off. We think we can put off the situation, not get angry, and deal with the circumstance later.
3. Transferring Anger. We are nice to people who make us angry, but we are mean to those who love us. An example of this is when a father’s boss criticizes him at work. The father is angry with the boss but does not acknowledge his anger, perhaps out of fear of losing his job. Then when his child leaves toys on the floor, the father responds angrily. The father is really angry with his boss, but the child receives the outburst of expressed anger.
4. Deadening of Feelings. People who can’t cope with their anger and are afraid to express it often choose to not feel at all. Their reasoning is that, if they don’t feel, then they can’t be hurt. This is a very dangerous method as it puts them out of touch with their own feelings.
5. Staying in Control. Some people think that they must always be in control of a situation. To them, “loss of control” would be unthinkable. Anger is viewed as a weaknesses.