Largely, it’s a combination of what we consciously or subconsciously believe and what we most want or (emotionally) need in the situation. What we believe is possible or what we believe we or others “should” (or shouldn’t) do, for example, activate emotions and neural command networks in our brain that shape our behaviors.
The questions below are designed to expand awareness of your emotional experience of anger, what you’ve learned and believe, and perhaps the beliefs that underlie how you express or respond to anger, others’ as well as your own.
Instructions: Write down your responses to the following questions:
1. Anger is…
2. When you were growing up, what did your mother do with her anger? Your anger?
3. When you were growing up, what did your father do with his anger? Your anger?
4. As a child, what did you decide about expressing your angry feelings?
5. Who taught you “how” to express or not express anger?
6. In what situations did you learn to express anger or silence anger?
7. In the present, what do you do when you are angry at your partner? Child? Parent?
8. How long does it take you to let go of angry feelings or stewing inside (days, hours, minutes etc.)?
9. Are you satisfied with how you resolve your anger with your partner? Child? Parent?
10. What do you want to change so you will feel good about how you resolve anger?