Family psychologist COLM O’CONNOR on why it’s not your right to let rip about how you really feel…
AFTER many years observing the effects of anger in family life, I have come to the conclusion that it is an ineffective social emotion.
While it is a necessary and essential response to social injustice, abuse, or attack, it is a largely overrated emotion for
problem-solving or relationship building.
People who get angry at lot tend to justify it for one of three typical reasons:
It is their right to do so, they need to vent their feelings, or people need to be confronted when they are wrong.
All of these reasons are flawed. They rarely help to solve a problem or creatively deal with another person. In fact, research shows that the more people express anger and aggression; the more they do it.
Angry remarks, emotional venting, or patronising lectures are to emotional aggressiveness, what spitting or pinching is to physical aggressiveness.
The thought of someone spitting at you, or pinching you unnecessarily, is offensive in the extreme. Yet we tolerate emotional spitting where we degrade a partner or child with a put-down, angry dismissive, or a verbal attack that leaves the other person feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or in tears.
More often than not, anger is ineffective because of the effects it has on others. It can feel good to you to vent but when you look into the other person’s eyes you realise that there is much left to repair.
See the full article in tonight’s WOW!