Coping with Anger

This entry is part 19 of the series Friends

Angry_womanIn an earlier post, we looked at anger, and we saw that it is a normal part of the cancer roller coaster.

We’re now going to look at ways you can help a friend or family member that is riding that roller coaster, cope with their anger.

We saw the need to help your friend recognise the anger, and identify the fear, frustration or hurt behind that emotion.

Realise it’s not easy for them to admit to fear, or to share their deepest hurts or frustrations. So take it slowly. Once your loved one knows you understand, it will be easier to explore deeper, hidden feelings. You’re obviously not going to turn your back. That opens the door to discuss the unwelcome feeling and the reason behind it.

You may be able to help your friend deal with the situation. Feeling free to share your deepest thoughts and fears with someone who accepts you as you are, is not only healing. It will encourage coping mechanisms.

Here is a list of ways that may help your loved one to deal with anger, and because I’m sure you also sometimes

. . . very rarely

. . . well, maybe sometimes

. . . get angry too,

we’ll make it personal.

  1. Go through the emotions and, if possible, discuss each point with your friend.
  2. Accept that you may well become a target for the other person’s anger. That’s okay. You understand . . . right?
  3. Identify the cause of the rage. Sometimes it’s easy, like when the kids misbehave. Sometimes it’s not so easy. But watch for the cause.
  4. Avoid storing up anger. Sometimes we use anger like a mask, disguising other painful feelings such as despair or “What’s the use?” A person harboring negative emotions or resenting another’s actions, should ask, “Is this anger I’m feeling? Is it worth what it’s doing to me?”
  5. Look for a safe way to express those feelings. Anger can be likened to the gas in a fizzy drink bottle. If you shake it up long enough, when it finally finds a way to escape it will spew out uncontrollably, affecting all those close by.
  6. Don’t use your anger to hide other feelings. How you handle depression or fear is different, so make sure you identify the true emotions.
  7. Try not to take your anger out on others. Cancer is not their fault. By lashing out in anger, you may well drive them away from you at a time when you need their support badly.
  8. Direct your anger at the root cause, not at people, your medical team, or your dog.
  9. Share your negative emotions with those closest to you. They may be able to help dissipate the anger with calming therapies such as relaxation techniques, visualization exercises, music or art therapy.
  10. Discuss the reasons for the anger with someone trustworthy and non-judgmental. This might even need to be a professional counselor.
  11. Allow anger to have its way while doing a physical activity.
    • Thump a boxing bag.
      • Dig in the garden.
        • Beat a rug.
          • Crack a bat against a swing ball.
            • Punch your pillow.
  12. Anticipate the anger, and deal with it before it happens. You can do this by following through on a number of suggestions already on this list. You can also
  13. Go for a short drive to a quiet place (if you’re not already in a rage of course).
  14. Find somewhere that no one can hear you. Then shout out at the top of your voice. If you live near mountains, there’s something very satisfying in hearing an echo come back.
  15. Journal. Write whenever you feel angry. Lash at the people or situations on paper, rather than in ways that will damage relationships. Make sure they never get to read your journal!
  16. Write when things happen that have the potential to make you angry. Try writing poetry or describe beautiful things that will lift your spirits and help prevent anger developing.
  17. Join a support group or link up with a counselor trained in anger management. Learn ways from the professionals on how to avoid destructive responses and learn new coping skills.
  18. Think of ways to have fun. It’s difficult to be angry when you’re having fun.

star blinkingDo you have any other suggestions?
Did you find one of these that especially works for you?

Please tell me by commenting below.

And as always, remember . . .  

This Too Shall Pass Flickr photosharing