It is easy to become addicted. Habits provide a sense of certainty, security and stability in our lives. When we depend too much upon a habit for our sense of well being, it is easy for it to develop into an addiction.
Addiction to anger is one of the most common and lethal addictions, and one most seldom recognized. The anger addict becomes hooked by the false sense of power anger brings. As the addiction grows, it consumes more and more of their lives, producing painful consequences.
The best way to undo an addiction is to look it squarely in the face, see what triggers it, how it functions, the false promises it offers and the huge costs we pay. The next step is to undo the lack of awareness and false thoughts the keeps the addiction alive. As we begin to take charge, we regain power back over our lives.
To begin to dissolve the addiction to anger, we must learn more about it. What function does it serve in our lives? What effect does it have?
Functions of Addictions
When we are in the grip of an addiction many troubling aspects of life are blocked out. The addiction numbs us and blocks out painful feelings and experiences that we may not wish to deal with. It prevents us from seeing and dealing with issues, which need to be attended to. At this point the addiction serves as a defense against anxiety or hopelessness.
Effects Of Addiction To Anger
When we are angry we often have a temporary feeling of strength, energy, righteousness, power, authority or control. Much like alcohol, the surge of anger, which takes over, can block out fears, inhibitions and doubts. There is a temporary sense of freedom and empowerment that we normally lack.
The sense of false power which we feel can be a defense against feeling helpless or inadequate. Of course this power is not real power. Once the anger passes individuals feel weaker and more empty than before. All the while an addiction is running, it makes the individual feel safe and secure. The reality, however, is those addictions destroy an individual’s true safety. It blinds them from doing what needs to be done to build a life of true value and stability.
Anger can also block out logical thought processes, making us feel we are absolutely right. Some individuals who have trouble making decisions can make them easily then. hese kinds of decisions rarely provide positive outcomes. Many actions that might seem unacceptable when calm seem perfectly fine when we are angry.
Anger also encourages us to blurt out negative thoughts and feelings we may have been holding in that might have better gone left unsaid. Of course, after the surge of anger passes, it is difficult to take these words back. Even if we apologize the after effects remain. Although it might have felt good to speak out while angry, a little later on when reality dawns, there is often a sense of regret. In one way or another we have to pay for what we have done.
Below are some exercises which help undo the addiction to anger and regain control over our behavior and thoughts.
Dissolving The Addiction To Anger:
1)List the times in which you feel angry or upset automatically. What person, thoughts, memory or situation brings this up? For now, just notice this and write it down. As you go through the day, if another situation strikes you, step back, notice it, and write it down as well. Rather than reacting blindly, you are now taking time to become aware. Once you become fully aware of the way anger operates in your life it will not be able to sneak up from behind.
2)Find a substitute for the automatic reaction. Instead of reacting the same old way the next time the situation arises, stop, breathe and tell yourself, “I will not be a slave to anger anymore.” Stop and listen to the person and say to yourself, “This time I will let them be right. There’s plenty of time to be right later.” Pause and listen to what they say. See how much better you feel getting pulled down into anger again.
3)Find a new way of viewing the situation. Instead of seeing the one who angers you as an enemy, tell yourself that their anger is a cry for help. It comes out of pain and conflict within. Instead of going on the attack, say to the person (either in your mind or out loud), “What can I do to serve you?” Not only will this diffuse the anger, but will open new doors for both of you to walk through.