Everybody gets angry once in a while. It’s a normal part of human expression. Still, if you can’t manage your anger, then something else is going on. How can you find out what it is?
Do I have a problem?
It’s one thing to lose your temper once in awhile, but toxic anger is different. Do any of these statements describe you?
- I feel out of control with my anger.
- I dwell on hurting (“getting back at”) others or myself when I’m angry.
- After an outburst, I feel ashamed or guilty.
- People tell me that my anger is a problem or that it scares them.
- I hit or push people or break things when I’m angry.
- I’m sarcastic or mean with my speech.
- I “fly off the handle” easily, even about small things.
- When I drink, I get aggressive.
Nobody wants to feel or do these things. You don’t want to either. It’s time to break free. It’s not easy, but you can do it. Begin to trust.
What do psychologists say causes anger?
Stress, money problems, abuse, social or family conflicts, and being too busy can all influence anger. Also, if you were raised in a home where there was a lot of anger, you might have been affected. Or maybe you were humiliated or ignored as a child. Genetics could play a role as well. For example, your serotonin levels may have something to do with how you deal with frustration.
Look for core triggers
If you don’t get enough sleep or you skip meals, this could make your temper worse. Like anxiety triggers, many things can increase anger. If you look carefully, you can identify root causes of anger. And that’s where true healing begins.
With an open heart, ask yourself if any of these statements describe you:
- I have a poor self image and feel like I deserve punishment.
- I have a strong desire to control others.
- Since I feel small, I want to be powerful.
- Unjust or unfair situations make me see red.
Think about situations or conversations that really make you mad. Look for a pattern. What things seem to repeat themselves over and over again?
Identify the wound
As you go through this process, spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you see where anger is affecting you and those around you. Let the Holy Spirit open your mind and heart to identify anger patterns. Eventually, you will discover an unhealed wound, and this is the root of most of your anger.
If you have a cut or bruise and someone pokes it, you react. Anger is the same. Somewhere in the past you were hurt or humiliated, and the wound remains open. There’s a good chance you already know what it is. If not, reflect and pray. God will eventually reveal it to you.
This entire process lets you get to know yourself better. Don’t look for your perfect self. Look for your real self. When you see yourself and your past in the light of truth, you can begin to heal.
Ask Jesus to pour out his healing mercy over something specific. This kind of prayer is much more effective than asking to take your anger away in general.
The most radical thing a Christian can do is forgive. You may have been hurt and wronged. It might have been terribly unfair. Still, if you let this pain go untreated, it only continues to hurt you and others around you. Think about how much you don’t want this to happen.
This isn’t meant to deny your pain or make excuses, but resentment is poison to your soul. If you can’t find a way to forgive right now, ask God to show you how. Sometimes it starts by asking for forgiveness for yourself.
Take your time
Don’t feel rushed or hurried in this process, but don’t lose your focus either. This could be the most important thing you do in your life. People get impatient when they don”t see fast results. No matter what, deep healing takes time.
In the process you will get closer to God. He heals your heart. And you build a Kingdom of love all around you. You begin to apologize and get closer others. Is this worth it? Yes!
Put in the effort. Take the time. You can do it. Trust that God will help you, and your faith will set you free.
When Henrietta’s mother was pregnant, she tried to hide the fact since she wasn’t married yet. Henrietta ended up with a birth certificate that showed a later date than her true birthday. As an adult, Henrietta got married and had three kids. Her husband was unfaithful, and their marriage went through several years of turmoil before ending in divorce.
Whenever the issue of women’s rights came up, Henrietta would get furious. Her personality would change, and it became impossible to talk to her.
It’s not that women’s right are not important, but Henrietta’s exaggerated anger was based on core wounds from the past. Hiding a pregnancy and infidelity caused pain. The solution is to find out how to let go and forgive those who caused the pain. Also, identify her own part in the failed marriage and forgive herself.
Mildred lived a hard life of severe humiliation and abuse from her mother-in-law. An only child, Mildred also had a sister who died when they were children. Mildred had abortions out of fear of the reaction of her mother-in-law. Later, Mildred had a large family and many grandchildren. When Mildred prayed, she prayed for God to punish her.
When an issue about her children came up, or a criticism about one of her daughters-in-law, Mildred became extremely violent even swearing and shouting. Any apparent injustice sent Mildred into a rage.
The answer for Mildred is to go back and forgive her mother-in-law and heal from the wound of her lost sister. Also, she needs to find a way to forgive herself for the abortions. This process will be tough, but it will bring tremendous blessings.
Stan grew up with an alcoholic father who was physically abusive. Later in life, whenever Stan felt like someone made fun of him or put him down, he lashed out. He got into many physical confrontations with friends, family and even strangers. Always with a chip on his shoulder, Stan resolved conflicts with shouting, threats and his fists. After each fight, he felt terrible about himself. He even spent some time in jail.
Solution: Stan will heal when he forgives his father and himself. Then he will have a peaceful heart.
Needs a miracle
In cases like these, sometimes only a miracle can take away the pain and anger. Do you believe in the miracle of the Resurrection? Can we put limits on God’s love?
Remember, God gave his Son for you. But wait — don’t skip over this truth. Meditate about this. Think about what the death of Christ on the cross really means to you personally. Let the Spirit begin to soften your heart so God’s healing love can enter.
Begin to believe that things can and will change. Don’t get trapped into saying, “That’s just how I am.” This is not true at all. You CAN change. You CAN be better. You CAN have peace and joy.
Wounds are hard to understand and even harder to accept. When you begin to trust in the miracle of Christ — and his power to free and heal — then a miracle can happen in your life. You are loved beyond measure. Don’t be afraid! Be free!
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…
1 John 4:18a
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