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Dont let anger be the boss of you

Everyone gets angry. We lose our cool, blow off steam, hit the roof, and say things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. Anger is a strong emotion. Dealing with these strong feelings is a real challenge. Sometimes, the way people express their anger serves no purpose.

Some people hold it inside, like a smoldering flame. A wife may be angry with her husband because he stayed out all night. Now, she is not talking to him. Her silence is an expression of anger. It's her way of cutting him off. However, not talking with her husband does nothing to express how she feels.

She probably will wind up talking to herself. Tom explodes everytime he has a problem with an employee. He thinks that it's better for his employees to be afraid of him, rather than talking about the problems openly.

Tom wonders why things don't get resolved. He is like a snake who ready to strike all the times. Even so, Tom wonders why he feels so tense, uptight and agitated.

Linda says her friends take advantage of her. She wonders why they don't consider her opinion or feelings. As a result, Linda keeps her feelings and thoughts to herself.

She has a history of being depressed and tends to get headaches. Are you an angry person? Perhaps you are opposed to what others are thinking and doing. It may surprise you that angry people tend not to fit in with the crowd. Some go to extremes in order to avoid participation or conformity.

Often anger arises when a person feels abused, neglected, ignored or victimized. It can also stem from jealousy or mistrust. Larry doesn't know why he holds his anger inside.

He says, "The other day I waited 20 minutes for a parking space and a man drove right into the space before I could react. Maybe I should have said something. I really was mad!" Larry is probably fearful of a confrontation. Most likely, he is angry with himself. If he keeps those angry feelings inside, it will keep him miserable. If Larry could learn to be more assertive, his anger would be diffused.

He would also have more peace of mind. Angry feelings often stem from a feeling of injustice, whether real of imagined. Leo felt that he was being underpaid but feared asking for a raise. He didn't want to get into an argument with his boss. I suggested that he tell his boss that he enjoyed working for him but that he felt he deserved more money.

To his surprise, Leo's boss said that he appreciated him being such a fine worker, and apologized for not instigating the raise. Sometimes, amazing things happen when we calmly and assertively stand up for ourselves. Remember that gently expressing our feelings is so much healthier than holding it all inside. Is there anyone who makes you angry? Perhaps it is a parent, friend, co-worker, mate, or partner. What would you like to say to that person? What have you been saying to yourself that you imagined saying to that person? Susan worked in a small office with Joan, who was favored by her boss.

Joan was a chain-smoker, which made it very unpleasant to be around her. Susan's complaints to the boss and Joan were fruitless. They both paid no attention to her. Susan decided it was in her best interest to find another position. As soon as she did, Susan felt considerably happier. If you find yourself in a similar situation, where you feel you are being abused or neglected, it is wise to get out.

Don't let an unhealthy situation go on endlessly. Look for ways to make a change in your life. The next time you are prone to anger, think about how you want to handle it. Think about what you want to convey to the person. Think about how you can pave the way for communication. Think about what you want to achieve by the confrontation.

Think about how you can keep the lines of communication open rather than putting the other person on the defensive. Think about the verbal amunition you need to accomplish your goal. Perhaps you feel that you need to build up the courage to assert yourself, but you have an issue that is bothering you.

Maybe you're worried about what to say or how to say it. Let's assume you have an overbearing, meddling boss who doesn't like to be confronted. Prepare yourself by writing down everything you would like to say to them. It will be a tremendous relief to get it all on paper. Writing out your thoughts will help you to get organized and express yourself in the best possible manner.

Be sure to express yourself in a gentle and kind way, so your boss doesn't feel like he is being attacked (or needs to defend himself.) Remember how Leo handled it. He told his boss that he enjoyed working for him, but he needed more money.

If you start your discussion with a positive and upbeat tone, you're more likely to get a positive result. Lastly, if you think your anger may be spiraling out of control, please seek professional help. You don't want to hurt yourself or get into a violent confrontation with anybody.

Writer Dr. Kenneth Herman is the author of "Secrets from the Sofa: A Psychologist's Guide to Personal Peace." The book, which is based on Dr. Herman's 45 years of counseling practice, focuses on proven methods of change that get results, every single time. Check it out at

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