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Anger Management Institute

Getting Angry Over Nothing

Why do we get so mad over things that don’t really matter, like getting cut off in traffic by someone who’s in too much of a hurry?

Sources of Anger: Maybe it’s cumulative stress. Or maybe it has to do with putting up with rude people throughout the day and feeling disrespected over and over again. Each of us has a limit as to the amount of stress we can take. Each of us has a limit on the amount of disrespect or abuse thrown our way.

Our perspective and thinking really does cause the anger though. People have said to me: “I don’t choose to be angry. Anger just happens to me.” I disagree. Look back at situations when you got angry. Maybe you were angry at your spouse for disagreeing with you about how to discipline the children. What was underneath the anger? Was his/her disagreement with you really that bad? Or was it that you felt ‘disregarded’ or that your opinion didn’t matter and thus, he/she didn’t really care about you? This is mind-reading and personalization- cognitive distortions which cause angry reactions. Doesn’t your spouse have a right to disagree with you?
You have disagreed with your spouse in the past over issues and plans. Did that mean that you were disregarding his/her opinion and didn’t care about him/her? No. Spouses have the right to disagree. Spouses should not act like ‘clones’. It’s healthy to disagree. It’s not healthy to mind-read.

Maybe your spouse came home late one night because of a flat tire on the highway. You because angry because he/she did not call you. Did the thought cross your mind that he/she was having dinner with another woman/man? Isn’t this ‘catastrophic thinking’?

Do we really get angry over nothing? No. Usually, there is something causing the anger – our thoughts, stress, expectations, beliefs, cognitive distortions and yes, someone does something which is disrespectful or disappoints us.

The Bible says in Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” NIV

What is the principle here? If your mind tends to judge others quickly, thinking the worst about someone’s actions or words – you will be easily angered. On the other hand, if you train your mind to think the best about someone and give them the “benefit of the doubt” about situations – you will find yourself less frustrated and angry. This kind of reaction or response only comes when you allow Christ to be in control of your whole life, heart and mind.

~ © copyright 2005 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger?and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.


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