Like most emotions anger can serve a useful purpose in certain situations. Despite this all too often excess anger manifests in situations in which it really isn’t warranted. For the person who is experiencing the anger, it often feels as though it is the surface level triggers which are causing the response. Very often though, the anger stems from historical events, or other unrelated events without any awareness of this. Most of us have the experience of being stressed at work and being more irritable or angry towards loved ones. Later in retrospect it often becomes clear that we haven’t been ourselves due to the other pressures in our lives. What many do not know is the profound and lasting impact that historical events can have on the way we interpret and experience the world.
In school children in particular, one of the most common causes of background anger is bullying – either ongoing or historical. Our subconscious mind feels under attack and therefore often produces anger as a protection mechanism. Sadly once the brain increases background anger, even when the bullying, abuse or whatever the causal trauma was has stopped, the anger often remains.
Whether the anger stems from historical events, current situations or aimed at specific people, so long as the person is ready to let go of the anger it can be done quickly and easily. Removing anger leaves a person feeling much calmer and happier.
There are some important points to note about anger. It actually can be beneficial in certain scenarios. If a person is physically under attack or is suffering some huge injustice, the anger can help them defend themselves or motivate them to take action against the injustice.
A good way to think about anger is to think about whatever the desired outcome is in any given situation. For example if under attack, the desired outcome is to protect yourself from damage and get you safe. In certain situations anger can motivate one to take necessary action to overcome the injustice or whatever else has occurred. In one case a teenage boy was in a very uncertain situation at home and he felt that his background anger was helping by preventing him from becoming completely overwhelmed. He decided to keep hold of the anger for now until circumstances became a little more manageable at home, at which point he would be more open to letting go of the anger.
The sad truth is that the vast majority of anger bears no relation to where it is directed and very often doesn’t even scrape the surface of any desired outcome.
Removing anger isn’t necessarily about forgiveness and condoning anything. In fact a person can continue to think whatever they like but once the bad feeling disappears they are left feeling much calmer and happier. Moreover the removal of these emotions often results in a change of thinking; their thinking is less rigid and whatever they were thinking about seems less important.
For those experiencing ongoing bullying, by turning down the emotional response to their tormentors, very often the bullying subsides; after all it isn’t much fun when their victim is unaffected by their actions.
A certain group of angry people are merely mimicking other people. Maybe a parent or sibling habitually uses anger as a method of getting what they want. If the angry person gets a secondary gain from the angry persona such as a sense of significance and power, additional work is more likely to be required. A certain desire to change is needed for change to take place and if a person simply doesn’t engage then treatment becomes less clear cut. Similarly with those who are defiant, depending on the cause of that defiance, there has to be some desire to change for PSTEC to make the impact it is capable of.
Often those with anger stemming from historical events develop a reputation with teachers based on their volatile behaviour from the past. This can sometimes lead to them being blamed for things which they didn’t necessarily do which, because of their high background anger often leads to further confrontations. With these children in particular, once the anger disappears they need to be instructed that it is possible they may get blamed for things initially that they may not have done. This is because teachers are used to “trouble” from them and that it may take a few weeks before their teachers pick up on the new calmer person at which point this will often stop.