You Don’t Know How Intimidating You Are

Anger Management

The first time someone told me I didn’t believe them. It was not possible, I wasn’t even angry.  I have heard it since a few times, less the older I grow. Apparently I can be fairly intense and even intimidating when I am fully engaged in an argument or discussion. I throw out a great deal of energy. Someone who once was in a creativity brainstorming session with me described me as a “fire hydrant”. I have had to spend time working on myself.

Recently I watched a couple argue in my office. It was fascinating to watch. One of the characters was incredibly intense – wagging his finger, raising his voice, swearing. His entire posture was set to attack. Now zoom across to the other person in the room.

She is not set to attack. You can watch her slowly close her posture. Her feet come up to her chest, she wraps her arms around herself. Her chin lowers and within a few minutes you can see clearly how she is rolling into the fetal position. The situation screams out for attention but neither of them can see what is happening in the room.

They have been told, more than once, that they have communication problems.

Anger is a very powerful emotion, perhaps the most powerful. It transforms a conversation into a fight. It gives birth to abuse and slander and arrogance and belittling. There are courses in every city on Anger Management. While these courses adequately address the symptom of anger few get to the “why” questions. Why can’t I control my emotions? What is going on in my life that has formed this angry person? Dealing with anger can appear so daunting that many people believe they cannot control their anger and have basically given up trying.

Anger person, you are scary. You come across as very authoritative and very very intense about things others apparently don’t care as much about. You are talking much louder than you think but God help us if we mention this. Your eyes tell me that you are enraged. It is very difficult to match your energy so most people opt to shut down. This generally makes the angry person even more frustrated, but what can the other person do? You sound prepared to do anything, wreck anything, hurt anyone to win this argument. It’s just not worth the fight and the pain.

This does not need to be a terminal illness. Once I began to understand how other people perceived me I was eventually able to recognize this in myself and control it. I shot video of myself and analyzed my posture. I learned STOPP Therapy to control my need to fight back as well as learned to put things in perspective so as not to become wounded. I haven’t arrived by any standard but I am able to exercise WAY more control over my emotions and responses than I used to.

Anger is powerful.

4 thoughts on “You Don’t Know How Intimidating You Are

  1. Scott,

    I know what GP (above) is talking about to some extent. My loose anger creates more havoc and negative responses as it basically mirrors my self loathing and reactionary man who lacks control. On the other hand I have learned to be in touch with my anger when alone and find it a wonderful tool for bringing clarity and control to a situation – often this takes the form of expressing the anger then releasing control after gaining clarity. Sometimes clarity for a way forward is gained.

    I also think over checking yourself or bottling your anger is toxic.

    Mark

  2. Interesting post, after I realized today that I might have been a little overbearing today. A friend I was hanging out with called me controlling, and I didn’t believe I had been controlling at that moment, but perhaps I had been a little out of control prior to that. I didn’t learn and may have been a little too passionate about my beliefs later that day. I don’t believe I was angry, but my voice gets loud when I speak as I try to be heard.
    I would also love to see some sort of post on how to recognize this behavior and stop it before it gets too intimidating.

  3. My hat’s off to you for taking steps to realize it and to change. My ex would never acknowledge it and instead always turned things around to say that I had supposedly pushed him to it. And, heaven help me if I would shut down. There was no such thing as a time-out once he got into attack mode. Granted, that wasn’t our only problem by a country mile but communication styles are critical to either relational success to relational demise (at least in my opinion). I evaluate my own regularly for that very reason.

  4. Let’s have a post on doing anger right, please.

    I don’t want to be repressed, but I also don’t want to be scary.

    Step by step suggestions, written in plain English would be good. A video would be even better. In fact, I’d pay for a DVD of scenes demonstrating how EXACTLY to do anger right. Especially if there was a companion workbook complete with Footnotes, further reading, and homework. If it’s evidence based, I’ll pay double.

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