1 Breakthrough Question to Ask When Angry

Anger is a part of who I am, and I’m much more comfortable admitting that now than I was a year ago.

Do you feel like you can talk about your anger?

In the past, I would feel guilty just for feeling angry. In the past year, though, I’ve come to understand myself and my anger so much better.

Without even knowing you, whether you’re a homeschooling mom, a recent grad, a long-time member of the workforce, etc., I would go out on a limb and say that there’s a 100% chance that some member of the anger family is a part of who you are, too.

What is anger?

Did you know that, under the wide umbrella of negative emotions, there are many members in the ‘anger’ family?

From mild agitation to full-on rage, I hadn’t realized that they’re all in the same ‘family.’ If anger family emotions were on a spectrum, some other emotions along the line would include annoyance, frustration, or just plain-old anger.

So how can you tell if something you’re feeling is in the anger family?

As I learned from my TPM training (more on that below), emotions in the anger family are aimed at someone. While we may feel confused or ashamed or sad within ourselves because of our choices or circumstances, emotions in the anger family are towards someone or something (though it can even be aimed towards yourself).

For example:

  • I’m frustrated that my daughter dropped her bowl of oatmeal again.

  • I’m annoyed that my son can’t stay focused on this simple activity.

  • I’m angry that none of my kids are grateful for the breakfast I made for them.

  • I can’t believe that I messed up and snapped at my kids again.

In all of the examples above, there is an object to the anger, the emotion is moving towards someone or something (even if that “someone” is yourself).

And unlike other negative emotions like sadness or shame, we often don’t want to let go of anger. The reason for this is crucial (the crux of this post, really), but first let me address a concern you might have…

But isn’t anger bad?

I started this post by acknowledging that anger is a part of who I am. But, you may be asking, isn’t it wrong to feel angry? Isn’t anger bad?

Depending on your upbringing, maybe it was considered wrong to be angry or show anger in your household. Or maybe in a broader sense, you grew up in a household where no negative emotions were accepted or tolerated.

  • When you were upset, you were expected to get yourself together… (The sooner the better, please)

  • When you were sad, your parents just reiterated the reasons you weren’t supposed to be sad… (This is still a struggle for me with my kids sometimes)

  • When you were acting out, you were squashed with authoritarianism… (“That’s it, you’re grounded. No x, y, and z for two weeks”)

Now, I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, had a positive upbringing. Even in the best of households, though, parents make mistakes. So don’t take the above examples as me wanting to bash on your parents or how you sometimes parent your children.

The point I’d like to lay before you today is this: negative emotions are important.