The term offense comes from the Latin ‘offensa’: striking against hurt or displeasure. It is the action of attacking. This is what anger does. Anger is a weapon that we use to protect us from emotional discomfort. Sad is a vulnerable, ugly teared gut wrenching immobilizing feeling. Anger does its dirty work. Sad isn’t satisfied with just being.
It wants to DO something; so, it enlists anger. The problem with exchanging sadness for anger is we have more conflict and less peace. We suddenly become in opposition. We tense with the desire to hurt, control or win.
If we repeat this pattern, without resolution to our sadness, we end up bitter and without forgiveness. Learn about coping with anger and sadness now.
Anger is Sad’s Offense
Think of your angriest moments – were they born out of sadness?
Deep betrayal, loss, rejection or disappointment? Most of the time your answer will be yes.
Scroll down to learn more about coping with anger and embracing your feelings.
Coping with Anger and Sadness
First things first – do you know you’re angry?
If you struggle with depression, criticism, judgement or control; you are probably chronically angry.
- Do you lash out or storm out when you get angry?
- Or do you quietly simmer plotting your next move?
Keep in mind that anger isn’t always flashy or aggressive. Sometimes anger is quiet and sneaky. Kinda like an onside kick in a game of football.
A coach calling an onside kick wants to keep possession of the ball, maintaining the offensive position. Anger uses a similar strategy. It wants to stay in control until the threat has subsided.
Next, learn coping with anger by asking the question – is the threat real?
- We often perceive threats that aren’t actionable or real.
- We think we need to defend ourselves or change someone else.
- Rehearsing these negative thoughts reinforces our struggle.
- Stop buying into the idea that what you are experiencing “isn’t fair” or that someone who loves you “shouldn’t act this way”.
These are judgmental thoughts that don’t serve us.
It acts in moral superiority to others.
The more you react in opposition rather than acceptance of others, the more you perceive the world as a threatening place.
- Different attitudes, behaviors and opinions are not wrong, they are different.
- Different is beautiful, functional and important.
- Too often we want to change different so that we can feel more comfortable.
Try working with the idea that you are not under attack, you are just feeling vulnerable feelings.
And then – Identify your patterns and habits.
Start to notice your tendencies around sadness and anger.
- What are the messages you receive about both?
- How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say “don’t be sad”?
Many people struggle to sit with sadness. We avoid sad topics like grief with one another.
We attempt to sooth and pacify. Or case build and attack instead of just listening and supporting.
Are You Being Ghosted?
I spoke with someone this week who was struggling with being “ghosted”. The majority of “friendly support” was aimed at shaming the guy who did the deed.
- She heard things like “he doesn’t deserve you” or “F#$& that guy”.
- She was very sad but didn’t get much support for her sadness. Instead, she received a barrage of angry and judgmental thoughts.
- Even as a therapist I sometimes get sidetracked trying to reduce someone’s pain rather than supporting them in their journey through their pain. AKA codependency.
- Anger tends to be a more justifiable or acceptable feeling.
We use it to have power over others. For those who were taught that anger is unacceptable – you are more likely to have sneaky anger.
The final step in coping with anger – Face your feelings.
This just means stop avoiding, numbing or denying they are happening.
I get it, feelings are uncomfortable and the brain says, “avoid pain at all costs!”
Not dealing with your feelings is like becoming addicted to pills instead of solving the underlying problem. Sure, the pill interrupts the pain but it doesn’t fix anything long-term.
“In fact, taking pills creates MORE problems down the road.”
Eventually, our feelings demand to be dealt with.
You can face them now and experience greater health or wait until you are debilitated by resentment, depression, loneliness or physical ailments.
Facing your feelings just means giving them an internal nod and having some patience. Remember, you don’t have to DO anything with your sadness, just let it be!
If you struggle dealing with anger or sadness yourself, a family member, a friend, or somebody else close to you, or you want to learn more about coping with anger, call me at my Boca Raton or Key Largo therapy office at (561) 221-5575 or fill out my on the house consult and we will find your win-win.
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