Yes, you have read that right.  “D” for anger.

No, I haven’t forgotten the alphabet.  But let me explain.

There’s a lot of anger around right now.  It’s one thing to observe it on our TV screens.  It’s entirely another thing to experience it at close quarters or in a therapy room.  In my day to day work, separate from online tutoring, I am often on the receiving end of some very angry outbursts from some very hurt people.

And, like me, you may at times feel overwhelmingly that anger can mean danger.

There is a rightful anger, and there are some wild and destructive forms of anger, rage and outrage.  And it’s important to recognise the difference and respond accordingly.

Usually, within therapy, the anger will not be directed directly towards the therapist, but that doesn’t prevent us from occasionally reflecting that it feels exactly like that if we are witnessing a strong expression of anger.

So....”D” for anger.

Danger:  If the person you are working with is expressing strong emotions in what you experience as a very aggressive manner, you may well feel a high level of anxiety and perceived danger.

So think about how you will respond.  Think about what boundaries you hold.  And rehearse what you might say.

We can’t anticipate every situation we may face, but certainly exploring those responses will build confidence in dealing with situations if and when they arise.

Displacement & Defence:  Whilst the person in front of you may be expressing anger, underneath they may actually be very fearful or anxious themselves.

They may be very angry about a specific experience and it may feel that all the verbal violence is directed towards you, but perhaps they have not or cannot direct that anger to whom it is really addressed.

In reality that anger may be a feeling of fear, being overwhelmed, being abandoned etc.  And it’s important to recognise those feelings underneath.

Destructiveness:  When anger is not worked through, it remains unresolved and subsequently begins to eat away and destroy the person inside.

When anger is misdirected, or becomes a negative driving force that takes control of life, then it becomes destructive.  “Letting go” of that anger can be like losing a part of oneself, of losing a sense of purpose and direction.  And if your whole life is built around some specific anger, taking that apart is a terrifying process.

So – perhaps I can encourage myself, as well as you, to think of a different “D” for anger.

Development and Discussion:  Finding a way of enabling a rightful, creative and appropriate release and expression for anger; exploring ways of creatively discussing the process and the event or experience behind the anger; and engaging with personal development to come through the other side of anger to a more healthy point of living alongside the experience, the emotions and a positive and constructive outcome.

And trust me, it’s not easy.

But it’s worth it.