Emotional, forgiveness, marriage enrichment

Throwing Plates

There have been times where I have been known to lose it in the past when angry, don’t we all?  Most of the time when I am angry I refer to the silent treatment in which I know is not a form of effective communication and then there are times where my tone goes up and I start crying yelling whatever comes out.  These times have been far and few between.  For the most part as we get older we have learned not to push each others buttons.  My children are quick to remind me that anger is a choice.

At one time years ago I threw a plate across the kitchen at my husband out of a fit of anger which crashed all over the place.  We laugh about it now but at the time it seemed like the thing to do since I was so mad at my husband.  I remember the boys (they were little)  come running into the room to see what all the excitement was about after hearing the big crash.  My husband looked at the boys and said, “This is not what we do when we are mad!”  I know it was the wrong thing to do but however I did seem to get some satisfaction out of throwing a plate but not so much of cleaning it up.  I think it was a response to see what Jeff would do.  This was the first and last time I did this. He informed me that although I may have had some family relatives who displayed this reaction of throwing a fit, I was no longer in their family because now I married into the Phillips family and his family did not do this.

Isn’t that just like God.  Before we were saved, we had fits as an immature child but as we came to know the ways of our new family with Jesus, we must become more like him.  Our old nature should no longer control us but our new life in Christ should be our master.  This was a lesson well learned.

We all have had our anger moments but anger is something that we can control.  We have to be 100% responsible for our emotions along with our actions.  We are the ones who control ourselves.  We can no longer use the excuse, “You made me” when dealing with anger or sin in our lives.  Below is a list of how to deal with anger.

  1. See It
    • Focus on the source of the anger. List the triggers (in session and as homework). Until the person can control the anger, avoid the triggers as much as possible.
    • Learn to identify anger before it is out of control. We must identify how we feel physically when experiencing anger.
      • Identify angry feelings while they are still minor. State out loud, “I’m feeling angry right now.”
      • Be aware of the first warning signs of anger, which may be physical changes. Anger promotes a sympathetic nervous system response (a physical state of readiness) and the following biological changes: rising heart rate and blood pressure, amplified alertness, tensed muscles, dilated pupils, digestion clenched fists, flared nostrils, bulged veins.
  2. Delay It (Proverbs 16:32; 29:11)
    • Brainstorm ways to delay the expression of anger:
      • Take a “time out”; temporarily disengage from the situation if possible (20-minute minimum). If married, do not leave the property and if you do tell your spouse when you will return.
      • Never use the word “divorce” as a leverage tool or threat in marriage conflict.
      • Perform light exercise until the intensity of anger is manageable.
      • “Write, don’t fight”; jot down troubling thoughts. This exercise is personal and writings should be kept private, possibly destroyed, not sent.
    • Talk with a trusted friend who is unrelated to the anger-provoking situation: Don’t just vent—ask for constructive advice.
    • Pray about the anger, asking God to show you insight.
    • Learn the value of calming. (A person in a state of fury is not equipped to deal healthily with an anger-provoking situation. Calming will help him let some of his angry feelings subside before expressing anger in a healthy way. Note: Ruminating is the opposite of calming, and makes anger worse by repeating destructive thoughts about an anger-producing event.)
      • It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city. -Proverbs 16:32
      • A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back. -Proverbs 29:11
  3. Control It
    • Brainstorm some ways for the client to express his anger in a healthy way:
      • Respond (rational action), don’t react (emotional retort).
      • Maintain a healthy distance until you can speak constructively (James 1:19).
      • Confront to restore, not to destroy.
      • Empathize (yelling is a failure to empathize). Speak slowly and quietly (makes yelling difficult).
      • Surrender the right for revenge (Romans 12:19).
    • If anger begins to escalate to wrath or fury, that is not the time to engage in interactions with others. Instead, temporarily redirect your energy to solo activities, or re-establish calm, before confronting others.
  4. Settle It
    • A plan should be made for follow up, perhaps:
      • Finding an accountability partner
      • Individual counseling
      • Joining an anger management group
      • Considering medication
    • The counselee should actively continue spiritual growth if he is going to effectively manage anger. The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
    • Remember to:
      • Surrender—to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16)
      • Reflect—on the mercy and love God provides (Ephesians 2:4)
      • Pray—admit to God feelings and regrets (Matthew 5:43-45)
      • Forgive—choose to let go of resentment and bitterness (Ephesians 4:31-32)
      • Avoid—ruminating and revenge (1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 1:13)
      • Give and receive—mutual respect with those close to you (Ephesians 5:31-32)
      • Love—even those who anger you (1 Corinthians 13)
      • Remember—what it was like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s anger (1 Samuel 19:9-10)
      • Resolve—the anger issues (Ephesians 4:26)
    • Underlying issues such as deep emotional wounds that have been identified in counseling need to be considered. Make plans to work on such issues through additional counseling and support groups.
    • There is a wonderful conclusion. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

 

Prayer:  Lord forgive us at times when we get angry.  Teach us to allow your Spirit to  move through us and give us comfort when our feelings get hurt or feelings of rejection tend to surface.  I pray that marriages and families will heal from all “anger stories” in the past.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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