When we’re angry, we feel a compelling need to make a show of strength, to have others see us as powerful. We may do this physically or emotionally, verbally, with gestures or with physical aggression. Because the angry person needs to “win,” we may target our anger at someone who can’t – or won’t – fight back, someone who’s smaller, weaker or undefended.
Among children, we call that aggressive person a bully. Unfortunately, some of us never outgrow our bully phase. As adults, we feel the need to intimidate others – to show our strength in a way that makes someone else feel fearful or inferior.
We may “take out” our anger on our spouse, our children, our co-workers or even our pets, when the source of our anger has nothing to do with them. We yell, criticize, berate or boss others in an attempt to show them our superiority. We hold grudges and never forget a slight. We don’t listen or accept criticism or blame. We make snide remarks and spread malicious gossip. We always look for fault and a way to “get even.”
Such intimidation, as it releases our anger, may give us a false sense of being in control. We are not in control of our anger; it is in control of us. It also undermines our relationships and models destructive behavior that our children are likely to imitate when they attempt to relate to others. Children who bully are often the children of bullying adults.
Anger is a valid emotion. With the help of a compassionate counselor, we can learn to express anger constructively. We can begin to move through our anger, to heal and to repair the relationships we’ve damaged along the way.
For a free phone consult, call Dr. Fibus at 818.395.2831.