Sometimes anger is viewed as a nasty emotion that is immature, dysfunctional, and hazardous. It is easy to see why some people conclude this. Anger has the potential to destroy families, friendships, and careers, just to name a few. The consequences of anger can be devastating, but is anger a completely evil emotion? While at first glance this belief seems justified, viewing anger as an evil emotion fails to recognize the utility of anger. That’s right, anger can be useful. In fact, all emotions can be useful because they communicate an important message. The feeling of anger conveys the drastically important message that something is wrong in our environment and needs to be set right. Anger is an emotional cue that alerts us of a problem. When anger is viewed as an evil infantile emotion, we ignore and resist a natural emotion that serves a very practical purpose.
Anger produces devastating consequences when we choose to partner with it as opposed to allowing it to alert us of the situation. Sometimes individuals partner with anger and use it as a source of empowerment. Individuals who cleave to anger for empowerment love the adrenaline rush that anger carries with it. These individuals could be called anger addicts because they love the surge of energy coupled with anger. While anger certainly can empower, it often wreaks havoc in the process with its destructive relational effects. Anger addicts often live under the false reality that anger is the only means to personal success. They have not experienced empowerment through assertiveness. Assertiveness is a healthy confidence that recognizes both themselves and others in decision-making. Assertiveness produces the same feelings of empowerment, without the undesirable consequences of ruined relationships.
Practice recognizing anger as an emotional cue alerting you of a situation in need of repair. In doing so you are validating your anger and extracting the benefits from it. In the same way, when you are tempted to partner with your anger for that sense of empowerment practice assertiveness; assertiveness keeps relationships intact.