Let’s suppose you have done all you know to do to communicate your anger appropriately, yet you have not been received the way you would like. What do you do? At this point, some will resort to the unhealthy forms of anger as they suppress their emotions or become openly aggressive or act in passive aggressive ways. Those forms of managing anger are options (albeit poor ones) so be prepared to have your anger linger.

When assertiveness has been tried, but has not been fully successful, you still have one more option to consider, releasing your anger. When you release your anger, you accept the reality that you cannot fully control circumstances. You know you are limited and that is something you can live with.

To get an idea of what releasing anger is like, note the following examples:

  • A wife recognizes her husband will always have traits she does not like. She may draw her boundaries so she is true to her own priorities, yet she can also show a willingness to accept him for what he is.
  • An adult son recognizes that his father will never be able to love him. Because he does not want to remain bitter over this, he chooses to forgive him even as he also determines to be a much different father to his own children.
  • An employee does not like some of his company’s policies yet he also determines that he is not ready to move on to another place of work. He recognizes that no place of work is perfect and will give his best effort in spite of his differences in preferences.
  • A family man recognizes that he has been too inclined to be critical or cynical in relating with relatives. He determines to give higher priority to kindness and encouragement, not because he must, but because it seems like a better way of life.
  • A friend feels she has been wronged greatly by someone who has been very close to her. She speaks firmly to that person about her feelings and determines not to expose herself to repetitions of the same disappointment, but she also wisely chooses not to obsess about the wrongdoing and she chooses not to speak ill of that person behind her back.

Let’s keep in mind that releasing anger is much different than suppressing anger. When anger is suppressed, phoniness and pretense become prominent in your relating style. However when you release anger, you are enacting true convictions based on the fact that you have weighed your priorities and have determined that better things besides anger deserve your emotional energy. Anger communication has its place in any relationship, but love and kindness and honor and forgiveness can be given greater emphasis.

Dr. Les Carter