By David Joel Miller.
When should you seek counseling for your anger issues?
Anger and “anger issues” are one of the more common problems that result in people calling my office for a counseling appointment. Having anger building up inside you can harm you. All those excess stress hormones are really hard on your heart and other organs.
But anger, an excess of that stuff, can also damage relationships with family, friends and those you work with. Untreated anger issues may result in the police being called and you going to jail. Excess anger also results in lost jobs and in divorces.
In extreme cases, too much anger will get you locked up and court ordered to 26 weeks of anger management classes or 52 weeks of batterer’s treatment classes. Out of control anger can make a mess out of your life.
That must mean that anger is one of the more common and major mental illnesses, right? Wrong.
Despite all the problems an excess of anger can bring it is not recognized as a mental illness. Say what? Yes, you read that right. We think anger, rather than being any one specific mental or emotional illness is a “secondary” emotion. That is you are feeling one thing but you end up expressing this other feeling as anger. When hurt, emotionally or psychically hurt, many of us express this as anger.
Regardless of what is causing your anger or why you are angry, counseling can help you tame that anger beast.
There are several reasons you might need to go for some anger management counseling.
You do not like the person you become when you are angry.
If your anger is bothering you then it is time to see a counselor. This is true of a whole lot of other unpleasant or negative emotions. You do not need to be mentally ill to seek out counseling. If you do things when angry, sad or anxious you would not do otherwise, that is a bad sign. Just having to live with that anger all the time can make you miserable.
Some of you are thinking that you are in a situation where another person is always “making you angry.” Do not let that stop you from seeking help. You can learn ways to turn the volume down on your anger so you become less angry and angry less often or your counselor may help you with some life coaching to change the situation so that you are not going to get your anger triggered.
Your anger is interfering with your relationships.
Any time an emotional, mental or behavioral issue interferes with you relationships with family and friends that need attention. This may be an indication of a mental illness or it may just be stress. Either way, you need help for anything that is damaging your relationships.
Humans need other people. Having a good group of supportive people around you improves the quality of your life. Do not let anger drive your friends and family away and leave you unsupported.
Anger is affecting your work or schooling.
If you miss work or get in trouble on the job because of anger or other emotional flare-ups, this means that your feelings are a problem that needs attention. If you are not working but are in school then we consider going to school and doing your homework your job. Wish I could convince kids who tell me they don’t want to go to school that school is their job and if they can’t do that one they may need to work on their being homeless skills.
Your anger has interfered with other things you used to like to do.
If you used to play softball or go bowling but because of your anger and fights you got into you can’t go there any more than your anger has been and continues to be a problem. Letting anger or any other emotional issue cut you off from things that make you happy is a bad idea. Life should be more than working and suffering. Try restructuring your life to make it a life worth living.
That is the short list, you may think of other reasons you need to go see a counselor or life coach. Just remember you do not need to wait until your problems become serious mental illnesses before you seek help. Have you put up with anger for longer than you need to? Is it time for you to get some help, learn some skills, to get that anger creature out of your life?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books