Today is about the second word of HALT
Anger is a mask for fear. When we are afraid of something along with that fear we get angry because we can't handle what happened. I want you to really think about this one. When we are angry we can not feel gratitude. When we are angry do we feel thankful for the sunshine, do we feel thankful for the good things in our life? At that exact moment the answer is no. So when we feel that type of all consuming anger it is the time to HALT and really think about ways to deal with this. Here's an example of my recent experience:
As you may know my daughter was robbed at gun point 2 days ago. Not only did the robber make her and her friends get down on the ground he held a gun to her head 2 times! Boy was I scared/afraid for her when we got the call. But all I can remember feeling is anger that someone did that to my daughter! How dare he do that! What kind of a person he must be and what kind of parents he must have! These were just some of the thoughts I had besides thinking it could have been much worse, etc. Yes I was happy that she was physically fine, but that was hard to feel thru the anger. Yes I am grateful for my family, the life I have now, etc, but at that moment all that gratitude went out the window, all I felt was true anger and hatred for the person who did this.
What we have to do is find a way to talk back to that anger and tell it to go away! In effect we have to train ourselves to break down the anger and think about it differently. Once you can confirm that you are angry think about the feelings you are having. Are you scared, annoyed, upset? Then you can self talk to yourself to see what really is wrong. The anger I felt made me have these thoughts:
fear, outrage, helplessness.
I was beyond scared for my daughter and her friends. Then I thought what is the worst thing that can happen now (after the robbery)? My daughter was safe, we stopped her credit card and we can fix everything else tomorrow (new lisence, bank acct, etc).
Yes I was totally outraged, but unless the police caught the guys there was nothing else I could do about it. Yes I wanted them punished, but that was out of my hands, afterall how was I going to find them? That took the pressure off of me to feel that emotion, afterall it was beyond my control. Just remember that you are in control of your feelings/emotions/actions.
And I felt so helpless to do anything about what had happened. I couldn't protect my daughter nor could I stop her from feeling what she was feeling. But what could I do? Thats the more important question. I could go to her as soon as possible, which we did do. I could help her get a new key for her car, bring her to the DMV for a new lisence, call the doctor for her and go to the bank with her. Plus I could give her all the TLC I could (or that she would allow).
I think the best way to deal with these feelings that anger creates is to talk back to it. I find it helpful to write this stuff in my journal or to sit down and really think it thru.
1. Write what is making you angry (the action)
2. Write down the emotions you feel because of it
3. Talk back to the emotions, ask yourself an opposite questions for example: Instead of feeling sorry for yourself or someone else (in effect having a 'pity party') decide to be proactive and ask, "What can I really do to fix this?" Not "What I want to happen", but in reality what can I do.
4. Answer the question. Remember to be proactive, try to make things a little better.
5. Make a note of what you feel after you ask and answer the question from step 3. Do you feel a little less scared, do you feel more in control of the situation, does fixing the problem (or part of it) make dealing with the aftermath any better?
Tomorrow we will be talking about Lonely.
I'd love to know if this has helped youi turn anger around.