Serving Western MA, Springfield, Northampton and Amherst, MA, Brattleboro, VT, and the Pioneer Valley, with telephone counseling, nation-wide, LifeCourse Counseling Center, and all its therapists, affirm all sexual orientations and gender identities, and celebrate the rich diversity that exists among people of all ethnic, racial and class backgrounds.

Anger is probably the most feared, overused and misunderstood of emotions. For some, it may be a general stance towards life, for others it may be feared and never felt or expressed. Still others may fear that its appearance will have catastrophic consequences. Some find it impossible to control. Like all emotions, however, its nature is to ebb and flow and its basic intent is healthy.

Various problems can exist in relation to anger. Sometimes a person has come to use anger to avoid other feelings. Animals show us, for example, when threatened, aggression and violence can be used to cope with fear. Equally true, anger can mask other vulnerabilities. It may not seem cool, strong enough or masculine to appear sad or insecure. Children may grow up in environments where anger is the most common emotion shown, thereby tilting life in this direction. Worse, children may have witnessed or been victims of violence and it becomes a foundation from which that person grows.

The aforementioned experiences can also make someone afraid of anger. It may be something that needs to be avoided at all costs. Children and adults both can experience rejection and criticism when it is expressed, reinforcing its threat.

When anger is used for any means besides an expression intending resolution, its result is almost always destructive. The use of harsh word or deed intended to injure will do just that. Likewise, anger that is repressed or stuck, once felt and/or expressed may help someone clear a path and move in a desired or needed direction.

For most, anger needs to be understood and managed. Through the process of therapy its parts can be understood so people can make the better decisions about what they really want to accomplish. It must be something a person becomes aware of so it can be positively directed and in a way that has control. Understanding the beliefs and needs behind it, finding alternate coping mechanisms and finding positive ways to express it are among the necessary means of reducing its detrimental effects. Counseling can significantly help.

For those people who are depressed, they may need to find where their anger is stuck. Some depressed individuals or people who have suffered abuse may find anger very frightening. In these cases, anger needs to be seen in a new light, whereby it can be seen, felt and expressed as bits of emotion rather than storms of violence. Again, anger can be understood and reworked to become a positive self empowering emotion rather than one that seems out of control and only causes harm.

Regardless of the problem someone may have with it, anger can become an ally in life and not something that only creates injury.