Tag Archives: Anger

Parents, when you fight with your partner, what do you tell the kids?

Parents do you go and talk to your kids after they hear or see you fight and talk to them about how it was for them to have been in this experience?  Do you help them with identifying their feelings and sharing what needs they had in the moments of the fight?

Do you try to tell them what the fight was about and get them to pick sides or do you tell them truthfully what you are feeling about them experiencing the fight with you?   Such as regret and sadness that you didn’t met their needs for safety?  Once you and the child connect to theirs and your needs about the fighting experience you simply might say that you and partner had needs that were not being met and that the frustration came out in the behavior that was demonstrated.   Do children need to know adults stories or do they simply need to know you care about them and that it is normal to have frustration?  What’s important might be how you model the process of dealing with the frustration and not the frustration itself.  Be truthful about the behavior scaring you if in fact it did and begin teaching them the feelings that go with different behaviors without making the behaviors threatening.  Normalizing the behavior through the process of coming  to understand it begins to defuse the level of fear attached to it and its power, opening the door to future mediation skills in moments they may face anger.

Turn these moments into teachable experiences and explore it and not feed the fear.

Views of Anger from different vantage points

In a group dialogue I listened to a secondhand  viewpoint on anger from someone who had attended a workshop.  This view was  that anger could be focused in a way that wasn’t from a source of ego, yet simply to cut through it (ego).

Reflecting,  I had  memories of reading this message in Rinpoches dharma teachings and  witnessing  this skillfully in action, by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg,  and experiencing it unskillfully from another teacher.

The person sharing in our current group seems to  attracted to this topic and that it was relevant to her in the general topic we had been asked to discuss.  This filled me with  curiosity on how to marry these two together.

Coming back, what about anger?  I shared above how one person used skillful means in the process of cutting through the anger with no ego and one who had not achieved this skill, yet thought they had.  I believe the difference in these two experiences is that one person had the skills of empathetic listening (of themselves and for others) and one did not.  The second person carried an authority of knowing something and was not interested in others perspectives.  My experiences was their only interest was being their teacher.   Both these teachers had their own journey of experiencing and learning therefore, in my opinion, neither were right or wrong.  It was simply them!

What is the key to healthy anger?  The hint in the last paragraph – empathetic listening!  My perspective is that developing the ability to listen to your anger and go through it’s protective layer to what is alive underneath will release the current charge or grip of it.

The beauty of it is this experience is can  become a new skill to resolve anger issues of the past and for new issues.  You may even begin to recognize that you are NOT triggered by the same old events.

Another key lesson is  soon as you are honest with yourself and accept your anger without judgement it becomes the basic skill for hearing anger in others with deepened empathy!

I understand anger as   being an emotion to notice some action needs to be taken. Anger, therefore in this sense, is the protective use of force.  An example could be a child crossing the street.  It is anger that will increase adrenalin and provide the force to get there in time and out of harms way!

I wonder if skillful use of anger without ego then is anger without being attached to an outcome and therefore it is spontaneous (not a result of old issues and aggression.  A flash in the frying pan action, if you will, that will release the tension of the moment and result in a healthier outcome when combined with the right techniques to process and move forward with mutuality of all sides!

Part four-in becoming friendly with anger deepening the needs consciousness

Part four in this series may be for those who have already established a practice in recognizing needs consciousness and/or working with a facilitator.   If your new to the practice and this next part is confusing, go back to the first four parts and enjoy working with developing your practice.

In exploring naming your personal needs as described in part two of this anger series  you will with more practice develop a choice for naming the first set of needs that come up or you can take another step.  This is the step that this article will focus upon.

The first choice to stay with the first set of needs that encourages and feelings and needs dialogue.  This will support you to connect with the other party and share what is going on for you.  An example,  I was late for a doctor appointment and as my doctor entered the office she stated that she was frustrated because her need was for being on time.  She did state her feelings and her need and I could empathize with her yet I wasn’t connected, so to establish one it would have taken us into a dialogue.

To take her sharing to a deeper connection she could have stayed with her needs a moment longer and then connect to the new feelings coming up .  This may have allowed for another set of needs to come to the surface.  For example,  “I am concerned for the loss of being punctual and respecting my other clients time when you arrive 15 minutes after our agreed upon time.”   Had she mentioned this to me I would have had an instant connection that didn’t startle me and one that I could stay with and be authentic immediately back in my expressions of regret.

This step of the practice is then to add another level to identifying your feeling and needs.

1.  After identifying your unmet needs, stay with it for a few moments and notice if new feelings come up.  Sometimes there may be sadness at having these unmet needs and if you open to this your may find another need arise that you are more connected with.  This is usually the one that if you express to the other party that they can hear with more understanding and clarity and not hear any blame or shame.

The third part in becoming friendly with anger is being willing to connect

The third stage before talking it out with the other party is to consider what may be going on for them that had them behave or make the decisions that have stimulated you.  These actions  are similar to the process you just completed in determining your own feelings and needs yet now it is to imagine what is alive for them.  What stimulated their behaviour or decisions.

  1. Consider what the other party/parties may be feeling.
  2. Connect to what needs they have.

Once you are comfortable with having some understanding of their perspective and what might  going on for them, make a choice if you want to share what’s alive for you, or if you want to listen to them first.  Begin to connect, start talking.

In the model that Dr. Marshall Rosenberg has written about in Nonviolent Communication, he suggests following a guideline to follow to support creating a new dialogue. To view this process – go to NVC – four part process

For Parts one – The first part in becoming friendly with anger begins with understanding its function

and two – The second part in becoming friendly with anger is being willing to recognize our anger verses being angry

and four for those who are ready for a bigger challenge in their established practice – Part four – in becoming friendly with anger deepening the needs consciousness 

The second part in becoming friendly with anger is being willing to recognize our anger verses being angry

In the article called, The first part in becoming friendly with anger begins with understanding its function,  we left off with the question of, “How do we begin to recognize that when we feel anger in our daily relationships it is that our danger signals are simply telling us we are not getting our needs met?”   The first three steps to understanding more about this could be:

  1. Commitment – make a personal choice to begin resolving your difference and choose to connect in your relationships
  2. Develop Understanding – become curious about how to be objective about what is happening that is causing your anger.  A good rule of thumb is to view a situation as though seeing it through a video camera and describing this without blame and shame.  For example, “the room was dark and the table was at an angle that I did not see,”  versus, “you left the table in walkway and you turned the lights off, what did you think was going to happen!”
  3. Be Willing to Take Personal Responsibility – take time to explore what your feelings are  and know that these feelings are created by an unmet need you have.  What could needs be?  In the above example you may be feeling annoyed, hurt, and frustrated because you have a need for safety, trust and reassurance that if you walk through your family room in the dark you’re not going to walk into a table.

Having personal agreement to these first three points will give you incentive to  create opportunities for going beyond your differences in situations that typically create anger.  The next four steps are inner based self inquiry and actions steps to begin to practice the next time you notice your feelings of anger rising.

  1. Notice what you are telling yourself without judging yourself.  What stories are you putting to the situation.  In the above example it might be, “he/she always moves the table and never puts it back.  He doesn’t care about anyone but himself!” Or perhaps you are not comfortable with the idea of having needs and expressing them.  You may have been brought up to not have needs or may have them confused with ego thinking.  Simply notice and commit to moving forward with;
  2. Identify the emotions or feelings that are coming up.  Some of us will have a vocabulary of feelings and others will sense in terms of experiencing.  After choosing a few that are most alive move on to;
  3. Identifying what needs of yours that may not be getting met.  This  step will begin to decrease the level of heat you are feeling and begin to let you connect to what’s underneath the surface of your reaction.
  4. Decide what you want.  Make this a clear and positive action request which will be easier to find agreement with.  You cannot come to agreements with statements of what you do not want.

Once you have stopped to check in and separate the enemy images to understand more objectively what has stimulated you, identified your feelings and needs that stimulated your feeling and come up with a clear positive request of what you do want,  the next stage is to deliver the message.  For on go to link:

The third part in becoming friendly with anger is being willing to connect 

The first part in becoming friendly with anger begins with understanding it’s function

#1 – Anger usually covers up feelings that we want to protect.

For example if we are overlooked for a promotion at work deep down we may be feeling disappointed, hurt, and possibly annoyed and not ready to share this even with ourselves therefore what we might notice is anger.  Processing the news of not being chosen we may cycle into thinking in what could be called “enemy images, ”  to protect our feelings.  We begin to think about something being done to us, or begin thinking of ourselves as not being good enough.

#2 – Anger indicates that something is happening that we are not in alignment with.  

For example,  a parent of two children may become angry witnessing one child dominate the other by acting in a bullying way.  This could be a trigger for the parent who reacts in anger to protect what is dangerous.   In this case the parent has a need for emotional and physical safety for both children.

#3 – Anger is to get us out of danger, fast!

Anger is an inherent human function to stimulate us into action.  Imagine the adrenaline that runs through your body when you get angry.  The next time you notice yourself becoming angry make a point of checking out how your muscles begin to respond, how you breath and the power you feel.  You need this to get yourselves and others out of danger.  If your child was crossing the street and a car was coming, this anger is useful for you to act immediately to get that child out-of-the-way of the car.

The second part is becoming friendly with anger is be willing to recognize your anger versus being angry  for more, go to  link