highly sensitive person

5 Myths about anger that are keeping you angry

In my anger management class in Murrieta, I teach people how to become more in tune with their emotions, how to express themselves in an assertive way, and to learn how to communicate better with the people around them. I've noticed a common thread among clients who take my anger management class in Murrieta. They often believe some myths about anger. Here are the top 5 myths about anger that I'd like to dispel:

Anger is genetic

How many times have you heard someone say "I'm Italian, so I have a big personality!" or "I'm from New York, so I scream when I talk." Or my favorite: "I'm Nigerian so that's just how I behave." We sometimes falsely believe that we should be angry because our parents were angry people or people from our culture or our town are angry. Well, I'm happy to let you know that anger is in fact NOT genetic. Your angry father did not pass his anger gene down to you like he passed down his brown eyes.

An angry expression of emotions is actually a learned behavior. So when you were growing up, perhaps your dad would yell whenever he was irritated or your mom would hit you whenever you broke the rules. Watching them express themselves in this way shapes you to believe that this is the only way to express frustration.

What this means is that the angry expression of emotions can actually be unlearned. Just like you were taught to scream at people, throw things or punch walls, you can also be taught to speak assertively, communicate clearly and to express yourself in a different way. Isn't that nice?

Anger leads to aggression

Many people actually believe that anger naturally leads to aggression. They run away from the emotions because they fear that it will lead to hitting, getting into fights or doing something they will regret later. To be clear, aggression is any behavior with the intention of controlling the other person. So if you refuse to listen to other people's point of view, if you constantly talk over others and try to get your way all the time, you're acting aggressively. Few people will actually admit that they are aggressive.

Anger doesn't automatically lead to aggression. You are actually in control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Now when people are in the heat of anger, they might feel like they have no control over themselves. This is untrue. The problem is you might not have the necessary tools to know what to do when your anger is reaching its peak. That's why you might feel out of control. But once you've learned specific tools to manage your anger (HINT: Which I teach in my anger management class), you'll find that your level of aggression becomes less and less.

Angry people always get their way 

Some people actually use anger as a form of manipulation. They believe that if they lash out or yell, their partners or loved ones will have no choice but to comply. Well, I have to say that it works sometimes. Their children, spouses and friends become so afraid of them, that they just do whatever they want to avoid an argument.

However, this can only work for so long. After a while, children grow up and become adults with boundaries. They'll move out of your house and decide to cut you out of their lives. Spouses will begin to stand up for themselves and you'll realize that you cannot always get your way. The only thing anger does is it creates separation between you and the people you love.

Anger is bad

Many clients have come in to my anger management group with their heads hanging low. They have been told or they believe that people who experience anger are bad. Anger is simply an emotion. And I believe it's neutral. Uncontrolled anger on the other hand, can lead you into a hot mess. When you are angry, it's important to dig in and figure out why exactly you are angry. In my group, I teach my clients that anger is simply a secondary emotion. This means it's just a symptom of something else going on. So when someone yells at you in public, you probably feel embarrassed or disrespected, which then leads to anger. When your child isn't listening to you, you might feel frustrated, which leads to anger. When your partner breaks up with you, you feel hurt, which leads to anger. 

Do you get it? Your anger is like the check engine light of your car. The light is simply a warning sign. The light is neutral. What you need to do is open up the hood of your car. If you cover up the light or ignore it, the problem will persist, get worse and then your car will be in worse shape. 

You should get anger out by hitting

Often times people say to me, "I'll just go hit the punching bags when I'm angry." While this might be a great work out, hitting something (or someone) when you're angry doesn't resolve anything. All it teaches you is how to be a great hitter. In the moment it feels great, because it's a good way to distract yourself from everything going on in your head, but punching something when you're angry doesn't resolve your relationship or soothe your hurt feelings. 

Ready to work on your anger issues so that your anger is no longer in control of you? Great! Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call with me to see if my anger management group in Murrieta is right for you. You can also call me at 951-905-3181. Make anger a thing of the past. It's all up to you.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

You have always felt like you're different from other people. You get overwhelmed easily, you feel other people's emotions strongly, certain fabrics feel like sandpaper when they touch your skin, and you tend to get anxious a lot. You don't fit in in the world, your family thinks you're too sensitive, and your friends certainly don't get you. You were called "Weird" when you were growing up, but you've always hated that. You don't enjoy going to the club, other loud places, or being among a large crowd. You also tend to spend a great deal of time on your own. There's something about time alone that soothes you and makes you feel rejuvenated.

Maybe you're simply just unique.

You were created with certain unique gifts that set you apart from the people around you. Maybe that's why you never fit into a box. But let's face it, a part of you always wanted to be understood. A part of you wished others would understand you. But maybe you were never meant to fit in, maybe boxes weren't made for people like you.

A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is someone who processes stimuli a lot stronger than others. The term was actually coined by a researcher called Dr Elaine Aron. So you might hear a lot sharper than others, notice little nuances in the environment that others ignore, feel sensations stronger (hence the itchy fabric issue) and even feel emotions more strongly than others. You feelings might get hurt more easily. A HSP is often very empathetic. They might cry more when they watch a sad movie, or they might be completely horrified and might not be able to watch violent movies or play graphic video games. They often see the hurt and the pain that other people try to hide. Because they're so empathetic, others tend to gravitate towards them and pour out their hearts to them. But the problem with this is, a HSP often feels the need to help everyone- leaving her with no energy left for her own emotional needs. If you're curious to see if you're a HSP, take the test here.

Here are some traits of HSPs:

1) People think you're sensitive or shy.

2) You are bothered by loud noises and bright lights.

3) You get frazzled when there's too much going on in your life.

4) You enjoy structure.

5) You avoid violent movies and games.

6) You love spending time all by yourself.

7) You tend to soak up other people's emotions.

So if you take the HSP test and find out that you're a HSP, congrats!! You are one of the chosen few. Only 15% to 20% of people are HSP. This is why others find it difficult to understand you-it's because you're a rarity. So take off the stigma of being weird and different. You are indeed unique- not weird. I love helping HSP women learn how to care for themselves, learn how to maneuver their way in this loud world so that they can how harness their innate gifts and create meaningful relationships. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call, so I can help you move from emotionally exhausted woman to a master boundary setter. I also provide online counseling for women throughout CA.