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By RICHARD ZWOLINSKI, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. ZWOLINSKI

Exploring anger is often an important stage of the therapy process.

People who’ve suffered often have to get in touch with and name their anger. Otherwise, anger can be turned inwards—and express itself as fear, toxic shame, addiction, and self-harm.

Inwards is where anger goes to harm ourselves.

Or, it can go outwards—as blame, verbal and physical abuse, road rage, and so on. Outwards is where anger goes to hold others at a distance, even people who one wants to be in relationship with.

If anger’s lurking, it’s vital to understand and work through it.

But, is it possible to really work through anger at, let’s say, someone who’s seriously harmed or abused us? (We’re talking about past abuse, not present.)
The answer: Yes. But it takes some work.

Once we understand what anger is doing to us personally and to our relationships, there are steps we can take to let go of anger rooted in past injustices or harm.

Some of the tools we need to get in touch with and let go of anger (again, after understanding it) include:

Perspective. This is where we do some big weighing in on the shortness of our lives and ask: What is important to us? What do we want out of life? How can we best make our own lives work? What helps us? What hampers us? We may need to reset our priorities.
Present: Trying to stay focused on the present and how we want to live. Living with anger is living in the past.
Love: Relationships with other adults run the gamut from co-worker to friend to spouse and so on. Relationships with one’s own children also belong in this category. If we want to give and get love, we generally have to let go of anger.
Self at Soul Level: For us personally, this means our belief in God who has reasons, we cannot necessarily understand, for the positions we find ourselves in, including the painful ones. Whatever we suffer, we still have choices (albeit restricted choices.) You have to determine for yourself what being in touch at a soul-level means to you.

There are others, these four are a good place to start.

Other Anger Posts:
Thinking About Anger and thinking
Who Are YOU Angry With? Take our poll!
10 Beliefs About Anger a post which discusses beliefs you, your therapist, and the guy next door may share about anger.
When 2 Wrongs Make A Right a post which asks (and tries to answer) the question, “Is it okay to give in for the sake of peace? Is this cowardly? Manipulative? Practical? Loving? We believe that: Even some of the most fractured relationships can improve when only one person is doing the initial peace-work.
10 Ways Anger Masks Itself