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From Cary and Crystal Lake, IL: How Anger Destroys Families and How Counseling Can Help

Feb 25, 2008
The strongest contributor to individual character development is the family unit. You may have spent years trying to change, eliminate, or copy the influence of certain members of your family unit-consciously or unconsciously.

Consequently, if anger is part of your familys culture, you have probably noticed that it tends to spread itself to future generations. The wider it has spread, the more difficult it is to contain.

Take a look at the way members of your family relate with one another. Is there a hurtful and biting anger present? Remember, our earliest experiences communicating, problem-solving and relating to others occurs within our nuclear family. Unfortunately, patterns of anger in these relationships are then recreated in later relationships and subsequent family systems.

Fortunately, counseling and an expert treatment plan can eliminate the damage of having lived in an angry or abusive family unit.

How Dysfunctional Anger Destroys Relationships
Anger is a very common destroyer of relationships. Couples, however, often underestimate or minimize its impact by sometimes reporting that it is this anger that makes the relationship feel alive. A very dangerous notion.

How does irrational anger start? It grows in relationships which are insecure and where open communication is absent. The emotion of love then becomes buried beneath years and years of hostility and resentment. In these relationships, helplessness often exists in the present and anxiety and fear overwhelm thoughts about the future.

The news is not all bad, however. The good news is that if you are motivated to take part in marital or family therapy you can be rewarded with new optimism and hope.

The following are tips on how to limit destructive anger in your relationships:

1. When you feel angry, mentally evaluate your feelings. Ask yourself if you are over-reacting or jumping to conclusions.

2. Particularly, if you have nothing to lose, start by giving others the benefit of the doubt. Ask yourself if you have taken something too personally or over-reacted.

3. Move to higher ground; get a broader perspective. When you feel resentment building, talk your feelings over with a loved one and get additional feedback.

4. If certain relationships are repeatedly fraught with anger, assess whether or not you should stay in them.

5. If your anger feels out of control and/or mysterious and particularly, if the relationship is important, consider family or relationship counseling.

How Do I Know If a Family Member Has an Anger Problem?

Most of the time angry individuals are aware that they have problems controlling anger. Unfortunately, many of them come to accept that their anger is unchangeable, a fixed aspect of their personality and feel hopeless to to do anything about it. If you wonder whether you or a loved one may have an anger problem, look for several of the following symptoms:

1. Becoming inappropriately angry in response to mild frustration or irritation.

2. Experiencing painful feelings of guilt or regret over something that you have said or done in a fit of anger.

3. The existence of repeated interpersonal conflicts that result from angry outbursts (legal problems, arguments, damage to property, school or work suspensions, etc.)

4. Family and/or friends approaching or appealing to you to control your anger.

5. Having chronic physical symptoms which are generated or exacerbated by too much anger, such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal difficulties etc.

Where do I Seek Help for an Anger Problem?

Mental health professionals are very responsive to those who seek treatment for anger dysfunction. Referrals to treatment professionals and services are available through The American Psychological Association, The American Counseling Association and The National Association of Social Workers.

You may feel shame or guilt about your anger issues and these problems can actually change the lives of you and your loved ones, for the worst. Therefore, it is critical to consult with a counseling or mental health professional who has many years of experience in anger management training.

What Kind of Treatments are Available for My Anger Disorder?

The most common approaches to anger management problems include the use of individual and family therapies. These therapies help one to become aware of specific triggers and thinking processes which lead to chronic anger and demonstrate how to think productively, rather than irrationally.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy explores the root of angry feelings and behavior in a counseling format that includes only one client. This counseling approach helps the individual to focus on the most important emotions causing his or her excessive anger.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a powerful and comprehensive way of repairing the damage caused by longer-term expressions of hurtful anger. Chronic anger commonly alienates family members from each other, resulting in strained communication. It can also cause members to be overly involved with one another in a very dysfunctional way.

Family therapy considers each members role in the dysfunction rather than just pinpointing one person.

How Marriage and Family Therapy Help

Marriage and family therapists, psychologists and mental health counselors are trained in how to identify anger patterns that pass from generation to generation. Identifying these patterns through counseling helps each client to explore his or her perceptions, prejudices and misunderstandings about the appropriateness of certain types of anger.

For example, when parents reflect on how emotions were expressed in their nuclear families, subsequent family members begin to understand the family's inherited concepts about anger and how to correct them.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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