Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Five Things I've Learned About Anger

by Carole Towriss
My husband came home early yesterday morning from a long weekend with his brother, his brother-in-law and and his cousin. They get together once a year to play six rounds of golf in four days and eat a lot. They trade a make-shift trophy of of the aunts made, which I think is an engraved pen. (She couldn't stand the thought of there not being an actual object for one of them to keep from year to year.) Mostly they just want to spend time together.  
     This year another family member added a bit of drama for John. Since he was coming into town specifically to see his brother-in-law, this one conveniently managed to avoid seeing John. Any other time he visits, he is happy to see John. But every year, when John comes to golf, he happens to be busy. Since he is mad at the brother-in-law, apparently John should be as well. This has been going on for the last few years.
     I thought, how much energy does it take to maintain that level of bitterness? To keep up the anger and to try to suck everyone around you into it as well?

    For a number of reasons I've been thinking a lot about anger lately. Here are a few things I've learned.
One.  Anger is a secondary emotion. The primary emotion is generally fear, or sadness, or hurt/pain. These emotions are usually too uncomfortable, so people often go to anger instead. We're trying to protect ourselves from the hard emotions. It's easier to be angry, especially for children. But the underlying emotion needs to be identified and dealt with.
Two.  Anger is a warning sign. It's masking the real issue, but something is wrong. When someone you love is angry, help them figure it out. That's the only way to make the anger go away. 
Three. Anger can be constructive if used properly. Some people think anger is always wrong, but it's how you deal with your anger that is the issue. It tells us something needs to change and gives us the motivations to make it happen. The abolitionists, the American colonists, the suffragettes--all these people used their anger to help right a wrong. It's whether you control your anger, or your anger controls you that is the issue. 
Four.  Anger is self-desctuctive. It damages your health, and can cause irritability, headaches, migraines, chest pains, body aches, high blood pressure, depression and cardiovascular issues. It generally hurts you far more than whomever you are mad at, although it can make those around you upset and put off as well. 
Five.  Anger is a learned behavior. And that means it can be unlearned. You don't have to "vent." There are healthy and unhealthy ways to express anger and to communicate. I'm still working on that.

God tells us "in your anger do not sin, and do not let the sun go down on your anger." He also says we should be "slow to anger." (Eph 4:26,  James 1:19) These verses say to me it must be OK to get angry, as long as we work it out. Don't let it drag on.  

We can't avoid anger forever, so we may as well learn something from it.
After all, we're only human.

The Walls of Arad, the third in my Journey to Canaan series, releases June 15. For more information see my blog

Before they conquered Jericho, there was Arad...
Forty years have passed since Israel escaped Egypt. Their punishment is over, and the time to take the land is finally here.
Arisha, a secret worshipper of Yahweh, fled Canaan in search of safety. Under Miriam’s care she has begun to heal, but Miriam is close to death. She wants to be assured this abused and abandoned young woman will have a good life, and she entreats Zadok to marry her.
Zadok is the grandson of Bezalel, architect of the Tabernacle, and great- grandson of Hur, advisor to Moses. Selected by Aaron to shepherd the
Tabernacle flock, he has a gentle spirit Miriam believes can help heal Arisha's heart.
The Canaanite king of Arad has heard about the mighty deeds of Israel’s God, and fears he will be destroyed as Egypt was. When Arad goes on the offensive, Zadok will have to make a choice. This time a shepherd’s heart cannot save Arisha.
This time, she needs a warrior. 


  1. Excellent post and something to remember--not only in regard to our own actions, but when others respond to us in anger as well. Thanks, Carole!