Anger Iceberg

Anger is like an iceberg. There is that tip that is sticking out, which everyone sees. So, it is not difficult to see when a person is angry. However, Icebergs have about 90% more to them that what meets the eye. Anger is the same way.

Anger is the symptom. Symptom of what? Well, it is different for each person. Many people's anger iceberg includes fears, insecurities, bottled up frustrations, hurt pride, feelings of disrespect, and various other emotions.

Given that it is usually quite easy to see a person's anger, but difficult to see the rest of their anger iceberg, the task of helping a person reduce his or her anger often takes a bit of detective work. The best way to control a person's anger is for them to ask "What is making me feel this way?" When the person examines his or her feelings causing the anger, then the problem can be addressed. If there is simply a focus on deep breathing, counting to ten and meditation, this will only treat the symptom and is doomed to fail in the long run.

Here are some quick one liners that a person can repeat to reduce anger:

  • Will [whatever makes me angry] matter one year from now? Will it matter one week from now?
  • What right do I have that is being violated?
  • How would the average person respond to this?
  • How is getting angry about this really going to change anything?
  • Other than anger, what else am I feeling?
  • What belief do I have that is making me angry? Is that belief reasonable?

Anger Iceberg Handout

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