How Anger Leads to Anxiety and What to Do About It

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~Buddha

I have a confession: I’m mildly obsessed with anger.

Not the negative feelings, the volatile outbursts, or the fly-off-the-handle reactions, but rather how humans express anger.

I’ve largely made my living by dealing with various states of anger. More on that in a bit…

Years ago I was shopping at a bookstore with my friend Alex. We were first time parents with toddlers at home.

The idea was to find resources on how to raise emotionally healthy children and how to avoid the parenting mishaps we witnessed too often at work.

As school social workers, we provided family counseling to young children and wayward teens in the inner city.

As Alex obsessively scoured the aisles for the latest research-based writings on emotional intelligence, my eyes gravitated toward an entirely different topic.

The black, matte-textured book with the blood red title practically screamed at me: Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence.

I devoured it that night.

It’s not that I didn’t want my kid to learn to soothe himself when upset, to resist peer pressure, or to misread social cues. But in that moment I felt a stronger pull.

Part of the fascination stems from my ancestry; I’m half-Italian and half-Irish. A DNA hotbed, if you will.

Meals were eventful. When I would lose my cool at the dinner table, my dad would wildly gesticulate in my mom’s direction. She, in turn, would shrug and reply “It’s The Fighting Irish in her, I suppose.”

Additionally, I’m a psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety issues—generalized, panic, and social anxiety disorders.

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