How To Deal With Anger

By October 22, 2014Anger

How To Deal With Anger – Help With Anger Management

Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief. And in this video I’m going to talk about how to deal with anger. So in my process of doing one on one sessions, I’ve seen people come to me with all different types of anger. But they mostly all boil down to three beliefs. Three thoughts that are creating all of this anger. But, before I get started on explaining these three beliefs and how to deal with them, I just want to point out that many times when people are asking how to deal with anger, they actually want to keep their anger. So before we talk about how to deal with the anger, I’m just going to point out a few reasons why it’s not useful to keep your anger.

Why we keeping your anger as punishment isn’t helpful

First of all, people want to keep their anger because if they punish someone, either with their bad attitude, their anger or through actions, they get to feel like life is more fair. If they did something bad to me, it’s unfair if they don’t get punished. But if you punish someone with your attitude or your actions, you’re just creating more suffering for yourself, because now you feel guilty about it, it doesn’t feel nice to act unlovingly, right? And in addition, that’s not your role to create punishment for others.

Why using anger to teach someone a lesson isn’t helpful

The second reason why people often want to keep their anger, is because they believe I need to teach them a lesson so that they don’t do it again. But if you look at your own life, when you do something like yell at someone, it doesn’t feel good, so you naturally don’t want to do it again. But, if you tell yourself that you are bad for doing it, and feel really guilty about it, does that get guilt get you to stop doing it? Very rarely is guilt enough to change actions. Maybe, sometimes you eat ice cream and then you guilt yourself about and get angry at yourself. Does that self-anger (guilt), get you to stop eating ice cream? Rarely.

Getting angry at yourself, doesn’t get you to stop doing these things because the anger doesn’t address the reason why you are doing these things. The action is caused by the thoughts you are believing at the moment. If you don’t address the thoughts you are believing, you are going to keep doing the same thing. It doesn’t matter how angry you get at yourself.

The same is true for when you yell at someone, punish someone, or get angry at someone. Sometimes, those consequences are enough to get them to stop doing a particular action, but most of the time, especially with adults, your anger isn’t enough to get them to stop because your anger is not addressing the thoughts which caused them to do what they did in the first place. Haven’t you noticed this?

Why using anger to get what you want isn’t helpful

Another reason why people want to keep their anger is because they believe that it helps them to get what they want. We believe “if I get angry at them, that will make it more likely for me to get what I want from them”. So in other words, we use anger as a form of manipulation. And we learn that from our parents, right? When our parents yelled at us and got angry at us, we did what they want. So what they teach us is, getting angry gets you what you want.

Therefore, we get angry at our partner or the customer service representative or anyone else in order to try to scare them or guilt them into doing what we want. And that’s not a very enjoyable way to live, not a nice way to interact with others, and it’s often much less effective than kindness in getting what you want, especially in the long run. That’s just a couple of the reasons.

We often unconsciously keep our anger to avoid look at ourselves

The last reason that we keep our anger is because we don’t want to look at ourselves. When someone insults us or does anything that we don’t like, if we look at ourselves, it might make us feel hurt or worse about ourselves. But, if we turn the blame onto them, and just focus on how they are bad, we don’t feel as hurt. For example, if you try on a new outfit for your romantic partner and ask “How does it look?” and they respond “It makes you look fat.” What is your first reaction? Anger. What is that anger avoiding? It is avoiding asking the question “Do I look fat? Am I fat? Why am I so fat? I hate looking this way? Am I not attractive enough for him?” These questions and their answers make us feel bad. So instead of feeling that way, we focus on thoughts that keep our attention on how bad they are, such as “He is such a terrible boyfriend for saying that”.

The three beliefs that create anger

So now that we’ve looked at why people want to stay angry often, let’s look at how to deal with anger. So the three common beliefs that create anger are

  1. What someone did is bad
  2. The outcome of what they did is bad.
  3. They are to blame for what they did.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by each of those three, and how when you discover that one of those isn’t true, the suffering goes, the anger goes.

1) When you recognize that an action isn’t bad, the anger dissolves

Ok, so if somebody let’s say, robs you. You would think the action is bad and you would get angry at them, right? Of course you will, it’s a bad action, so you get angry at them. But if they come up to you with a knife, and they say, “I have a child who just cut themselves really bad and I don’t have money to get bandages and Neosporin,” or whatever, some antibacterial stuff, “I’m sorry that I have to rob you, I just really need this $20. I hope you understand.” Then when they rob you, you might think, you know, that was actually loving of them, nice of them. I don’t approve of the way they did it, but I’m not angry at them, I understand. So what that shows you, is when you believe the action is bad, there’s anger. But when you recognize I don’t know if it was bad, there’s no anger.

2) When you recognize that the outcome might not be bad, the anger dissolves

If you recognize that an outcome might not be bad, then, or you recognize that the outcome wasn’t bad, then the anger is lost. So if someone comes up to you, robs you and cuts you or punches you and injures you in some way, you would think that is a bad outcome for your life, right? Because you can’t go to work, you’re missing different things, it’s bad for your life, so you’re getting angry. First off, because the action was bad, but two, because it is bad for your life as a whole.

But if you go to the hospital and you meet someone at the hospital that ends up giving you your dream job or turns out to be the love of your life, or something like that, then looking back at that incident where you were robbed and injured, you would say, “You know what? It wasn’t so bad that that happened. It turned out to be wonderful for my life. It turned out to be very helpful.” So then once you discover it wasn’t bad for my life, you lose the anger that you had for that guy. He was the greatest gift for you.

3) When you recognize that someone isn’t to blame for the bad action or outcome, the anger dissolves

The third belief that creates anger, is believing that someone is to blame for what they did. Imagine two guys come up to you – one of them is holding a gun to the head of another one, and the guy holding a gun to the head of the other person says to the other person, “If you don’t rob the next person you see, I’m going to shoot you.” Okay? So then you walk by and he says to you, “I’m sorry, I have to rob you otherwise this guy’s going to shoot me in the head, but give me your stuff.” So then you give the guy your stuff. Are you going to get angry at the guy that robbed you? No. Almost certainly not. Why? Because he was not to blame for what he did. He wasn’t in control. He had a gun to his head. You can’t blame him for that, right?

When you disbelieve any of the 3 main beliefs, the anger subsides

What that proves in those three examples, is when you recognize the action wasn’t bad, anger goes. When you recognize the outcome wasn’t bad, and wasn’t bad for your life in the long run, anger goes. Or when you recognize someone wasn’t to blame for what they did, anger goes.

No action is “bad” in reality

So now we’re going to investigate how to discover one of those three things in your particular situation. If you think the action was bad, what someone did was bad, just ask yourself the question – do I know it was bad? How do I know? Does that exist as a part of the facts that it was bad, or is that a perspective that I put on top of it? If I make a hand movement like this or like this, which one is better and which one is worse? They’re just unique, different. How do I know if one is bad and one is good?

Our anger is created by a thought “that was bad”, and not by the action

Bad doesn’t exist as part of the action, action is here, hand movement. Bad exists in my own imagination. We have to separate the facts, the movement, from our thoughts about the facts and our imagination. They exist in two completely separate places. So we say I’m angry because what they did is bad. No, they did an action and I believed a thought, and my thought created anger. The action itself didn’t create anger, it’s only my thoughts about it. What they did didn’t make you angry, it’s the thoughts about it that made you angry. Because if they did the same action and you didn’t know about it, let’s say somebody cheated on you, and you didn’t know about it, the action didn’t make you angry because the action is going on all the time, and you’re not angry. But once you know about it and you think about it and you say, “That is bad,” you get angry.

How to discover that an action wasn’t bad

To discover that an action might not be bad, you can ask yourself the following questions – can I think of any reasons why it might be good, why it might be useful, or why it might be helpful? Is it the facts that are making me angry, or is it my thoughts? When I don’t think about it, am I angry? When I didn’t know about it, was I angry? When I’m distracted from my thoughts, am I angry? No. Nobody’s actions have the ability to make you angry. The only thing that could make you angry is believing your own thoughts.

Why we often judge others’ actions to be bad

Sometimes, the reason why we judge and get angry is because we want to think of ourselves as better than others. If someone did something bad, then I’m a good person. You see, if you don’t judge others to be worse than you, then you can’t think of yourself as a good person. If you can’t judge others to be rude, you can’t think of yourself as nice. If you don’t judge others to be inappropriate, you can’t judge yourself to be appropriate. So we have this major incentivization to constantly judge and get angry at others and get angry at what people do in the world. But it just creates suffering. You get to feel superior which gives you a little high, but you also have anger, so just ask the question – is that really who they are? Is that really bad? Or is that just an idea that I’ve created in my head to make me feel better about myself? Is their action really creating anger for me, or is it my own thoughts?

How to discover that an outcome might not be bad for you or your life

Now, for the second type of belief that creates anger, we have to look at whether an outcome is bad for our life. If someone does something to me and I think it’s bad for my life, it’s a major inconvenience, it’s bad for me, it made me sad, it made me angry, it made me something. The only question you have to ask is, “Do I know this is bad for my life?” If this made me happier in the long run, would I consider it bad that they did that? No, if you’re happier in the long run, I’d be happy that they did it, I’d consider it good for my life that they did whatever they did.

Even if they beat me, even if they cheated on me, even if did something seemingly horrendous or someone else, do I know what all the effects are of that particular event, outcome, circumstance, action? Do I know what all of the effects are? Is it possible that this event could lead to something wonderful for me or them, that could make me happier, that could teach me a lesson that’s valuable? Could it get me to start to analyze my own thoughts and investigating them, which could make me happier? Could it lead me to a book, a friend, a job, something that leads me to more happiness? If you just recognize, “I don’t know,” then you’re free.

Discovering “I don’t know the future” is freedom

Anger comes from believing “I know this is bad for my life, I know this is bad.” But once you discover, “I don’t know if this is bad for my life. I think it might be, but I can see it’s possible that it ends up being good after a while.” Just discover that it’s possible. Don’t tell yourself it’s going to be good. It’s not about overlaying some new belief, going from it’s bad to it’s good that it happened. No, because that’s a lie. I know it’s bad and I know it’s good are both lies, they’re both assumptions that I know the future, I know everything that will happen and it’s good, it’s for the best. You don’t know anything. Just ask yourself if something happened to you or someone else and you think it’s bad that it happened, simply ask the question to yourself, can I think of some good possible effects that could come from this? Can I think of any possibilities that could end up being good for their life, my life, whoever the “victim” is.

If the event turns out “good” then what they did was a gift for you

But you have to be willing to be happy, because when you discover that it might not be bad, you’re going to be left happy instead of angry, but watch out, mind wants to stay angry, wants to punish them, make them feel bad, hold onto it, get fair, get even. Stop! You want peace. You only hope to make it fair so that you can think the world is fair. But if it was good for your life, then that was a gift, not a curse.

It is often hard for people to open up to the possibility that someone isn’t to blame for what they do

So the third belief that we need to look at is the belief that they are to blame for what they did. And I find this is the hardest for people to open up to, when people really want to keep their anger, they think their anger is useful, helpful, necessary, then people aren’t willing to look at this one. So I’m pointing that out, just stay open. See if what I’m saying might be true. Not if you want it to be true, but whether it is true from your direct experience in life.

You don’t pick what thoughts enter your mind

Take a look at your own life, do you pick what thoughts pop up in your head? Do you know what the next thought to pop up in your head will be? Do you know what you’ll be thinking a moment from now? The truth is, you don’t know. You might be thinking about the past, the future. You might be thinking about whether this is helpful or unhelpful, whether it is irrelevant, whether this guy is smart or stupid, crazy or insane, whatever. But you don’t know what thought will pop up in your head next.

Now here’s the next part – do you have control over what thoughts you think? If you did, you would never think negative thoughts, because all you want is to be peaceful and happy. If you did, you would never, if you controlled what thoughts you think, you would never get angry, you would never be negative, you would never think about the future, because it all creates suffering. It all comes from believing the thoughts in our head.

You don’t control what thoughts you believe

Do you control what thoughts you believe? Well do you want to be angry? You clicked this video because you want to deal with anger, which means you don’t want to be angry probably, at least on some level. But over and over again, you believe the thoughts that create anger, and I’m willing to bet you also believe the thoughts that create worry, anxiety, insecurities and every other form of suffering. So if you control whether you believe thoughts or not, you wouldn’t believe the thoughts that create suffering, ever. If you sometimes do, then that means you don’t control what thoughts you believe.

If you don’t control what thoughts you believe, then you don’t control your actions

What determines your actions? What thoughts you think and what thoughts you believe. But you don’t control what thoughts pop up or what thoughts you believe, right? Just look for yourself – how many times in your life do you not want to feel angry, and yet you do? How many times do you not want to yell at someone, yet you do? How many times to do you really want to break a bad habit, and yet you can’t? How many times do you want to start eating healthy, and yet you can’t? You want to go to the gym, and yet you can’t? Over and over again in your life, you want to do things, and yet you can’t, or you want to stop doing things and yet you can’t. That is as much evidence as you need to see you are not in control.

You aren’t in control of what you’re doing

I know that’s scary to hear, but it’s the truth. Just look for yourself, don’t believe me. Just look. If you have a toy car, every single time you press left, it goes left. That’s the definition of control. Every single time you press right, it goes right – that’s how you know you’re in control. If sometimes you press left and it goes right, that means you’re not in control. And sometimes you don’t press anything, it goes right, then left, you’re not in control. So look, do you control what you do? No.

But you may say, “Well sometimes I can do what I want, so I’m in some control.” But that’s like pressing left over and over again on the remote control toy car, and sometimes it goes left, and sometimes it goes right, and you say when it goes left, that you’re doing it. You think you’re in control. It may seem that way, but if it is sometimes going right, then that means you don’t control the car, right? It is just that sometimes you get lucky and it just happens to go left. It’s like going outside every day and saying “I’m going to make it sunny,” and when it’s sunny, you say “I did that.” And when it’s not sunny, you say, “Oh no, next time it will work, I just need to try harder.”

But look at your life, over and over again, you think negative thoughts because you don’t pick them, you don’t control them. Over and over again you get angry, you get sad, you get something, a feeling you don’t want because you don’t pick it, you don’t control it. Over and over again you do things you don’t want to do and don’t do things you do want to do.

You aren’t to blame for what you don’t control

Here’s the important piece of that puzzle – if you don’t control what you do, are you to blame for it? Are you to blame for getting angry? How? You don’t pick what thoughts enter your mind, you don’t pick what thoughts you believe, and no one ever showed you what thoughts were creating your anger, nobody ever showed you how to stop believing thoughts. If you’re not in control, then you’re not to blame, right?

If you look outside the window and you see a car accident happen, you may think the event is bad, but will you blame yourself for that? No. Because you’re not in control. If you don’t blame yourself for it, will you get angry at yourself? No, because you’re not to blame. In life, over and over again, you blame yourself over things you didn’t have control over.

Others aren’t to blame for what they don’t control

Just like you do with yourself, over and over again, you blame others for what they don’t have control over. It doesn’t feel nice to act unlovingly or hurtfully. Nobody wants to act from hate. Everybody just wants to be in peace. We’re just confused, operating on thoughts we’re not aware of, not conscious of, and believing these thoughts without even investigating whether they are true or not.

Just look, are you in control over what you are doing? And if not, are others in control for what they are doing? I know, it’s tough to admit that, because that would mean you can’t be angry at them. And you have to be angry at them in order to punish them and hold them accountable. But that’s not your job. You can still hold someone accountable if it’s a criminal offense, you can report them to the police or leave being with someone, without being angry at them. Look at your own life – sometimes you really don’t want to do something, it doesn’t feel good to do it, and yet you do it. That means you don’t have control. The same is true for when somebody else acts unlovingly or hurtfully. They don’t want to do these things, it makes them suffer, but yet they do it anyway. Why? Because they are not in control. And if they are not in control, it means they are not to blame. Okay?

How to deal with anger

Those are the three beliefs that create anger, and those are the ways to deal with that anger, alright? The three beliefs – it is bad that it happened or what they did is bad, it’s bad for my life that it happened, and they are to blame for what they did. And so if you want to lose your anger, if you’re ready to lose your anger, if you’re willing to lose your anger, you just need to question one or all of those three things. But even if you discover one of them isn’t true, then you’re free.

It is important to recognize that your anger isn’t helpful in order to be willing to lose your anger

If you had resistance or a strong reaction to anything I said, just watch, then you very likely still have some idea that anger is useful, helpful, or necessary. And I would really recommend that you investigate that assumption because it will just keep you angry in life. If you believe that anger is needed, necessary, and helpful, and that it’s your job to punish others for their actions, then of course you are going to stay angry because you want to stay angry, and no explanation, no anything will get you free from it if that’s what you want, or if that’s what you think you want.

Thank you for reading this blog post about how to deal with anger

Ok, so it was a pleasure explaining this to you, I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know. Alright, thank you for watching and I’ll see you on the next video. Bye.

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