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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Crabtee

Is Anger Constructive or Destructive?

We often shy away from, ignore or push away someone who is displaying anger. It's hard to accept and deal with in others and ourselves. Society as a whole is quick to dismiss these feelings as unwanted. However, with kindness, empathy and compassion, a child, young person or adult can understand this emotion better and realise that...

Anger often results from an unmet need.

But now comes the tricky part. How do we look beyond that emotion? It's essential to take time to find out the feelings that are underpinning the anger on the surface.

Maslow, an eminent American psychologist, spent many years analysing and constructing a triangle of needs. At the base of the triangle is our basic needs, food, water etc..., next comes our safety needs and above this our social needs. These include the need for love, belonging and connection. But what if this need for connection is missing - Do you feel unloved, unheard or unseen? For many this is the root cause of anger.

So what can I do?

Notice your anger. Anger is a valid and necessary emotion which will help you identify an unmet need.

Look beneath it. Are there other hidden emotions - fear, sadness, frustration, confusion?

Search for the unmet need. Are you feeling unheard, unloved, unconnected, unseen?

Act on and address the unmet need.

Share with a partner, friend, trusted love one, counsellor, if you feel it will help.

But above all be compassionate about the anger, it's there to tell you something about your life and what you need.

Miller Williams wrote -

'Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it.

What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign 

of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.

You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.'

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