At this juncture, you have taken the time to review a specific anger event, considered your own anger response to that event, evaluated your anger energy and now are ready to identify to whom or what this anger response should be directed. This step is also a great way to differentiate anger which involves cognitive as well as behavioral elements from other emotional states such as frustration or irritation.
Some people may experience a "bad day" that involves mishaps and unfortunate miscellaneous outcomes that may be resolved through venting or complaining in a general way. AWT differentiates this sort of response from anger that operates with a direct stimulus-response type of format that involves the thoughts and beliefs of the individual.
In a similar manner. some people have violent, hostile responses that are best understood as rage that does not involve reasoning or injustice associated with a specific event. Medical issues, bio-chemical responses to medication, and other conditions can lead to this sort of explosive behavior that is more like a indifferent storm that doesn't care who or what is in its wake.
Anger generally has a specific originating event
that started with an identifiable injustice or avoidable
harmful action. Sometimes it can be difficult to consider who or what is responsible. The death of an innocent child or the domino-effect of poverty
can lead a person to blame him or herself, to be angry with a
generic "non-person," or to find fault with the G-d of your understanding.
Work through the Identification Sheet to see if you might be able to pinpoint the who or what that is involved with your particular anger event.
Who or what am I angry with for this anger event?
Why is this person (or thing) responsible?
What could this person (or thing) have done to make this less offensive?
What expectations were violated in these injustices?
What changes do I have to make in adjusting my expectations now?
This step may involve further exploration of your worldview with attention to expectations for yourself as well as others. It can be difficult to tease out the specific strands of historical pain that has been introduced by others and your expectations that may be too high or too low for yourself or others. Our life experience teaches us how to make choices for survival that may not work so well later on. Your counselor can help you to explore these elements to understand the complex tension that can exist between freedom and safety.
© 2022. AWI @ Messiah University