Anger Management Secret #2: It's important to know and understand your vulnerabilities, so you can avoid problem areas if possible.
Recognizing an Anger Problem
This means acknowledging to yourself, "I have an anger problem." With this awareness you are much more likely to sidestep potential difficulties: "I have an anger problem, so I'll stop after one drink tonight." Or: "I have an anger problem, so I need to be rested before going to divorce mediation tomorrow." Or: "I need to remember that feedback from my boss is not a personal attack."
Vulnerability Can Increase the Likelihood of an Angry Response
You are more likely to lose your temper when you feel vulnerable. Vulnerable feelings may arise when you feel emotional pain and are unable to make it stop. When you feel criticized by your spouse, your boss, your mother. When your child is defiant or refuses to obey you. When you are running late and someone cuts you off in traffic. When you feel embarrassed or humiliated by someone whose opinion matters to you.
Your sense of vulnerability can be heightened when you are tired, sad, scared, lonely, depressed, or struggling with self-loathing. Any threat, challenge, or slight may feel amplified. You have fewer resources to deal with a challenging situation. This is when you are more likely to have the hair-trigger response of out of control anger.
The more awareness you have of your vulnerabilities, the more possible it is to avoid situations that may trigger your rage. There's no shame in avoiding a fight or conflict when there's a good chance it can escalate into a lose-lose situation. Being pragmatic about this can avoid hurt and harm to yourself and to those who are important to you.
Managing Anger Is a Learned Response
Notice that "I have an anger problem" is different from "I am an angry person." It's important not to equate your identity with the anger you struggle with. Anger is an emotion that you are learning how better to manage. Give yourself credit for undertaking an important self-improvement project!