Anger is characterised as having intense feelings of annoyance, displeasure or hostility.
Jean-Claude Chalmet, Founder and lead psychotherapist at The Place Retreats describes anger as being a ”secondary emotion”.
He explains that ”anger (like anxiety) is a mask that covers something much deeper. This could be from past relationships and other negative experiences that might have caused an individual to feel hurt.” Chalmet explains that when people are unaware of how to process their hurt it can often lead to unresolved feelings which manifest as anger.
In the following interview, Jean-Claude offers a deeper insight into the subject of anger. He explains the many ways in which people can learn to manage their anger more effectively. He also tells us about the work he does in his clinics in Bali and London where he helps clients to work through their emotions with a variety of therapeutic treatments.
Jean-Claude explains why people shouldn’t be afraid of their anger and how anger is an emotion that should be ‘respected’ and ‘honoured’ and not something people should be punished for.
Why are we so afraid of our anger?
At a very young age, we’re taught not to be vulnerable.
Children are often scolded when they cry and are told how wrong they are for acting out. From this, they learn that anger is not acceptable in any form. Looking at anger as a secondary emotion is very important in how we treat the root cause. For most people, anger acts as a shield in which they use to protect themselves against the hurt they feel deep down.
This could be because of traumatic experiences in relationships and events from childhood. Feeling hurt is equal to being vulnerable and we’re taught at a young age by our family and education system that being vulnerable is a bad thing.
Typically, (although there are no absolutes) men tend to express their hurt through anger, and women through anxiety. The key is in treating the underlying cause of the hurt.
What are some unhealthy coping mechanisms that you see in your practice?
When people sit with their anger instead of letting it out it can become a negative vortex that continually grows inside them. People need to know that anger is something that can be worked with and treated in therapy. Whether it’s wild searing anger or low-level anger people need to do something to cope with these intense emotions.
We work with clients to understand the underlying cause of their anger and thus eliminate the symptoms. Very often, too much time is spent talking about the symptoms and not enough time working on the resolution. And this is something we can help with at our clinics.
What are the signs and symptoms of repressed anger?
We’ve been taught that anger is a bad thing and it doesn’t have to be. We’re entitled to be angry, it’s what we do with it that matters explains Jean-Claude.
When feeling hurt people tend to ‘act out’ and this is when it becomes destructive. Almost like a pressure cooker ready to burst. What tends to happen when people act out is they end up experiencing negative feelings such as ‘shame’ and ‘blame’ which often leads to intense guilt. And guilt must always be punished, and of course, punishment leads to pain. Essentially, ‘acting out’ doesn’t do any good – it may offer temporary relief but it rarely leads to resolution.
Acting out is one way in which anger shows up – such as taking up addictions like drinking, gambling and for many, depression. But acting out does not resolve anger. At our clinics, we work primarily to discover where the hurt originates from. And since anger is a secondary emotion, the best way to treat it is to identify the primary cause.
What is a healthy relationship with anger?
To cultivate a healthy relationship with anger, we must first learn to honour and respect it. We must also learn to work with our anger, by acknowledging it and not acting out. One of the ways we do this is by helping people to teach the adult version of themselves to be good parents to themselves.
What we find is that many people are good parents to their children, but not to themselves. Therefore, therapy can help people to manage their anger in a soothing, compassionate, loving way almost as if they are their own parent.
What do you do specifically to help clients deal with their anger?
At our clinics in London and Bali – we work primarily to discover the root cause of anger. And once we treat the underlying cause the symptoms will fall away.
When people understand that anger is merely an expression of hurt we can then help them to work with their anger. This is done by not sitting on or repressing their emotions, which in time will allow them to develop more understanding and thus lead a happier and more fulfilling life.
Kundalini Meditation is one of many therapies offered at The Place Retreat Centres. Renowned for being a quick anger release exercise, just three minutes of Kundalini Meditation can work wonders in managing intense emotions such as anger. Practising Kundalini regularly can also help you to reach your full potential, find your virtues and become aligned with your true identity.
Jean–Claude Chalmet completed our discussion with a gentle reminder:
‘’Anger is a completely normal emotion – it’s what we do with it that matters. And you can learn and be taught how to handle yourself no matter who you are or what age you are.’’
The Place Retreats offers a safe space for you to fully express yourself and become the best version of who you are. If you think you’re ready to start this journey of transformation then please contact us.