Those who struggle with addiction often turn to drugs and alcohol because they do not know how to cope with intense, complicated emotions such as anger. In recovery, you learn how to identify your feelings and accept them for what they are, then how to cope with them. One of the most challenging emotions to grapple with is anger because it is often a cover for deeper, underlying feelings. However, when you learn to understand how anger functions as a secondary emotion, you can better identify what you feel and adequately cope with that emotion.

Beneath the Surface

Anger is often classified as a protective emotion because it triggers your flight or fight response to protect you from a perceived external threat. However, other emotions have to be felt for anger to be triggered. These emotions are often the underlying causes of one feeling anger, but they can be harder to spot if you are blinded by the rage you feel.

The feelings that anger commonly masks include fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, embarrassment, betrayal, jealousy, sadness, hurt, and worry. When you feel angry, take a second to stop and ask yourself if you feel any of these emotions that may be causing your anger. Doing this will help you get to the root of the problem and give you a starting point of fixing it.

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Coping With Anger

It can be easy to be blinded by feelings of anger and react in less than ideal ways. While you were in active addiction, you most likely found yourself in situations where you wish you had responded in a better way. A great way to cope with this intense emotion is by practicing emotional regulation. Emotional regulation is a skill that will take time to develop, but it is beneficial for dealing with complex emotions.

Start by identifying your feelings and how they are making you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. From there, ask yourself what is causing you to feel this way. Once you do this, you learn to accept the emotions and use coping strategies such as grounding techniques to get you through them. After that, you can reflect on how you can avoid those emotions again or how to rectify the situation.

Anger is a significantly complex emotion that is often masking deeper feelings. When you feel angry, it is most likely triggered by another emotion such as jealousy, betrayal, sadness, fear, and more. You cannot expect to cope with the situation if you are unsure of what is causing it in the first place; this is why emotional regulation is so crucial for dealing with complex emotions such as anger. This skill will help you better understand how anger works as a secondary emotion and identify your genuine underlying emotions. If you have any questions regarding anger, its role in addiction, and how to cope with it, call the team at Alta Loma Transformational Services today at (866) 457-3843.