Whew. The photo above is pretty amazing (www.glideidea.com). I chose it because it really exemplifies how anger can feel.
Anger is perhaps the one and only reason you are on this site, seeking answers to your work stress. Anger is so damaging and so hard to contain that when it occurs it can feel like an entity or a current from out of nowhere. After it subsides, we often are left scratching our heads asking ourselves, "What was THAT about?"
Well, to begin to answer the question of "What was THAT?" I have done years of work on my own anger. I come from a long line of angry people. And it scared me to be raised in that environment, but that didn't keep me from displaying anger as an adult. In fact, I could really see the USE of anger sometimes. I mean, you WILL get some attention in a customer service situation, correct?
But in time, it became too damaging to my own self-image and my relationships in general. I could no longer reconcile my anger and my values. After years of research and training---in reality crafting an entire career in pursuit of the answer to, "How can I control my anger?"---I have found my answer (and share it in the hope that it will be your answer too).
This answer may or may not work for you. But if you give this answer a chance, I believe you will find what I have found:
It really isn't YOU that is angry.
The biggest problem with anger is the self-judgment and judgment from others after an explosion of anger takes place. We judge ourselves in hopes that this will keep it from happening again. And I say "It" quite intentionally.
Anger can feel like something bigger and stronger than us. It feels out of our control. It comes in no matter what types of resolutions and commitments to change we have made, and does what it has always done, much to our dismay.
So what do we do?
The Pain Body
Eckhart Tolle, author of "A New Earth" doesn't so much speak of anger when he describes something he calls "The Pain Body." Eckhart's work describes an accumulation of pain and hurt and negative emotion---accumulated over many years but never consciously integrated into our bodies---that eventually starts to feel (and act) like an independent entity out of your control.
The Pain Body is usually in play when a repeated reaction to people and problems is well-out of proportion to the situation. It seems to literally take over your mind and body making you say and do things that you know you will regret, but you just can't seem to help yourself. Tolle states that when this dissociative anger is seen through the perception of "It's my pain body" that it starts to dissolve on its own. Anger still happens, but it happens less and less, until ultimately you are responding in the present and no longer reacting to old scripts and patterns.
So what are the details of the Pain Body, and what exactly do we do to stop it? I could continue here with my own interpretation, but the source of this discovery is much better at it than I am. Eckhart and Oprah discuss the pain body in the webcast of his book "The New Earth" in Chapter Five/Webcast Five. I find selecting the closed caption to be very helpful to follow the conversation, by the way. Here is the link:
If you don't have the time for this webcast, there is a very short video (6:22), that also does the job nicely (Eckhart's voice is the narrator):
Ultimately, you will start to put your conscious attention on the Pain Body---not "your" anger, but this pained entity---and it will happen less and less (not right away, but soon enough after your conscious attention is placed there repeatedly). Hey, if this sounds silly or too far-out, fine. But at least try it. If it doesn't work, you are only right back where you started from: angry.
I'm no longer afraid because I know what to do. I know that I no longer have to stand there and take it like I did as a little girl. I know that I can either move into an intent to learn about why the other is angry or I can lovingly disengage.