In this essay we offer ten not so easy steps for dealing with PTSD anger. We also offer a succinct take on the question: Can I Ever Be 100% Anger Free? While this post can be read alone, it assumes you have read the previous posts on anger here at the PTSD Spirituality website. Those previous post are: 1. Understanding Anger in the PTSD-Identity and 2. PTSD Anger Cycle Can Disable and Dehumanize US
Ten Steps for Healing PTSD Anger
1. Acknowledge Anger as Real and As A Normal Part of PTSD. Then go about healing from it.
2. If something makes you angry. Ask if you want to fix a particular harm or injustice. Or, if your concern (anger) is really about your personal honor (insecurity).
3. If your anger is about fixing an injustice, then do it. If you can’t fix it, then allow for that fact and don’t get consumed by anger. In either case, pray for healing the situation itself and that you won’t be devoured by anger.
4. If your anger is about your identity or honor being assaulted, then back away and know if you act on this anger it will probably lead to more harm. Acting on honor based anger usually leads to more injustice.
5. Identify what triggers your anger. These are things like talk radio, so-called Christian television, angry atheists, certain websites and toxic people. Avoid these situations. Why volunteer to put your hand in a blender?
6. Recognize anger can be addictive, like alcohol and porn. So fasting from anger triggers may be difficult. Pray for the grace to be healed from anger that controls you.
7. Pray for forgiveness of the people who perpetrated the injustice and your own unjust actions and thoughts.
8. Talk with someone trustworthy about what makes you angry. Write about what makes you angry. Both of these activities defeats PTSD and will help you to heal from anger addiction. If this only makes you seethe, then combine with prayer for the grace of humility.
9. Break the anger cycle with a distraction from anger. The first 30 minutes of anger arousal are the hardest time to endure – and the worst time to make a decision. Do something else that will absorb you away from the anger cycle. If angry: Avoid alcohol, drugs, porn, and reckless activity.
10. Apologize and Ask Forgiveness: This is for the advanced mature person. Acknowledge you have harmed others. Don’t just give them a whole bunch of extra reasons for why you were an angry jerk, but actually apologize and seek forgiveness. This a sign of spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity neutralizes anger and PTSD.
Will I Ever Be 100% Anger Free?
Probably not. Complete healing of any sort will only come in the resurrected life. Only in the arms of God can we ever feel secure enough about our own state of being. Only there will we be in a state where we are never at risk of selfish anger again. Only in God will I be a complete person authentic without insecurities and anger.
In the meantime, I can keep myself safe from being consumed by rage. I can protect myself from allowing anger to run my life and then ruin it. By decreasing my susceptibility to anger and its resulting damage, I become a more authentic human being.
What About Meds?
Sometimes, not always, we may need medical assistance to help us break the grip of the anger cycle. My area of expertise is not the pharmacological. That said, sometimes a medication intervention is necessary to help get someone out of the anger addiction cycle and back to normal. The medications need not be a life long plan, just a little extra aide for a while to help get the ship on an even keel.
With or without medical intervention, we can influence much of our own relationship with anger. It is not hopeless. We are not sentenced to a life of helpless anger without recourse.
How do you keep from being disabled by anger?
Semper Pax, Dr. Z