Ep 96: Silent anger at work

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Most of us don’t want to show our anger at work too much. You can get a reputation for being difficult. But you can show anger in less visible ways and still put yourself under a lot of stress.

Here are a few things to know about anger and how to handle it at work.

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Full transcript 👇


Ep 96: Silent anger at work

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Have you ever gotten really angry at work?

Maybe you got upset when a coworker said something to you that rubbed you the wrong way. Or maybe your boss sent you an email you didn’t like.

How did you handle it? Did you sit at your desk and fume out loud about it? Did you hide your anger with a forced smile so no one would know?

Silent anger is a pretty common response. We don’t want to lose it at work but sometimes that anger can really build up inside us.

Suddenly you’re saying and doing things that are out of character for you.

Anger usually presents itself when something or someone is standing in your way and keeping you from something you want.

  • You might be angry because you didn’t get the promotion you thought you deserved.
  • You may be angry because a coworker didn’t finish their part of the project and now the whole thing is in jeopardy.
  • You may be angry because you feel disrespected in spite of the value you bring to your team.
  • You may feel angry because you don’t have the resources to be successful.

No one may even have a clue you’re angry about these things. You’re good at hiding it because you don’t want to be the one making a lot of noise.

Instead you may resort to passive aggressive behaviors. Meaning, you’re angry, but you act like you aren’t and use unrelated actions to communicate that.

Like when your spouse slams the dishes around while cleaning the kitchen YOU were supposed to clean. There’s a message there, but she’s not being terribly clear about it. But she is being loud. 😂

Staying angry about what you’re not getting isn’t going to get you anywhere.

At some point, you have to take action or nothing will change. In fact, your anger could give way to things like anxiety and depression.

So what can you do?

First determine to stop letting anger block you.

Anger is an excellent indicator that something is wrong. It lays over the top of softer emotions like fear, vulnerability and hurt.

So if you’re willing to listen, anger can give you useful data to find out what you really need to work on.

Take an honest assessment about what’s making you angry. Write down each thing that you get upset about.

Look for patterns. What common elements do they share?

What is it you’re wanting and not getting?

Now that you have some idea of what’s making you angry, be brave and communicate it to others in an honest and direct way.

In a work environment, this can be tricky. Most organizations have ways to deal with visibly angry people who take unhealthy actions.

But many companies aren’t that skilled with the finer emotional experiences that can make work so challenging.

You will have to be the one to take the initiative. This will be good for you because initiative is the anti-passive-aggressive.

One way to do this is to communicate your concerns using “I” statements.

“I” statements allow you to speak from your own experience. You describe the specific emotions you feel and how they’re affecting you.

And you do this without casting blame or trying to assess the other person’s motives.

So for example, NOT this:

“I noticed my accomplishments weren’t mentioned in last month’s report. How could you disrespect me like that? I sacrificed a lot of personal time to get it done. I can’t believe how little you care about me and my work.”

Try this instead:

“I noticed my accomplishments weren’t mentioned in last month’s report. That made me feel angry because I worked extra time to make sure we met our goals. Our team’s goals are really important to me. Can you help me understand better what I might be missing?”

In the last scenario, you speak to your anger, but not in a way that puts the other person on the defensive. Instead, it’s a call for more information to improve the process, and ultimately, it’s more collaborative.

Lastly, you may have to let it go.

It’s easy to look for others to be the cause of why we’re struggling at work, but we forget that we hold so much power over our emotions.

Even if you communicate your feelings in a healthy way, you still may not get your justice. You may just have to be okay with that.

Letting go of anger is a decision and a commitment. It’s an act of humility that says the greater good is bigger than my feelings in this moment.

Letting it go serves to start with a clean slate, for everyone.

Anger is tricky because it seems like it’s mostly caused by something or someone else.

But the decision on how to deal with anger is largely left up to us.

We may not be able to choose what happens to us and makes us angry.

But we can decide what role we might play in a solution

Who knows how that might change your stress today?

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

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