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Anger

By Paul Mallott BA (Hons) Counselling Dip CBT
 
I recently went to the supermarket; this is an event in which I seldom partake, as it is my partner who is usually the one that does the shopping. Whilst I was there, we were trying to find a disabled bay to park in; I noticed the number of cars parked in disabled bays which had no blue badge displayed, and this began to make me feel angry. When we finally found a bay, before my wife even manoeuvred the car to park, a young woman drove into the slot, jumped out of her car and preceded into the shopping centre. As you may or may not imagine, my anger increased.
 
I was not only angry for myself but also for more impaired people who use wheel chairs etc, or like myself cannot walk far and rely on the availability and convenience of these disabled bays. Especially if you use a wheel chair you require that extra room to get in and out of your car. The question I must ask is am I angry with the abled body person for using these bays to park? Or am I angry with the management of the shopping centre for not enforcing correct use of these bays?
 
By taking some deep breaths, pondering then examining my feelings, I soon realized, was there any real justification in feeling angry? Am I responsible for the inconsiderate act of another? Was this young woman, deliberately trying to upset me personally by parking in this bay? The answer is quite simply “NO”.
 
Why? Well the woman of course, did not know me personally, she may have just been in a hurry and not thought about where she had parked. As for the management of the supermarket, well I do not work in the supermarket, nor am I there 24 hours a day, therefore I do not see what steps they make take.
 
As for me, well I could wait for a bay to become free, what harm would another five minutes or so make or I could go to another supermarket. Finally would my feeling angry, make any difference to the situation or outcome, lets face it, the only person getting upset here was me, not the lady or the supermarket.
 
I suppose what I am trying to say is, that you and you alone, are responsible for the anger, the anger from within, it was not the lady or the supermarket that made me personally angry, it was my own interpretation of events and my own feelings which made me feel this way.
 
In counselling there is a lot for and against the opinion that anger is a good emotion, also a lot of evidence to support both. As for myself I am not going to say if it is right or wrong to get angry, I will say that in certain aspects of counselling where anger is controlled, it can be beneficial to the counselling process.
 
For me in this instance, by taking a step back and examining my own feelings, I soon realized there were other options, possibilities open to me, and no need on my behalf to be angry.
 
Many years ago, prior to training as a counsellor, I would not have examined my own feelings nor even explored other possibilities, which were open to me; I merely would have become more and more angry, which then would have impacted on the rest of my shopping experience, and no doubt ruined the rest of the day.
 
Has this, or something similar, ever happened to you?

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