A cluster of emotions

By Dave Henning / July 9, 2016

Although we normally think of anger as an emotion, it is in reality a cluster of emotions involving the body, the mind, and the will.”- Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman opens Chapter 1 (“Where Does Anger Come From?”) of Anger by observing that people of all ages and social classes experience anger.

First of all, Mr. Chapman describes anger as a cluster of emotions:

“Anger is a response to some event or situation in life that causes us irritation, frustration, pain, or other displeasure. . . . Anger is fed by feelings of disappointment, hurt, rejection, and embarrassment.  Anger pits you against the person, place, or thing that sparked the emotion.  It is the opposite of the feeling of love.  Love draws you toward the person; anger sets you against the person.”

Consequently, according to Mr. Chapman, we experience the strong negative emotions of anger in three ways:

1.  In our minds.  As Gary wryly observes, we don’t sit down and say, “I think I will now experience anger.”  Our minds respond to anger.

2.  In our bodies.  The body’s autonomic nervous system gets the adrenaline flowing.  That flow sparks physiological changes.  Furthermore, those physiological changes give us the feeling of being overwhelmed by anger.  As a result, we are unable to control our anger.

3.  Taking action.  This involves physical, verbal, or written responses.

Although we cannot control our bodily reactions to anger, Gary stresses that we can control our mental and physical responses.  In order to do this, we must look at the roots of anger.  In other words, we need to examine where anger comes from and why we experience anger.

Today’s question: How does understanding anger as a cluster of emotions help you analyze your response to your ministry downsizing or vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The human capacity for anger”

About the author

Dave Henning

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