Justified Anger

To be “angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way -that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.” The Greek philosopher Aristotle offered that observation more than 2000 years ago.

Some of us have a problem holding onto anger when we need it the most. Justified anger revolves around boundary violations, but sometimes a proper boundary is never put in place or maintained. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, in their book Boundaries, write about how a person’s skin is our first boundary. People who are sexually abused as children, for instance, are often confused about maintaining that boundary, not realizing that it is appropriate for them to claim ownership over it.

There are other psychological boundaries we fail to set for the other reasons. Regular violations of that psychological marker make it hard for us to see things for what they are. One way to gain clarity is to think about your children (whether you actually have children or not). We can ask ourselves, if a boyfriend, boss, etc, treated our child the way they are treating us, how would we respond? Looking at the situation from a different angle by putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes helps us to work around our distorted boundaries and more clearly see the situation for what it really is.

Stephen Goforth