Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. It is a normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage.
When Is Anger a Disorder?
Everyone experiences anger at some point. It becomes problematic, however, when the frequency or severity of anger interferes with relationships, work performance, legal standing, or mental health. While there is no official “anger disorder,” dysfunctional anger can be a symptom of manic episodes, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Anger doesn’t require a formal diagnosis to be disruptive, or to benefit from help with its management.
Types of Anger
There are three types of anger which help shape how we react in a situation that makes us angry. These are: Passive Aggression, Open Aggression, and Assertive Anger. If you are angry, the best approach is Assertive Anger. Big words, but check out what each type really means.
Many don’t like to admit that they are angry, because they don’t like confrontation – this is called passive aggression. This comes out in things like becoming silent when you are angry, sulking, procrastinating (putting stuff off you need to do), and pretending “everything is fine”. Passive aggression comes from a need to be in control. Want a hand with dealing with it? Read ahead about ‘assertive anger’.
Open aggression is the unconscious low states of consciousness coming to the forefront and acting out. If we did not grasp power, safety, superiority or money, we will have less open aggression. We grasp power because we do not know our own power. We grasp superiority because we fear loss or shame, so we become self righteous or dominate and ignore other’s brilliance.
Life is about self evolution and conscious expansion to greater freedom, and aggression sets the clock back where self advancement is concerned.
The healthy way to deal with anger is by being controlled and confident, talking and listening, and open to help in dealing with the situation. This Assertive anger can help relationships to grow. It means thinking before you speak, being confident in how you say it, yet open and flexible to the ‘other side’. It means being patient; not raising your voice; communicating how you are feeling emotionally, and really trying to understand what others are feeling. When you deal with anger assertively, you demonstrate that you are mature and care about your relationships and yourself.
Forgiveness is always important; if a person has apologized for making you angry, or if you realize that the situation “isn’t worth it”, be open to forgive. And willing to be forgiven and forgive yourself! This will help you to calm down, and will help your relationships with others to flourish.
Remember that you are important. Your life counts, and you can make a difference in this world. If you ever need to talk about this or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re here for you.
DANGERS OF ANGER
Unresolved anger issues lead to anxiety, which can have long-term effects on your life. Immediate effects of anxiety might include dizziness, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle pain, muscle tension, headaches, and problems with concentration and memory. Such symptoms can make it difficult to perform routine tasks and can add to generalized anger about life.
Long-term anxiety can pose dangerous risks to your physical and emotional states. Individuals who suffer from long bouts of anxiety can be at a greater risk for strokes. Serious memory loss, chronic sleep disorders and relationship issues can also develop. Before your anger and anxiety wreak havoc with your entire life, find out what you can do to stop the cycle by calling .
Expressing anger in healthy ways
Suggestions on how to express your anger in healthy ways include:
- If you feel out of control, walk away from the situation temporarily, until you cool down.
- Recognise and accept the emotion as normal and part of life.
- Try to pinpoint the exact reasons why you feel angry.
- Once you have identified the problem, consider coming up with different strategies for how to remedy the situation.
- Do something physical, such as going for a run or playing sport.
- Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling.
Unhelpful ways to deal with anger
Many people express their anger in inappropriate and harmful ways, including:
- anger explosions – some people have very little control over their anger and tend to explode in rages. Raging anger may lead to physical abuse or violence. A person who doesn’t control their temper can isolate themselves from family and friends. Some people who fly into rages have low self-esteem, and use their anger as a way to manipulate others and feel powerful.
- anger repression – some people consider that anger is an inappropriate or ‘bad’ emotion and choose to suppress it. However, bottled anger often turns into depression and anxiety. Some people vent their bottled anger at innocent parties, such as children or pets.
Dealing with arguments
When you have had an argument, it is easy to stay angry or upset with the other person. If you don’t resolve an argument with a person you see often, it can be a very uncomfortable experience.
Talking to the person about your disagreement may or may not help. If you do approach them, make sure it is in a helpful way. Stay calm and communicate openly and honestly.
If the person could be violent or abusive, it may be best not to approach them directly. You could talk to them over the phone to see if they are open to finding a solution to the argument, if you feel safe to do so. It might be helpful to ask someone to be there with you, to give you support when you make the call and afterwards.
Try and tell the person how you feel as a result of their opinion, but avoid trying to tell them how they feel. It is possible to agree to disagree. You may need someone else to help you resolve the disagreement. You could ask a trusted third person to act as a go-between and help you both get another view on the argument.
Reasons for dealing with arguments
There are good reasons for dealing with arguments, including:
- It will give you a sense of achievement and make you feel more positive.
- You may feel more relaxed, healthier and more able to get a good night’s sleep.
- You may develop stronger relationships.
- You may feel happier.
Suggestions for long-term anger management
The way you typically express anger may take some time to modify. Suggestions include:
- Keep a diary of your anger outbursts, to try and understand how and why you get mad.
- Consider assertiveness training, or learning about techniques of conflict resolution.
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga.
- See a counsellor or psychologist if you still feel angry about events that occurred in your past.
- Exercise regularly.
Benefits of regular exercise in mood management
People who are stressed are more likely to experience anger. Numerous worldwide studies have documented that regular exercise can improve mood and reduce stress levels. This may be because physical exertion burns up stress chemicals, and it also boosts production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, including endorphins and catecholamines.
TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO EXPRESS ANGER
Expressing anger appropriately is a learned behavior. Suggestions on helping your child to deal with strong feelings include:
- Lead by example.
- Let them know that anger is natural and should be expressed appropriately.
- Treat your child’s feelings with respect.
- Teach practical problem-solving skills.
- Encourage open and honest communication in the home.
- Allow them to express their anger in appropriate ways.
- Explain the difference between aggression and anger.
- Have consequences for aggression or violence, but not appropriately expressed anger.
- Teach your child different ways of calming and soothing themselves