It is a normal part of the human condition to feel angry once in a while. We live in an imperfect world, which means that other people will do things to hurt us. Sometimes this hurt is accidental and other times it is purposeful. When someone we love does something to harm us, our natural reaction is to be angry. Other times, we feel angry and irritable for reasons we cannot discern. While there is certainly a place and reason for anger, uncontrollable rage is not conducive to a healthy, happy life. Read ahead for more insight into anger and how to handle this emotion in a more effective, constructive way.
Causes and Types of Anger
Anger arises due to our perceptions of a particular situation. While everyone gets angry, some individuals are more prone to it. Childhood trauma, past experiences, and current circumstances can make some people more likely to engage in anger.
Having a bad temper is typically a result of growing up in an environment where certain feelings were not allowed. A child may stuff his/her emotions or learn to pretend that everything is o.k. to “keep the peace.” Unfortunately, these feelings do not go away when they are left unexpressed. Over time, they fester and become part of a personality.
Other times, someone goes through an experience (or set of them) that causes him/her to become angry. Perhaps they were treated poorly in a relationship or repeatedly bullied at school. Over time, this can lead a normally low-key person to become enraged. Unless these feelings are handled properly, they can lead to bitterness and resentment.
Here are the 10 types of anger individuals experience -
· Assertive Anger – Anger is used to bring about a positive change. This type of anger is the most constructive and should be the goal for every individual struggling with anger issues.
· Behavioral Anger – Anger expressed physically. This type of anger is very destructive and aggressive.
· Chronic Anger – Ongoing resentment of people, circumstances, and oneself.
· Judgmental Anger – Anger at a perceived injustice or another person’s shortcomings.
· Overwhelmed Anger – Anger that occurs from feeling overwhelmed or experiencing events outside one’s control.
· Passive-Aggressive Anger – Anger in which confrontation is avoided and a person has unresolved anger issues.
· Retaliatory Anger – Vindictive type of anger that brings on a desire for revenge for a perceived wrong.
· Self-Abusive Anger – Shame-based anger that may lead to negative self-talk, self-harm, or depression.
· Verbal Anger – Anger that results in verbal abuse, threats, ridicule, and sarcasm.
· Volatile Anger – Anger that makes someone feel mad about perceived annoyances, both large and small.
How to Handle Anger
Anger is a difficult emotion to deal with because it puts us into fight or flight mode. It can be hard to remember to calm down before we speak or react. For those who are chronically angry, learning to react more effectively takes discipline and time. The problem with anger is that we rarely get anything good out of it. We use it to feel powerful over a situation, but it doesn’t lead to the results that we want.
When we react angrily towards someone, they go into self-defense mode. They don’t listen or respond in the manner that we want. The goal is to become more assertive so we can express hurt feelings in a way that shows confidence, maturity, and power. In doing so, we teach people how we want to be treated.
Thinking before you speak is crucial. Some psychologists believe taking a 2-minute time-out is the best way to calm the body and mind down. It can also make us think about how we want to react. If someone is making you feel angry, walk away for 2 minutes. Breathe in deeply until you can feel your body and mind start to calm down. The anger may not go away completely, but you will be in a more rational state of mind. This will allow you to respond in a way that is constructive and mature.
If you are finding it difficult to get a grasp on your anger, therapy can help tremendously. Therapists will help you get to the root cause of your anger and address any underlying anxiety or depression. A counselor will also help you learn some best practices that you can implement in your day-to-day life. Try finding a therapist who specializes in anger management.
Do you struggle with anger issues? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.