Anger is Very Common
It is a feeling expressed by most if not all of us in one form or another. Many people from all walks of life, cultures, religions, and professions struggle with controlling their anger on a periodic, regular, or daily basis. Multiple stressors such as increased demands, conflicts with others, a pandemic, or economic strain and uncertainty. Many times these things push us in many directions. The frustration level can grow and grow until we just have “had it”! But can you experience anger when others are angry? Yes, it is rather possible. However, there are ways to repel it, manage it, even ally with it.
As counselors, we have helped many of our clients apply anger management skills to better cope with their anger and frustration. This has helped them improve their outlook on life. So, what is it about anger that one battles with? Let’s take a look at anger — what it is, why we have it, how it is expressed, and what we can do to manage it.
What is Anger?
Anger is a strong intense feeling associated with irritation, hate, rage, dislike, or hostility. It can be seen as a state of being mad, annoyed and often filled with frustration. When many people identify anger, they associate it with actions such as yelling, sarcasm, intense facial expression, screaming, punching, kicking, throwing things, fights, depression, and even the “silent treatment”. It could also be understood as two or more people “butting heads” in disagreement or being irritated with each other. Further, it may even be a way of self-defense when one is cornered, attacked, ignored or other such tactics from others.
Why Am I Getting Angry?
Getting angry and expressing anger is a normal response or reaction. It is part of our survival or self-preservation. However, there are many reasons why we may get angry. Here are some examples. Fear…fear of the unknown, failing, rejection, and others to name a few. Not getting your needs met the way you want them met. Feeling you are being “judged” or prejudiced against. Wanting to avoid a person, group or situation you feel uncomfortable with or not in control of. There are many other reasons and you may take a moment and add a few yourself here.
How Is It Expressed?
There are many ways it is expressed. It may come out in sarcasm. Saying things that are rude, inconsiderate, coarse joking, and even put-downs are ways of expressing it in a sort of back-handed way. Other ways are in the form of physical or verbal outbursts. You may find yourself arguing with a partner, slamming doors, smacking a table, punching a wall, yelling out at yourself or others, kicking things, and other physical aggression toward others or yourself. You may also be less physically aggressive and hold it more inwardly. For example, you may express it passively by being continuously late for appointments, canceling a meet up with friends, family or work-related meetings at the last minute.
Smiling while hurting, agreeing with others without expressing your own opinion, not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings while seething inside with rage. You also may avoid others by not talking to them, “scheduling” other activities in order to not be around them or even avoiding a task that irritates or frustrates you.
Another way it is expressed is through depression. It may be an indication of an inward long-standing form of anger moving deep into bitterness. Keeping hurt, fear, shame, guilt, past pain all bottled up inside tends to cause depressiveness intertwined with rage, hatred, and sorrow. It becomes emotionally heavy and tiring.
How Do I Control It?
Accept that you are angry. The reasons can be many or one. However, it is yours. Take responsibility for your own stuff. Yeah, breathing helps and counting 1 to 10 and backward from 10 to 1 can help slow you down a bit. This may be enough for you at the moment. Taking an immediate time out if possible, removing yourself from the person or persons or situation helps to calm down and re-center yourself. Also, redirecting your energy to something productive not destructive may help. These are temporary. You need to address the much deeper things inside of you being in order to better control it. So, taking an inside look may seem scary or perceived as counterproductive. Remember: ultimately you have to be in charge of you.
Pathways Counseling Services provides private, compassionate, and supportive anger management counseling with counselors ready to help you address your anger. Our counselors are educated and experienced with diverse backgrounds, styles, and approaches. You are valued worth being understood by a counselor who truly listens to you while showing unconditional regard and acceptance.
Give us a call or send us an email to discuss or arrange a time to meet to see what we can do to help you with managing your anger and look to solutions for a better you.