Understanding anger issues

Understanding anger issues

Anger is a dramatic and sometimes frightening part of life. Everyone gets angry at some time.

That is perfectly normal as it’s a trait that every human being is given. As with all innate emotions like this, it is to help us survive in this world.

However, often it is seen as a bad emotion. This is not always the case.

Anger is a powerful energy that can serve a purpose, not only on a personal level to put a point across – such as that someone driving too fast could put lives at risk. Or a community can get collectively angry if someone is antisocial in their area – and this lets that person know their behaviour is unacceptable. 

In fact, collective anger has forced major and important social changes over the years. Without anger like this, there might still be apartheid in South Africa, slavery in America and the Nazis could have taken over the world.

Addicted to anger

But of course, there is a side to anger that is not helpful, that is out of control – and that can be terrifying. This could be, for instance, the children who are growing up with a rageaholic parent.

A rageaholic is someone subconsciously looking to change the negative way they feel by raging – that is, showing uncontrollable extreme anger. There often seems to be little or no reason behind their rage and this is because they are looking to do it at all times when their negative feelings rise up.

It is similar to aspects of other addictions because it is a distraction and changes the way the person who is raging feels. For those on the receiving end of their rage, it is frightening and can be extremely damaging.

Ancient cultures had gods of anger. They were gods because when anger gets hold of a person the god of anger has total control.

It is this uncontrollable anger that is the most damaging for the person gripped by it as well as who they are directing it towards and anyone else around them. It can lead to all manner of problems that include ending up in prison. It clearly needs to be addressed.

Signs of anger

Signs of anger

Certain mental and physical symptoms are associated with anger. These include palpitations, shaking, trembling, tightened facial muscles, grinding teeth, sweating, increased heart rate, breathlessness and chest tightness.

Five phases are involved in what is known as the “cycle of anger”. These are: 

  • Trigger
  • Escalation
  • Crisis
  • Recovery
  • Depression

It’s useful to be aware of these, to be prepared to control anger or deal with someone who is getting angry.

What causes anger and rage?

What causes anger

We get angry due to many reasons in a multitude of situations. This can be due to becoming impatient, feeling ignored, getting called something or as a defensive reaction to someone being angry towards us.

However, when looking at anger in mental health terms it is often seen to be because of unresolved histories. There is a phrase used in recovery circles that says: “If it’s hysterical it’s likely because it’s historical.”

This means that someone can be angry beyond what is in front of them. It seems like they are having a huge overreaction.

Frequently this is because something has happened to them in the present moment that recreates a childhood feeling, or a feeling that the person connects with a past situation or some incidents.

An instance of this is that a woman who is furiously shouting and totally enraged at someone for pushing in a queue is reminded of how she was always bullied and pushed aside by one of her siblings. Her anger is more that of a wounded child than a grown-up woman.

All too often, with terrible consequences, a parent will overreact like this with one of their children. It might just be that a child has forgotten to turn off the light in their bedroom. The fury the parent shows them is beyond what it should be for something trivial like this.

But the fact is in an instance such as this that the parent has a great depth of anger inside them. It is just waiting for any reason to explode.

Tragically it is children that often feel this sort of anger. This is extremely damaging to the child and is likely to have negative consequences for how they develop and who they become as an adult.

How to control anger

Controling anger

It is clear that anger as just described can only be dealt with by looking back at where it originates from – and this needs to be done with professional guidance.

It might be that the anger comes from a trauma or a great fear. Fear is nearly always the ancestor of anger.

If someone makes an honest admission that their anger is out of control, it is the first step. But many people who need to do not do this because they know there is a great deal for them to do that requires courage and hard work.

This is why the majority of people with anger issues will not admit it, even if they have sufficient self-awareness of how damaging their behaviour is to themselves and those around them, including many people they love.

Many others also try to suppress their anger. This means they are in a constantly frustrated, anxious and stressed state. Suppressed anger can also lead to depression.

Or many people who feel angry turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to keep a lid on it. Unfortunately and sometimes tragically, this only fuels their anger.

Others turn to behavioural addictions. This includes excessive gambling, workaholism, sex and food.

Learning about anger and what is likely to set it off can help. As well, so can calming techniques such as taking deep breaths or slowly counting to ten.

Learning to respond rather than react always helps too. But it takes patience and discipline.

Exercise will be beneficial, especially playing a sport or something that pushes the person to exert themselves as it acts as a good release. Doing such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga will have fantastic rewards – as will walks, especially among tranquil nature.

However, if the anger comes from deep within, the only real solution is to look at it and understand it in order to resolve it. Our expert team of experienced professionals has helped people with all types of mental health and emotional problems, including anger issues.

Get in touch with us for a confidential chat to discover how we can help you or someone you know.

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