Is Your Anger a Problem?
Many of us grow up learning that it is wrong to feel angry; that anger is a sign of weakness; or that expressing anger is a mistake. In some cultures, anger is also seen as a masculine trait and at times, popular culture romanticises it. These misconceptions around anger have made it difficult to understand, express and address it.
Anger as a Natural Emotional Response
Anger is a natural human emotion, just as sadness, joy or hurt are. Anger is defined as ‘a strong, uncomfortable emotional response to a provocation that is unwanted and incongruent with one’s values, beliefs, or rights. For instance, if you strongly believe in being punctual, someone showing up late is likely to make you feel angry. More often than not, anger is a response to another primary or core emotion such as hurt or fear. For instance, you might be hurt or disappointed with your spouse for not helping you with household chores, which perhaps is expressed by getting angry. At times, anger can also be useful as it can make us feel less vulnerable or help us recognise dissatisfaction with an event or a person.
When is Your Anger a Problem?
Anger in itself is not a problem. However, sometimes, the effect, duration, frequency and the way anger is expressed can become a cause of concern for you and others around you. Your anger can be a problem if
You express it in a verbally or physically abusive manner
You find yourself getting angry easily and very often
Most people around you find it difficult to understand why you are as angry about something
You feel angry for long periods of time or are unable to let it go even if you try to
You are unable to seek support from others to alleviate your frustrations, explain why you feel as angry, and feel compelled to suppress it
You have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships because of feeling angry often, and against your best efforts
You find yourself changing jobs frequently due to conflicts with co-workers or superiors
You find that you are unable to regulate your anger and it seems to take control over everything else
There are ways in which you can manage your anger effectively. However, if you find that you need further help, you might find counselling or therapy useful. It can help you identify the reasons for your anger, understand the processes that trigger and maintain it, and find ways to address your core concerns.
Thomas, S.P. (2001). Teaching Healthy Anger Management. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 37, 41-48.
Lench, H.C. (2004). Anger Management- Diagnostic Differences and Treatment Implications. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23(4), 512-531.
If your anger is getting out of hand, you can always contact an InnerHour therapist for help.
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