“Anger tells us that we need to take action to put something right. It gives us the energy and motivates us to act” – NHS Scotland.
But for some people anger can get out of control and cause problems at home and work, and even the law. Long-term, unresolved anger is linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and heart disease.
It is therefore important to deal with anger in healthy ways.
What makes people so angry?
Anger is different for everyone. Things that make some people angry don’t bother others at all. There are, however, things that make lots of us feel angry, including:
Feeling threatened or attacked
Not being respected for your feelings, authority, and your property
Being treated unfairly and being powerless to do anything about it
Being interrupted when you are trying to achieve a goal
Stressful day to day things such as traffic or paying bills
When we have lost something or someone.
How we react to anger
Your reaction to feeling angry will depend on many things, including:
Your current situation – if you are dealing with a lot of problems and stress
our family history- you may have learned unhelpful ways of dealing with anger
Events from the past – past trauma and events may still influence you.
Not everyone expresses anger in the same way. For example, some unhelpful ways you may have learned to express anger include (mind.org.uk):
Outward aggression and violence - such as shouting, swearing, slamming doors, hitting, or throwing things and being physically violent or verbally abusive and threatening towards others.
Inward aggression - such as telling yourself that you hate yourself, denying yourself your basic needs (like food, or things that might make you happy), cutting yourself off from the world and self-harming.
Non-violent or passive aggression - such as ignoring people or refusing to speak to them, refusing to do tasks, or deliberately doing things poorly, late or at the last possible minute, and being sarcastic or sulky while not saying anything explicitly aggressive or angry.
When is anger a problem?
Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of control and harms you or people around you. This can happen when:
you regularly express your anger through unhelpful or destructive behaviour
your anger is having a negative impact on your overall mental and physical health
anger becomes your go-to emotion, blocking out your ability to feel other emotions
you haven't developed healthy ways to express your anger
Look at the following examples that can help you check if you can relate to some signs of anger issues:
You tend to start arguments.
You always blame others.
You insist that your behavior is justified because people around you are too sensitive. At this point, the brain attempts to rationalize the negative behavior.
Trouble expressing your emotions except getting angry to gain some sense of control.
You feel like you can overpower other people through your aggressive behavior.
You notice that your family members, friends, or employees appear nervous or seemingly walking on eggshells when you’re around.
You unintentionally hurt other people when you explode in anger.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.