Anger is a primitive emotion that is fundamental to human survival and functioning. Emotions are inherently essential as a feedback mechanism to our position and serve as signals to where we are in comparison to where we want to be. In other words, it let us know where we stand in regards to our needs or goals.
Anger is powerful emotion. It is a strong discontentment that is often the result of lack of control or unfulfilled desires and expectations. The feeling of anger is manifested when we feel we have no control over the situation and when our need is not met. And as such, drive us to correct the situation to fulfill our needs.
Anger drives us to act immediately and forcefully. Similar to a survival situation, when we need to automatically strike our “enemy’ in a dangerous time or when someone hurts us, the anger emotion intensely motivates us to act and change the situation toward our desired outcome.
Even though angry behavior makes us feel strong and in control, the angry behavior, in fact, makes us weak as we allowed the emotion to dictate us the way we act. By acting in an aggressive behavior, such as yelling, raising voice, becoming violent or abusive or even avoiding confrontation, we hurt others and mainly we hurt ourselves. When anger amplify and becomes chronic and intense, it becomes destructive, carries negative consequences and being problematic, while effecting the quality of life and relationships we have.
Unhealthy anger is can be expressed in the following way:
- We become aggressive, such as lash out and attack the other person
- We become passive by denying our feelings and needs, and as such not being expressive. In this case we direct our anger inward, which later will damage us
- We act impulsively while not considering the consequences of our behavior
- We adopted destructive and dysfunctional way of thinking such as:
- The other person wants to hurt me
- I am the a victim
- Use statement such “should” or “must”
- We feel convinced that justice and truth are on our side
- We blame others for our situation
- We are engage in a power struggle and feel like in a battle or competition
On the other hand, the following are healthy ways to express anger:
- You express your feeling and needs in a constructive way
- You are being patient in your response (avoid impulsivity)
- You examine your thoughts and behavior and understand there consequences, while building healthy habitual thoughts
- You empathize with the other person are able to understand the other person perspective, even if you disagree or don’t like it
- You act assertively (not aggressive and not passive), with the purpose of having a win-win solution
- You are being wise and not right, while considering the “bigger picture,” which is the effect on the relationship
If your anger is out of control or chronic and if it impacts your relationships and your life, you might consider anger counseling or anger management program to learn how to handle anger better.
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