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How Anger Manifests Itself & What To Do About It
Posted by:   |  Feb 25, 2013

“Negative” emotions are physiological response to a need that is not met or unrealized expectations. In particular an anger feeling is a basic physiological response to a threat (real or imagined). When you are threatened, your heart bits pace increased and adrenaline and cortisol flood your body, the blood is rushed out to the arms and legs so they can act impulsively and aggressively. This also means that blood leaves your brain to minimize the ability of the rational mind to think constructively.

Anger may have genetic components. Some know that they have an “angry disposition” or “bad temper,” it may be a result of a genetic legacy. Yet, most angry behaviors are learned. Many individuals learned how to behave in different situation when they observe their parents or their care givers. Particularly, learned how to respond to situations when their needs or expectations are not met

It is important to know that that angry behavior can come in different ways and not only in the typical anger way like yelling, cursing, threatening or being physical etc.

The following are ways that angry behavior can manifest itself:

  • Passive aggressive – The angry person may withhold praise, attention, affection or intimacy or whatever the object of the anger wants. This person can engage in actions known to upset the other person. They may “forget” or fail to follow-through on commitments. At work, if an passive-aggressive individual is angry with his peer or boss, they can stall on a project, not meet deadlines or just ignore the person.
  • Sarcasm – The angry person may escalate to sarcasm. The sarcastic person may use “humorous” or cutting remarks about other. Revealing embarrassing personal information to others or public humiliation. The person may use a tone of voice and manner that convey disgust or disapproval.If the other person complains, the sarcastic-angry individuals may turn it around: “Well, you can sure take a joke.”
  • Cold anger –  A painful way of withdrawing from the other person, including avoiding emotional or physical intimacy. In some cases the angry person that uses this tactic to avoid discussion or provide “the silent treatment” or minimal response.
  • Hostility – This is a situation when the angry person feels intense emotions, raised voice and becomes even more stressed out while acting impatiently. When others don’t meet their expectations, they show signs of frustration and annoyance.
  • Aggression – This is the stage where the angry person acts out physically, cursing yelling, threatening, calling names, blaming or laying on hands.

If you want to manage your anger, it is important to identify your behavior and recognize your pattern of arousal for anger and recognize it in your body. In addition, understanding how you think, identifying your thinking patterns, which most of the time is unhelpful and even destructive, is key first step. The next phase would require a shift in your thinking habits to make them more constructive. And, of course, afterwards, you need to learn to communicate feelings, thoughts and needs assertively and effectively.

It is important to remember that it is not the anger itself but the expression of it that can be dangerous. Also, don’t be upset with yourself if you have a relapse or have a setback. After all, like anyone else, you are human and not perfect. Besides, changing thoughts and behavior takes time and commitment with a long term vision. So, don’t give up, as the payoff for overcoming anger is happiness.

Please visit author, Moshe Ratson at his google+ Profile:+Moshe Ratson



Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in New York City
License # : 000697