Excessive anger, or a difficulty expressing or controlling your anger, is a common complaint we often hear from clients. If you are constantly feeling agitated, aggressive, or always ‘about to snap’, you may be suffering from an anger problem.
For the majority of people, anger issues go unchecked and subsequently have a severe impact on their work, social and home life. Anger is a powerful emotion that can lead to uncontrollable angry or abusive outbursts, including violent behaviour. Uncontainable anger can also lead a person to withdraw and completely shut down their feelings in an attempt to protect themselves and others from their angry emotions.
What is Anger?
Anger is an everyday emotion that can be reasonably felt and even useful in certain circumstances and when expressed appropriately. But many of us have trouble expressing our angry emotions in a reasonable and appropriate way.
A person with an anger management problem may be one who:
• is easily agitated and irritated by others
• feels angry more often than not
• finds that previously insignificant issues are making them angrier than they used to
• feels like their anger is out of their control
Importantly, a person with an anger management problem will almost always find that their communication style and way of expressing anger is having a significant impact on their relationships (with co-workers, family members or friends).
Anger ranges in intensity, with some people experiencing mild (but constant) irritation and others feeling infrequent but intense bursts of rage. Whether mild or extreme, it doesn’t feel good to always feel angry. Anger also has the ability to put pressure on your physiological body – including a rising heart rate, increased blood pressure, and heightened adrenaline and energy hormone release – meaning that good anger management skills are also important for the overall health of your physical body.
Just as anger can range from mild to extreme, it can also present differently, with some people revealing their anger through raised voices, swearing, hitting others, throwing objects or verbally or physically lashing out at loved ones. Others may have less conspicuous symptoms, such as appearing a socially withdrawn or easily irritable.
I’m angrier than other people
Many people often feel that they are particularly susceptible to uncontrollable anger. It is believed that people with anger management issues have a lower tolerance for frustrating stimuli; general inconveniences or aggravations which others might view as a normal part of life, can significantly irritate a person with anger management issues.
Family background has been strongly connected to the manner in which a person deals with and expresses anger. If anger is not healthily expressed (for example, parents often lash out verbally or physically, or expressions of anger are not permitted) or the family environment is highly stressful or chaotic, children tend to experience higher levels of anger which can continue into adulthood. Trauma or abuse has also been linked to high levels of anger, even if the trauma happened years ago.
Help for Anger Problems
A counselling professional can teach you how to take control of your anger. This means learning techniques to calm down in the heat of the moment and express your anger in a positive way – where your needs are made clear, your relationships remain safe and you don’t stay angry for all that long. Whist anger management strategies are a vital way to regulate your behaviour, Anger Management programs can also investigate the underlying causes of your anger, in a bid to internalise change at a deeper level.
Everyone feels anger at times. But if your angry emotions are getting the better of you, we can help. Our therapists can provide an individually-tailored program to help you improve your skills and thereby lead a more balanced, healthy and fulfilling life.