Although it’s normal to feel angry from time to time, people with anger management problems react aggressively often, with outbursts that they find hard to control.
These are people who often feel insulted, despised or treated unfairly in their relationships with others, and often erupt aggressively towards others.
They often blame others for their problems, regardless of their own role in what happened.
Their reactions tend to be more intense and aggressive than would be expected in such a situation.
They may do physical harm to others or to themselves, break, hit or kick objects, shout, insult, make threatening gestures or try to seek revenge.
In addition, when they get angry, they don’t get angry soon, but they can stay angry for the rest of the day or for several days, depending on how serious they consider the event.
Their aggressiveness usually appears in various scenarios throughout the day.
For example, you may speak badly or yell at your co-workers, have frequent discussions with shop clerks or neighbours, yell or insult other drivers when you are behind the wheel, often get angry with your partner, etc. Some may physically assault others or get into fights.
After the incident they are often aware that their reactions are exaggerated and they may feel guilty or ashamed, but despite this, aggressive outbursts continue to occur and they are unable to control themselves when they feel such intense anger.
People with anger management problems often have relationship difficulties or work problems as a result of their behavior.
They may also have high blood pressure and it is not uncommon for them to have problems sleeping and physical pain, such as muscle and back pain.
Excessive anger is sometimes associated with depression, borderline personality disorder, or bipolar disorder.
When a person is in a negative situation, has personal problems or a high level of stress, they are more likely to feel irritable and react with anger.
People who think others don’t like them are also more likely to blame others or feel resentful and angry with them, or react with anger to that sense of humiliation for not being accepted by others.
On the other hand, perceiving a situation as unfair and intentional increases the likelihood of feeling angry.
What you can do
- Identify any problems in your life that are negatively affecting you and generating stress or discomfort and try to find solutions. If it is not possible to solve them in the short term, try to look for longer term solutions and think that you only have to wait a little and everything will end up being fixed.
- The foods you eat have an important effect on the biochemistry of your brain. So if you drink too much coffee, sugar (such as candy or soft drinks) or stimulants, try to eliminate them completely. Eat a healthy and nutritious diet and use dietary supplements for a while.
- Exercise regularly, as it will help you fight stress or depression you may be suffering.
- Use mindfulness-based techniques to control anger the moment it appears.
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
- Learn conflict resolution strategies.
- Learn stress management techniques.
Techniques for managing anger when it appears
Anger can take hold of you completely, intensely and like a wave, so you may have the feeling that you are unable to control yourself and you need to express it immediately because otherwise it is as if it is going to engulf or destroy you.
However, if at that moment you manage to stop and not act, the anger tends to calm down. But how do we achieve this? There are different strategies you can use.
Try some of the following:
- Wear a rubber band around your wrist and give it a tug when you feel that intense anger appear. The pain of bouncing the rubber against your wrist can be enough to divert your attention and give you that pause you need, so you can think before you act.
- Carry a note with a written phrase to read over and over again as soon as anger appears. For example: “I can bear this emotion without doing anything, it will happen right away, if I do nothing but bear it and wait for it, in the end it will fade away.
- Express in words exactly what you’re feeling: “I feel a very intense anger, I feel like hitting something, it’s a very strong impulse …” Try to do it from the outside, as if you were someone you are objectively observing and describing. You can also make this same description but focusing on your physical sensations (muscle tension, accelerated heart).
- Take a deep breath and concentrate on your breathing, as if there is nothing else in the world except the air coming in and out of your lungs.
After the outburst of anger
After an episode of anger, mentally review what happened and write down the thoughts that have gone through your mind and influenced your anger, such as “You have no right to do or say that, you are a despicable and horrible person, I cannot tolerate being treated like that, you make me look ridiculous…”.
Then try to find alternative ways of interpreting what happened, trying to be more tolerant and understanding, take other points of view into account, look for other possible explanations and be more realistic.
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