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What Category Of Angry Do You Fall Under?

This morning I was walking through the newly decorated supermarket parking lot observing all the festive holiday ornaments when I witnessed a disturbing scene. One car was driving through the lot trying to find a space and made a quick left in front of another car that was just pulling into the lot from the busy intersection. This sudden turn caused the driver pulling in to slow down and then lay on his horn for longer than absolutely necessary. The loud blare was a provoking move, and worked. They both parked and the driver who was honked at came running over yelling obscenities. I wondered how these people could already be so angry so early in the day? And, why was it worth it to each of them to cause such a scene? Yes, it’s normal to get angry but these two reacted in a way that seemed out of control and scary.

Numerous studies show that individuals who grew up in households in which parents or caregivers modeled uncontrolled angry behavior tend to utilize these same behavioral patterns in their own adulthoods. Research also confirms that certain personality traits contribute to the way someone responds when angry. Specifically, people who are competitive, have low frustration levels or are self-centered are more likely to get really mad. And, whatever just happened in a person’s life prior to the angry outburst can sway the situation. If someone is already stressed, hurt, tired or anxious they have a greater chance of reacting in an explosive way. I’m sure that each of the individuals involved in the public altercation I witnessed had something else going on prior to this that caused each to act the way they did. Obviously one was in a hurry and the other wasn’t going to overlook the behavior.

There are many common different types of anger that manifest themselves in unique ways. A few of the most frequently recognizable are:

1. Passive Anger. This is someone who uses dry sarcasm to verbalize their anger in non-direct ways. These people often avoid conflict, are patronizing, use gossip to sabotage others or ignore them completely.

2. Chronic Anger. This is someone who always seems to have an ax to grind. They are continuously resentful of others and their overall life. They are always on the defense and can’t seem to forgive and move on.

3. Explosive Anger. This describes an individual who is physically or verbally aggressive toward whatever triggers their anger. Domestic violence offenders usually fall into this category.

4. Volatile Anger. This person generally internalizes things that make him/her angry until they explode. One minute a person is calm and the next he’s super mad. It comes and goes, and seems like it’s coming out of nowhere when it rears it’s ugly head.

As we see on a daily basis, not everyone has the innate ability to express his or her anger in a healthy way. The angry driver was exhibiting a form of explosive anger that could have really been dangerous. Individuals who react in similar ways to this situation could highly benefit from taking the time to reflect on what is triggering their emotions. Learning new ways to communicate with others in positive ways can help lower stress levels, improve health and make the individual a more reasonable and enjoyable person to be around. Mastering anger management techniques to change your life is possible at any age either with classes, individual therapy or by reading books.

Take Time To Consider Forgiveness During This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving has its origins after the Pilgrim’s first harvest in the New World. As the story goes, in 1631 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans celebrated the harvest over a period of 3 days. The date and purpose for celebrating have changed over the centuries and the tradition has gone in and out of popularity. It wasn’t actually until the middle of the American Civil War in 1863 that President Lincoln established it as a national holiday to be celebrated the last Thursday in November each year.

While the celebration might vary from household to household, the major underlying theme remains the same. The purpose is to gather with family and friends and give thanks or take time to appreciate all we have and cherish. It’s a time to reflect on all the positive things we have in our life and resolve conflicts in time for the new year. As Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

As we go through life, it’s inevitable that we will be treated badly or hurt at some point. The feelings are painful and the anger, depression and frustration it causes are often extremely debilitating. Ongoing conflict can make people feel exhausted, stressed, and anxious. The bitterness often keeps us so wrapped up in the past that it prevents us from moving forward resulting in alienation and broken relationships. While it’s understandable to be angry with a person or situation, you will notice that successful and well-balanced people usually don’t hold on to grudges for very long.

While your hurt might feel like it will last forever, numerous studies show the healing power that forgiveness can bring. It’s worth it for your overall health and well-being although it is understandably very difficult. Sometimes, people don’t want to forgive because they feel like you’ve somehow lost the battle or that their feelings were overlooked. However, forgiveness does not mean that you need to forget the incident, begin trusting the person, condone the actions or even that you have to be best friends again. Instead, you have the power over how your forgiveness will look. You can forgive them and let go of the burden but move away from a relationship with them, or agree to disagree and move on. Or, you can forgive them without accepting their behavior.

The benefits of forgiveness greatly away the cost of the anger. It can give you a sense of peace and psychological freedom. Physically, you might regain a healthier blood pressure and heart rate, reduce your alcohol or drug use and leave you feeling happier and less burdened.

So how to accomplish this? Start by recognizing that it will take a change in your attitude to heal. Look for ways to be more empathetic about what was going on in the other person’s life when they hurt you. It goes back to the theory behind Thanksgiving. Be more mindful and focus on gratitude and kindness rather than contempt and aggression. You will end up feeling in control and emotionally stronger than ever before.

Anger Control Problems Can Be Overcome By Retraining Your Thought Process

Anger is an emotion that we use to protect us from feeling vulnerable, hurt or threatened. It’s totally natural to get angry and everyone experiences the emotion every now and then. However, in some people the emotion uncontrollably escalates to a point of no return. The individual might experience an increase in heart rate, sweaty palms, and a fog takes over so rational thinking is thrown out the window. When these irritated, resentful and anxious feelings take over, they can become harmful by leading to verbal and/or physical abuse. In the news lately, there have been a few repeat offender, high profile personalities that continue to go down this path.

One example is Chris Brown. He has a history of domestic violence and anger management issues and most recently got into a physical altercation with a fan in Washington DC. After spending 36 hours in prison, he flew back to Los Angeles and quickly checked himself into a rehab facility to get help for his anger issues. It is well researched that experiences from childhood can contribute to anger control problems as an adult. Chris has publically stated that he repeatedly witnessed his mother being beaten by his stepfather and grew up in an environment in which this was acceptable behavior.

Then there’s the infamous and extremely talented Alec Baldwin. His episodes of anger whether it’s ranting on phone mail messages or yelling at airline personnel, have become synonymous with his public personality. His hot temper has once again landed him in the spotlight after he verbally attacked a member of the paparazzi outside his NY apartment with gay slander. Alec hasn’t really opened up about publically about his childhood experiences, but does continue to apologize for his irrational and unreasonable behavior. His continuous controversies make him the perfect candidate for more anger management training.

Lastly is football star, Richie Incognito. The recently unemployed guard has racked up a history of personal fouls for verbal abuse towards officials. In fact he was once voted the dirtiest player by Sporting News. His most recent misstep was a result of verbal bullying of another Dolphins player. His dad has said that Richie was bullied as a child for being overweight and he obviously seems to be repeating this pattern.

It’s clear that individuals who were picked on, teased or physically assaulted during childhood are more highly inclined to perpetuate this behavior on others in adulthood. We see this across the board, regardless of income level or race. On the bright side however, research shows that you can retrain the brain to react to anger in a positive and stable manner. If you are over living a chronically negative and contentious lifestyle, you can make the choice to change your ways. This can be accomplished either through one-on-one therapy, group anger lessons, or online courses.

It takes three things to successfully learn to alter angry behavior: ownership of the problem, drive to initiate a new path and determination to maintain new core values. As we have seen with the above high profile individuals, there may be times when regression occurs, but with continued perseverance, you can get control of your anger for a healthier, more stable life.

Utilize Anger Management Tools To Improve Relationships

It’s completely normal to get angry with your partner every now and then. When two people live in the same home or see each other daily, it’s impossible to always agree on how to spend money, how to decorate, how to raise the kids, how to handle stressful situations or how to manage the household. Our priorities and choices are bound to reflect our individual personalities. In a close relationship, it’s important to not let bad feelings build up over time. Dealing with anger as it comes up and staying in touch with each other’s feelings will lead to a longer, healthier and happier life together.

Yes, you might be thinking this sounds great, but the reality is that it’s often difficult to discuss volatile issues with a spouse or loved one because it might cause a bigger fight and hurt feelings. Instead, many couples sweep issues “under the rug” or ignore them, hoping they will either go away or be forgotten. Years and years of this tactic can do some serious damage. If you truly want your relationship to stay on course and be strong, taking the steps to more openly and effectively communicate will benefit both of you in the long run.

Seeing a professional therapist is always beneficial, but in the short-term there are some main points to consider that can help couples have more positive discussions.

1. Deal with the anger as soon as possible, preferably before it escalates. Ask your partner what is making them mad. This shows that you have empathy and care about their feelings.

2. Don’t respond with anger. If you react to your partner’s answer with anger, it will only him or her feel worse and afraid to open up to you. Use anger and stress management techniques to calm yourself down before responding.

3. Acknowledge and accept your loved one’s thoughts and beliefs. Stop the argument by showing your understanding, even apologizing for what they perceive you have done and then explain how you feel.

4. Speak to each in respectful tones. Yelling and screaming only causes more hostility.

5. Regroup if necessary before responding. If you find yourself so angry that you know you will regret what you say at a later date, then take a time out. Explain to your partner that you aren’t ignoring the situation but need some time to think about things. Go for a run, garden, wash the dishes, or whatever you need to calm down before having the discussion.

6. Be honest. If you cover up your real feelings, it will only come back to haunt you later on.

7. Be open to learning from your partner’s feelings. Listening closely might teach you how to be a better person.

8. Stop blaming each other for the issue or problem at hand. Instead agree to take joint responsibility to find compromises to make things better.

Strong communication is the key to any successful relationship. When intimate partners stop listening, try to always get their way, or don’t voice their opinions, the relationship can slowly breakdown. Couples can benefit from learning how to develop their emotional intelligence, getting counseling and learning new anger control skills through books or classes. Effective anger management tools can help couples to tame their tempers and express themselves in more positive and healthier ways.

Developing Empathy Can Help You Manage Your Anger

Do you find yourself getting angry on a daily basis at your loved ones, your co-workers, bosses, teachers, classmates or all of the above? Are you tense and muttering hostile commentary as you travel down congested freeways and roads? Are you irritated beyond words when a store clerk doesn’t help you quickly enough? If so, rather than endlessly putting the blame on someone else for your ongoing unhappiness, it might be time to take a look at some self-improvement options. One way to go about reducing your chronic anger and hostility is to take steps to develop your level of empathy. Empathetic people still get angry, but they are able to get over it more quickly as they are able to look outside of themselves and understand what the other person is experiencing. Specifically, empathy is the mental capacity to feel what another person is feeling, tune in to their perspective and respond in a compassionate way instead of getting mad at their behavior.

Some traits of an individual who has developed a high-level of empathy are:

  • Being open-minded
  • Having the desire to understand another person’s actions even if you don’t completely agree with them
  • Developed active listening skills
  • Non-judgmental
  • Compassionate

There is a huge plus side to increasing this character trait. Individuals who have developed their ability to empathize often find it difficult to stay angry with others. Having a richer understanding of why another person is acting a particular way helps you become more respectful towards that person. This in turn creates a calmer, more open dialogue for conflict resolution purposes. This is why it’s an attribute that we see in so many successful executives. Empathetic people have the capacity to put themselves in the other person’s shoes, forgive and move forward. They are generally happier people who maintain strong relationships and reach higher academic and employment aspirations.

Many doctors and educators believe that it’s the key to better social interaction in every stage of life. The good news is that it’s an attribute that we can grow during adulthood, and we can help our children with from a very early age. Research shows that we are all born with the capacity to be empathetic, but the development is based on what we experience and are taught early on by our caregivers. Parents should model sympathy, exhibit interest in others conditions, and compassion from childbirth. This means that providing a loving, safe and respectful environment can help foster this strength.

If you are ready to choose a more peaceful path, decreasing your anger at others by increasing your empathy level is the first step. To do so, you should try to think outside of your world and understand where the other person is coming from. A strong empathetic listener is able to perceive what the other person’s situation is and communicate it back to them so they feel like it’s been acknowledged. This can be achieved by listening quietly and attentively to their point of view and then clearly repeating back to them what you heard them say. This doesn’t mean that you need to change your mind to agree with them or “give in”, but instead shows that you care about their feelings and are willing to validate their point of view. Showing compassion and tolerance during your discussion will lower the level of hostility and create a more relaxed, less stressful and angry environment. 

Once you enhance your capacity for empathy, healthier relationships will fall into place. An online anger management class can help you get there.  You won’t be as angry at the distracted driver because you will have developed the ability to realize that it might not be that they are being unaware and selfish, but that they possibly just heard terrible news. Rather than getting mad at your friend for not calling you back, you will stay calm with the understanding that she is trying to deal with her divorcing parents. Learning these skills from the comfort of your own home will help you to gain better control over your angry feelings and gain a stronger foundation for your overall stability and mental health.