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.