While laughter can be contagious, anger can also have an impact on everyone within the vicinity. Uncontrollable and chronic anger generally displays itself in irrational, unempathetic, and aggressive behavior that casts a negative effect on family members, friends, co-workers and even innocent passersby. It’s generally a way people try to gain control over others, usually back-firing in the long run. Angry people often say and do things that break down relationships by causing others to feel upset, intimidated, stressed or downright afraid. The behavior results in rifts between family members that pushes loved ones away, the disturbing road rage we witness on the way home from work and the bullying our kids experience at school or on the Internet.
People often express their anger in negative and inappropriate ways because this is what has been modeled for them during their childhood and they just don’t know any better. They don’t get what they want or feel that others other don’t care or are being unfair and this is how they think they should respond. Two of these dysfunctional scenarios include:
Repression – some people are afraid to show their anger because they are afraid what others might think or they think it’s inappropriate to show it. Instead, they keep it bottled up inside. Suppressing anger for long periods of time can lead to depression, isolation and anxiety. This type of anger can also eventually lead to a huge outburst.
Explosive – others have no self-control and constantly explode in loud, threatening and dramatic rages. This behavior includes yelling, screaming, throwing things, slamming doors and physical abuse. This type of anger often leads to trouble with the law. Neighbors will hear a domestic fight and call the police; you get into it at a bar or even at an athletic event.
Either way, the angry person affects the family by creating fear and loathing. It prevents people from feeling like they can be honest and open with you or feel truly loved by you. In fact, many recent generations grew up in households in which corporal punishment was an acceptable result of doing anything that made dad mad. However, ongoing research shows that children of angry parents turn out to be more aggressive, less empathetic, have more social issues and have a high chance of carrying this aggressive behavior over into their own adult relationships.
Thankfully, anger is not a permanent personality flaw that has to take over and ruin your life. It is a learned behavior and can be un-learned with the right training. High quality anger management books, programs and individual therapy can help people to learn how to respond to anger in healthy ways. If you are interested in making this life change you can expect to better understand your triggers, find a safer balance and more prepared to cope, and gain more confidence and self-esteem. Take control today by learning to sharpen your communication skills, formulate rational and respectful responses, and to change your thinking so that every bump in the road doesn’t require a feud!