Anger comes in several forms, and none of them are productive. Most people have difficulty identifying and recognizing the triggers that cause anger, so it is expressed inappropriately. Typically, pent-up anger is unleashed on whoever is around at the moment, while managed anger is evaluated and properly directed at the correct target.
The other common option is to stuff the anxiety or frustration and move past it without evaluation. Still, it is healthier for the individual to learn how to deal with anger issues and be angry.
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Without Learning How to Deal with Stress and Anger, Bullies Are Born
Teens who have grown up in dysfunctional households where they weren’t allowed to express their emotions often become bullies and turn to drugs and alcohol because they do not have anyone to trust. As a result, they never learn how to handle negative situations when they arise in the future. Coming from an alcoholic home where anger is common, children can’t turn to their parents when excessive emotions spring up.
They need someone outside the family to confide in and learn how to deal with anger issues. When there is no responsible adult the child can trust, they become emotionally unavailable adults because they have struggled with anger, fear, and depression their entire lives.
Research and therapists agree that there are different angles to confronting chronic anger, but the most effective is identifying and then healthily expressing emotions. Negative thoughts produce bad behaviors for teens and adults alike, and anyone raised in a dysfunctional environment must learn constructive ways to manage and release their anger.
How Does Untreated Anger Affect You?
Unmanaged anger does not “just go away” when you ignore it. Instead, the pressure builds inside an angry person, creating emotional, mental, and spiritual disorders. The anger can keep building inside a person until they explode. Here are the six stages of anger and how it affects the human body when locked inside.
- Pent-up anger blocks constructive decision-making skills, similar to building a wall.
- It contributes to strokes, hypertension, and heart attacks.
- If anger remains untreated, it spreads to every area in your life like a disease until anger is the primary emotion.
- Repressed anger leads to thoughts of revenge and retaliation.
- An antagonistic attitude will grow and alienate people around you.
- The final stage is a predisposition to violent behaviors. In adults, anger can lead to child abuse and domestic violence; in young people, it fuels bullying behavior.
What Is Anger?
Everybody gets angry sometimes; you would hardly be human if you didn’t, but problems arise when anger becomes a frequent emotion that continually gets the best of you. To understand how it can bring disaster into your life, it is necessary to understand the root causes. Then, when the major issues are identified and properly dealt with, the emotion will weaken its hold on you.
In Merriam’s Free Dictionary, anger is defined as a “strong feeling of unrest or upset because something appears to you as wrong.” It is also defined as being annoyed with a situation or person. This uncomfortable, negative feeling makes the individual want to hurt someone else, typically verbally or physically, because the feeling is hurting them.
For example, anger has made people throw things or use other demonstrative actions to express anger. In situations like these, anger has been stored inside, and anger management is needed. Everyone should learn how to manage their emotions in acceptable, healthy ways that promote positive emotional growth.
The Root Causes of Anger
Now let’s look at the root causes. There are over seven billion people on planet Earth and equally as many ways of expressing anger, but all generally stem from a form of fear.
Fear is the primary cause of anger. Fear originates in thinking that you won’t get what you want or you will lose what you already have. These two forms of fear are the driving force of anger. Security and protection are basic concerns for humans, followed closely by protecting our possessions.
When a car pulls up in front of you in traffic – an angry response follows because the invading car “took” your presumed “space.” One might honk the horn in response or give the best hand signal they can muster, but then it’s over. Road rage comes from someone who has repressed anger that has never been dealt with.
In our society, anger, at a lower degree, is an acceptable go-to emotion for both men and women. Because it can mask various emotions like frustration, embarrassment, and fear, many people hide under their anger, and it goes unrecognized or dealt with. Law enforcement sees the results of unmanaged anger in child abuse, street violence, and domestic violence.
Anger is the Star Emotion in Bullying
In teenage bullies, the underlying fear is multiplied because they have not matured enough to have learned many skills in managing their emotions. A child’s feelings are spontaneous, and that’s why they are so fun to be around. They laugh openly and express all their emotions, but if a young person grows up in a dysfunctional home, they don’t know what “healthy” looks like. Their fear suppresses it all: anger, fear, inferiority, and also their laughter and curiosity. As a result, bullying has become a common outlet to release emotions.
Anger Management: How to Deal with Stress and Anger
Some people have difficulty recognizing their anger, so they deny it. Other people avoid acknowledging anger by using different names, such as frustration, irritation, or annoyance. This allows them to bypass the truth. Therapists and counselors say that softer vocabulary works for some people because it enables them to deal with their anger. Emotions swept under the carpet turn into anger and must be dealt with.
Anger has different intensity levels, and it is healthy for an individual to identify them. For instance, the level of anger in getting a ding in your car is not comparable to being involved in an accident. Rage is anger to an extreme degree; the degree of anger should be equivalent to appropriate behaviors. When repressed anger is triggered, people can get angry over petty annoyances as if they were serious incidents. In such cases, their anger may even turn into full-blown rage. Anger management training will teach you how to deal with someone with anger issues.
Any level of anger should be dealt with immediately. When anger management is practiced, resentments and retaliation are not created in anger, and emotions are not repressed only to erupt unexpectedly. A magic wand would come in handy, but if you don’t have one, it is worth the effort to learn some anger management skills for your life. Unfortunately, healthy anger and fear management is not the norm. Looking around society, the evidence is everywhere, and bullying is just another result.
Six Steps in How to Deal with Anger Management
Professionals have several ways to treat anger, and most will agree that an individual cannot carry it around daily, let alone year to year. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to make negative emotions disappear, but there are steps you can take to handle your emotions and clean up the emotional baggage. Here are six steps to evaluate and deal with anger.
- Recognize your anger when it occurs, as in harsh words or a raised voice that triggers an unacceptable response.
- Remember past behaviors, advantages, and disadvantages that accompany anger. Also, remember the benefits of practicing patience, endurance, tolerance, and acceptance.
- Adopt a new perspective by reframing the situation. Seeing things from alternative points of view may cultivate compassion and help you acknowledge the law of karma; what goes around comes around. Use the situation as an opportunity for growth and to develop patience, or use the person as a teacher of a vital life lesson.
- Let go of the triggers and impulsive urges to count to 10 and favor more intelligent courses of action.
- Recondition. Review what you have learned so far—the entire dynamic—so that the healthier responses you have developed become automatic. Repetition is crucial.
- Respond appropriately. Address the situation with your new behaviors, and correct the old habits patiently, appropriately, intelligently, and proactively. Then, again, let spiritual guidance lead you.
If you were raised in a healthy environment as a child, handling anger would be much different from that of someone raised in a dysfunctional home with alcoholic parents. Children do not express their feelings in this environment, so they grow into adults who never truly know how to deal with their own negative emotions. Their choice in childhood was to repress any frustrations, disappointment, or anger as a mode of survival. Only if they had someone to trust, such as an understanding coach or teacher, could they exhibit their emotions.
Professionals agree that learning to manage anger is a skill that everyone would benefit from. If anger is based on past issues, a therapist will bring more clarity to your emotions. Identifying emotions is the key for both adults and young people, and by participating in anger management, your life will be more manageable and worry-free in every way.