Do you know someone who always seems angry? Of course we all get angry from time to time, but some people seem to be chronically angry, irritable, and frustrated. Why do some people choose to express anger over any other emotion? Anger is often the easiest and safest emotion to express. Anger can control and even shut down a conversation. When a person chooses anger they avoid vulnerability and push others away. It allows a person to maintain a protective and defensive armor and reinforces disconnection from others. Typically, angry people are experiencing other emotions internally even though the anger is outwardly expressed. Fear, sadness, or hurt are often at the root of anger, but these feelings may be more difficult to express and perceived as weaknesses. Anger is a way of feeling powerful and in control, but in reality anger conveys immaturity and insecurity. How does a person develop chronic anger?
Chronic anger sometimes develops from loss, trauma, abuse, and/or stress. Relying on anger can be learned from childhood experiences or in adulthood. Anger is a unhealthy way to cover up anxiety, fear, or depression. Some families never talk about their emotions and teach their children to hide their feelings. Sometimes families perceive all emotions as bad and prefer to keep people at a distance. If a person is only exposed to extreme emotions which ended badly, they may shy away from any feelings. Some believe that the only emotion acceptable for a man is anger and showing other feelings detracts from his masculinity. The reality is that denying or compartmentalizing other emotions prevent us from connecting with others and fully experiencing positive feelings. The other problem with expressing only anger is that people will have a difficult time being compassionate or empathetic with you. Instead people will learn to avoid you and interact with you as little as possible. Are you ready to do something about your anger?
The first step in managing your anger is figuring out the triggers and underlying emotions. Sometimes journaling can be a healthy and helpful way to express anger without taking it out on others. Burning off some excess energy through exercise and physical activity can also help reduce anger. If the anger is directed at one person or even yourself, decide to forgive that individual and write them a letter saying as much. If you choose not to reconcile the relationship, be sure to forgive and release the anger and hurt since that will empower you. Learning healthy and constructive ways to communicate assertively can make a huge difference. Sometimes we need to do a better job at setting boundaries and saying no as a way to avoid building up anger and resentment. We can learn relaxation skills and rely on our faith to keep us calm and centered. When we can say it and leave it without any expectations we'll also be better off. Remember that when we deal with our underlying sadness, fear, and hurt; we can successfully overcome our anger since it is often a secondary emotion. Lastly, anger is a decision and the way you respond to it will determine the outcome. The choice is yours.