The Three Negative Forms of Anger And How To Manage Them

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It’s good to get angry.

Are you surprised by that statement? Don’t be.

Anger is a primal reaction to something you feel is wrong or harmful. It can play an important role in your defense mechanism and can also motivate you to take positive action. Everyone gets angry sometimes and it is not only a normal emotion but a useful one too. It is perfectly possible for anger to be a positive energy when it is controlled and channeled positively.

But what happens when anger isn’t used positively?

Feelings of anger can vary in their intensity from mild frustration to extreme aggression. How you react to a certain situation may be completely different from the way someone else reacts and this is ok. But if the form of anger and/or reaction to it becomes abnormal it can become damaging to your mind, relationships, self-esteem, work life and physical well-being.

Whether you are reading this because you feel that your relationship with anger is out of step or because you want to help someone close to you, I’m here to tell you that anger can be managed.

I’m going to say that again.

ANGER CAN BE MANAGED

There a number of strategies you can use to manage your feelings to a level that is acceptable to yourself and others. I’m a firm believer in the idea that if something isn’t working you don’t need to throw it away and give up, you just need the right tools to fix it. That’s why I love my job as a life coach. I’m here to empower you and give you the tools you need.

THE THREE NEGATIVE FORMS OF ANGER

SCROLL THROUGH THE POST TO GO TO THE SECTION YOU ARE MOST INTERESTED IN:

EXCESSIVE DESTRUCTIVE ANGER (EDA)

SUPPRESSED ANGER / ANGER AVOIDANCE (SA)

HOLDING ON TO ANGER / INABILITY TO RELEASE ANGER / LATENT ANGER (LA)

 

EXCESSIVE DESTRUCTIVE ANGER

 You know that your anger is out of control if you can answer yes to one or more of the following:

  • Your reaction to situations are often excessive or over-the-top
  • You are very quick to anger and get angry frequently
  • You can become verbally or physically abusive
  • You feel regret and/or shame following an angry outburst and you can’t really explain why you got so angry in the first place
  • Your anger is affecting your relationships at home, with friends or in the work place
  • You use alcohol and/or drugs as a way to cope with your feelings
  • You feel angry inside most of the time, often for reasons you can’t explain

If this is you I want you to take a deep breath and congratulate yourself for reading this far. Recognizing that you need help is an essential first step on the road to change.

Extreme anger affects your ability to think clearly and impairs your decision making capability. The stresses your body is placed under during an angry outburst can lead to heart disease, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, increased risk of stroke and depression.

WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS?

Do you ever ask yourself that question? Finding the answer is not always easy. At some point you learned to react to situations in this way. This could be for any number of reasons.

  • It could be that you are mirroring the behavior of a caregiver or parent who influenced you as you grew up
  • It might be because you found it a useful way to get what you wanted at some point
  • Maybe you find it hard to  take responsibility for your actions i.e. you deflect attention from mistakes you make by overreacting and/or by blaming someone else
  • Perhaps you have a controlling personality and get frustrated when you feel out of control
  • You could be someone who deals badly with stressful situations
  • It could be that you get frustrated quickly and have never really learned another way to react
  • You might not know why you react in such an extreme way

Whatever the starting point, the existing situation can be remedied with a number of strategies. The important thing is to pick the strategies that work best for you.

EDA ANGER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

#1 WHAT ARE YOUR TRIGGERS?

Keep a note of the dates/times/situations when your anger becomes excessive. By doing this you can see what sets you off. Is it mostly when you are driving? Is it when you get frustrated at work? Is it because of something that happens at home in your personal life? Identifying your triggers is step 1.

#2 BREAK THE CYCLE

When the old familiar feelings start to rise you need to do something to stop them quickly to give your brain time to calm down and think.  When unpleasant situations occur the process should be: SITUATION  >>> THINK >>> REACTION. If you are quick to anger, you often jump straight to reaction am I right? Breaking that cycle allows you to have some thinking time.

#3 ACCEPTANCE

If you have been an authority figure in the past, if you have a high-powered job or are a self-confessed control freak this one can be especially difficult to put into practice. You must accept that firstly, things are sometimes out of your control (and that’s ok) and secondly, you are not always right.

Boy oh boy can this take  A LOT of practice!

#4 LEARN HOW TO EXPRESS YOURSELF APPROPRIATELY

If you are suffering from excessive destructive anger you have become entrenched in the habit of expressing how you feel inappropriately. You need to learn how to turn your reactions into ones that are appropriate and controlled. Learning different ways to express yourself is empowering and one of the most useful tools you can use.

No doubt during and after an angry outburst you feel frustrated am I right? You may feel that you have not been listened to and/or didn’t get your point across effectively. This then makes you even more frustrated and angry.

Being able to communicate your frustration in a way that makes people pay attention and really listen is a wonderful skill to have. However your discussions turn out, you always have the satisfaction of knowing that you communicated appropriately, made exactly the points you wanted to make and feel good about yourself.

RECOMMENDED READING

I am inserting some direct links for books you may find useful to help with anger management. These are my Amazon affiliate links which means that you will not pay any more for the product if you purchase it using my link but I will receive a very small commission, thank you.

SUPPRESSED ANGER / ANGER AVOIDANCE

Anger can be a normal response to a particular situation when it is expressed in an appropriate way. Suppressing feelings of anger or avoiding conflict can be as damaging as an excessive anger response.

When you suppress your feelings you may feel that you have dealt with them but in reality you haven’t. Often they come back even stronger later or they show themselves in the way you react to a completely unrelated situation. Suppressed or repressed anger is toxic to both your physical body and mental wellbeing.

This is you if you can relate to one or more of the following statements:

  • You avoid confrontation but you let your anger simmer away inside which makes you more and more frustrated
  • You may go over certain conversations several times in your mind dwelling on all of the things you think you should have said
  • You have imaginary conversations with people who have wronged you and the imaginary you confronts them and acts in a way you wish you could
  • You sometimes have outbursts or take things out on people close to you for no apparent reason
  • You may suffer or suspect you suffer from low-level depression
  • You sometimes feel twisted up inside and get frustrated by your own lack of action
  • You are taken advantage of because you don’t stand up for yourself
  • When you do have an outburst it is often a ‘meltdown’
  • You use sarcastic humor as a way to vent and are often critical of others and yourself
  • You suffer from a lot of neck and muscle tension

If this describes you, you need to develop some strategies to express your anger appropriately.

SA ANGER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

#1 UNDERSTAND THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Often, someone who is passive aggressive will have learned to behave that way as the safest course of action. You may find it helpful to work with a therapist or counselor to understand why you react to anger in the way that you do. For example: if you grew up in a house where anger was over-expressed (i.e. lots of arguing and/or shouting) you may have learned that anger is something dangerous. In a similar way if you were encouraged to repress your emotions and not show it if you felt upset etc this could lead to long-term emotional repression.

#2 SLEEP AND EXERCISE

Getting adequate sleep helps to keep your mind calm. It’s easy to lose your sense of perspective when you are over-tired and feeling frazzled. Exercise is also a good way of working out your frustrations. It helps your mental health not just your physical health. If you dwell on past conversations and attack yourself for not reacting well try yoga and meditation. For a more rigorous routine check out these workout ideas HERE and HERE.

#3 LEARN HOW TO EXPRESS YOUR ANGER APPROPRIATELY

Using sarcasm, passive aggressive tactics or having a full-on explosive blowout are not appropriate ways to express your frustration with someone or something. You will find it helpful to learn that anger is not about violence and aggression it’s actually a normal way to show your displeasure and it’s a very valuable tool for you to use.

Learning words and phrases that fit with your personality can help you in these situations. If you are paralyzed in a one-to-one situation, a carefully worded text message or email can also effectively express how you feel from a safe distance.

Learning how to remove the emotion from a heated situation so that you stick to the facts is also a useful strategy that is very empowering when used well.

RECOMMENDED READING

I am inserting some direct links for books you may find useful to help with anger management. These are my Amazon affiliate links which means that you will not pay any more for the product if you purchase it using my link but I will receive a very small commission, thank you.

 

 

LATENT ANGER

Do you hold onto your anger?

This section is for you if you fit one or more of the following statements:

  • You are someone who finds it very hard to let go of past arguments
  • You hold grudges very easily
  • When you think of situations when you have felt very angry you feel the same emotions again just as intensely even if the situation happened a long time ago
  • You often suffer from muscle tension especially in your back and neck
  • You are prone to stress headaches
  • You have a tendency to dwell on the past and replay certain situations over and over

LA MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

#1  IT’S ALL ABOUT FEAR

Yep. Get ready for a harsh truth.

When you hold onto anger it is mostly because you are afraid. You are afraid that if you let the anger go you are basically letting whoever wronged you ‘get away with it’. You feel like you have to hold onto the angry feeling so that you can punish that person and because you feel that they have been unfair.

The truth is that the only person you are hurting and punishing by doing this is yourself. Holding onto anger is both physically and mentally damaging and you are waiting for a sense of closure that may never actually come.

Learning to let go and release the anger is the best thing for YOU. What has happened has happened. You cannot change past circumstances and you cannot make someone else be sorry if they don’t want to be.

YOU CANNOT CONTROL HOW OTHERS BEHAVE BUT YOU CAN CONTROL HOW YOU REACT.

The chances are that the other person doesn’t care how you feel. They probably moved on long ago and by holding onto your anger you are actually empowering them to hurt you over and over.

#2  ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL

Whatever hurt you feel, don’t push it down inside. Allow yourself to feel. You can only move forward once you have dealt with your emotions properly. Swallowing your anger down and holding onto your intense feelings day in day out is exhausting. You are not a human dam!

#3 FORGIVE

People often make a big mistake when they think about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that what has happened to you was ok. It is not a way of letting someone who has wronged you ‘get away with it’ and it does not mean that you are going to take the blame.

Forgiveness means LETTING GO.

Take the power away from others and give it back to yourself. You deserve it!

RECOMMENDED READING

I am inserting some direct links for books you may find useful to help with anger management. These are my Amazon affiliate links which means that you will not pay any more for the product if you purchase it using my link but I will receive a very small commission, thank you.

 It’s good to get angry.

Are you surprised by that statement? Don’t be.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie is a life coach specializing in Women’s Wellness and author of 5 Daily Habits To A Healthier Happier You. Read more about her journey HERE and sign up in the side bar to access her free health and wellness downloads.

9 thoughts on “The Three Negative Forms of Anger And How To Manage Them

  1. Joscelyn | Wife Mama Foodie says:

    Wow, this was eye opening. I tend to hold grudges sometimes and the fact that I do so that the other person can’t “get away with it” is on point. I know I’m only hurting myself when I do that so I really just need to learn to forgive quickly. Thank you for the great advice!

  2. Andy says:

    Suppressed anger really eats you up inside. I myself had to really write down a lot when it came to forgiving people that made me feel suppressed. You get to a point where you really what to just scream to get people to understand you and what I have learned is most of the arguments that occur is due to a lack of communication skills. Everyone is communication in different ways and understanding in different ways. For people to understand how we feel, we really have to speak each others emotional language. Thank you so much for sharing this! <3

    • Stickinsectz says:

      You are most welcome Andy and you are absolutely right. The key to expressing your anger in an appropriate way hinges on being able to communicate effectively. Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in this. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Aarika says:

    This is a really fantastic post helping people understand and manage anger. Thank you for the incredible tips and info! I appreciate you addressing the reasons for “anger” and how it is an essential emotion/reaction but there are ways to address and manage it. It is really empowering to know that we CAN control our emotions in a healthy way for all. I look forward to more posts from you!

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