Anger Issues: The Symptoms, Causes and Effects
Anger is one of the many emotions that are part of a person's life. While there are several ways to suppress and deal with anger issues, it's not a sickness itself. There is a misconception that anger is associated with violence. Anger is a complex emotion that makes us more aware of our environments. There are a couple of widely accepted types of anger and in this article we're going to take a look at what they are and how they can affect a person. Being moody or angry occasionally doesn't mean you have a disorder Before we dive into this it's important to realize that getting angry every once in a while about things such as your boyfriend or girlfriend getting home too late or your mom forgetting your birthday isn't an indication that you have symptoms of anger issues. It's in the human nature, everybody gets angry about things some times. A certain threshold needs to be crossed before considering whether you have symptoms of anger issues. That threshold can be determined by several factors, such as the frequency or the intensity of your anger. You may be a patient person who doesn't get frustrated easily or maybe you're someone who goes through life with a short fuse. If you're angry all the time and you feel like there's no space to feel other emotions, see if you recognize any of the following types of anger in yourself. It's even possible that more than one type applies to you.
Retaliatory anger is one of the most common types of anger and is a response to to being confronted or attacked by someone. It's motived by vengeance for a perceived wrong. Retaliation is a choice and the actions someone takes based on this vengeful anger are usually purposeful and deliberate. With it often comes intimidation by attempting to assert control over situations, which could lead to unwanted escalations.
Passive-aggressive anger is an avoidant type of anger. Someone who experiences this type of anger often avoids all forms of confrontation at all costs. They often reject all feelings and emotions present and they often attempt to ignore them. This often leads to frustrations and negative thoughts piling up. People with passive-aggressive anger often express this anger verbally with sarcasm and mockery or physically with procrastination. They usually don't talk to other people about the way their feeling, as they might not even want to think about or deal with it themselves. Sometimes people who express their anger passively aren't aware that their actions and expressions can be perceived as aggressive.
Volatile anger is a violent type of anger. The more serious form of this type of anger is called intermittent explosive disorder. You can recognize it, for example, in people who often rage on the road and people who are abusive or violent in relationships. It's often combined with substance abuse and can be dangerous, as it puts the person who experiences this type of anger at risk for self-harm, violence against others and issues with relationships and communication. People who experience this type of anger often have outbursts and may not be able to control their expressions. Volatile anger is publicly not an accepted type of anger. Whether you have intermittent explosive disorder or not, if you recognize yourself in this type of anger, consider seeking professional help. If there's someone in your environment who you think has this type of anger, it may be a good idea to take caution.
Self-inflicted anger is a type of anger that's based on self-shame. People with this type of anger often feel unworthy, hopeless, ashamed, guilty or humiliated. Their feelings of guilt often pile up and that's often combined with substance abuse or self-harm. People with self-inflicted anger may have had goals that couldn't be achieved, therefore they feel the need to punish themselves. They could go to great lengths to punish themselves. It's also possible that they feel guilt because they hurt people around them. Just like with volatile anger, it may be a good idea to seek professional help if you think you're experiencing this type of anger.
Chronic anger is an ongoing type of anger. People with this type of anger are angry almost all the time. They can have a general sense of resentment of other people, but are also often angry towards themselves. Any inconvenient situation can stir up anger in a short time. For example, they get angry if something or someone woke them up abruptly in the morning or if someone they cherish started behaving differently around them recently. Chronic anger often causes someone's wellbeing to recede if left unmanaged. It could cause symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia and depression. People with chronic anger often get disoriented by so many different situations that they can have a hard time figuring out the sources of their anger.
Judgmental anger (also referred to as justified anger) is a type of anger that's directed towards others. People with this type of anger often feel resentment due to other people's shortcomings or perceived injustices against you or someone else. They become angry when they feel like their better or worse than other people and their core beliefs (the ways they look at and understand the world around them) differ to those of other people. Judgmental anger can be perceived as deeming people inferior. Therefore people with judgmental anger often experience loneliness and often have trouble maintaining a support system.
Overwhelmed anger is an uncontrolled type of anger. People with this type of anger feel that the lives they're living are too demanding for them. They often feel hopeless and frustrated. This type of anger can impact the mental health over time. People with overwhelmed anger often don't express or communicate about how they feel, which causes their anger to build up. They try to repress emotions and feelings. At some point they will find themselves unable to cope with even the slightest inconveniences. People with this type of anger often feel that they've taken too much responsibility in their lives and that they don't have any energy left to handle stressful factors and situations.
Assertive anger (also referred to as constructive anger) often acts as a catalyst for positive change. This type of anger is constructive and typically not explosive or destructive. People with assertive anger focus a lot on their expressions. They don't yell, scream or avoid confrontation. Instead, they use body language and focus on making changes to have their wants met rather than bursting out and behave aggressively towards themselves or others. Assertive anger is generally seen as a positive type of anger, as it makes room for improvements and positive handling of situations.
Dealing with anger
Do you recognize one or more of these types of anger? There are many ways to treat or cope with anger issues. It's important to know whether you can handle anger yourself or whether professional help is needed. While volatile anger and self-inflicted anger are two of the more serious types of anger, but you can seek help for any of the types. You don't have to do anything alone. Maybe you have friends or family members who would be glad to help you deal with certain situations, or maybe you'd like to hear perspectives of professionals. To help you on your way, we have written an article about coping strategies and ways to make anger a less dominant factor in your life. You can read the article here.