Feeling angry is part of being human. It is a natural response to being attacked, insulted, deceived or frustrated.
Anger can be useful, but it can also be frightening. When something makes you angry, adrenalin causes your body to prepare for ‘fight or flight’, giving you energy and making you feel tense. Releasing this energy and tension is good for you, but it can be difficult to do so in ways that are constructive. In most situations, fighting back or running away (‘fight or flight’) isn’t helpful and anger can often lead to responses that make things worse rather than better.
Being angry isn’t a problem in itself. It’s how you deal with it.
Anger becomes a problem when it harms you or people around you. This can depend on whether you express your anger, and how you express it. Often if you feel angry, it’s about something that is happening to you at the time. This is usually something that is over quickly, for example, sounding your horn if another driver causes you to brake suddenly. Something happens that makes you angry, you express your anger and then move on.
When you don’t express your anger, or express it at inappropriate times or in unsafe ways, this is when it can damage your health and your relationships. This is especially so, if something has made you angry in the past and you didn’t express your anger at the time – because you felt you couldn’t or didn’t want to – then that anger can get ‘bottled up’ or ‘suppressed’. This can have negative consequences in the longer term – you may find that when something happens to annoy or upset you in the future, you feel extremely angry and respond more aggressively than is appropriate to the new situation.
If you can’t express your anger in a safe or constructive way, this can be bad for your emotional, mental and physical health.
It is likely that the way you were brought up, and your cultural background, will influence how you feel about expressing anger. Many people are, as children, given messages about anger that may make it harder to manage as an adult. You may have been brought up to believe that it is always okay to act out your anger, however aggressively or violently, and not taught how to understand and manage it. This could mean you have angry outbursts any time you don’t like the way someone is behaving or you are in a situation you don’t like. However, if you have witnessed your parents’ or other adults’ anger when it was out of control, you may see it as something that is destructive and terrifying. Or you may have been brought up to believe that you shouldn’t complain but should just put up with things, and may have been punished for expressing anger as a child.
Experiences like these can mean that you suppress your anger and it becomes a long-term problem, where you react inappropriately to new situations you’re not comfortable with.
How therapy can help:
Therapy offers a warm, empathic, safe and confidential environment in which the therapist and you collaboratively work towards:
- Understanding the underlying causes and triggers of your anger, both conscious and unconscious
- Developing ways to manage your anger – this usually involves both cognitive (how you think about it) and behavioural (actions, tasks, homework etc) work
Contact us now in confidence at Arduna @ (01) 833 2733 to discuss making an appointment with one of our therapists who can help you with anger problems.
THERAPISTS WHO SPECIALISE IN THIS AREA:
To get more information on an individual therapist please click on name