Anger Management Anger is an emotion that is useful and necessary as well as harmful. We teach anger management skills as well as interventions for resolving the underlying reasons for an individual’s anger
TYPES OF ANGER
Projected or Internalized Anger
Anger is directly related to both body-felt sense and our thoughts. If our body signals fear or a threat, our thoughts will register as anger. However, if we are able to control our angry thinking, we won’t become angry. Anger is usually related to one’s reaction to something or someone. It is controllable by teaching oneself new ways to handle “anger-provoking” situations, events, or people.
Anger is either projected outward towards others, or inwardly towards self. Outwardly projected anger is aggressive, contemptuous and can lead to explosiveness and rage. Externalized anger is destructive to relationships. Ventilating anger directly on people without some thoughtfulness is aggressive and typically benefits no one. One usually feels guilt, shame, or greater anger after such ventilation, and whatever provoked one’s anger usually doesn’t change.
Whether verbal or physical, anger tends to intensify once it begins to be expressed. There is a debate regarding the “catharsis of anger.” Some cognitive researchers feel that the ventilation of angry energy leads to an increase in anger, and the expression of the anger usually intensifies. Body-oriented and holistic therapists believe that acting out and releasing anger energy safely can reduce its grip on the individual, especially if the anger is suppressed, hidden or passive aggressive.
Inwardly directed anger causes depression or suppressed hostility. A hostile attitude is often the sign of an individual with chronic, unresolved anger. Unresolved anger is a block to our emotional growth, a sign of which is anger expressed in passive and/or aggressive ways.
Three Types of Anger
Three types of anger can be sorted out and identified as frustration anger, resentment anger, and defiance anger. You may find it helpful to identify how you experience each of them in your relationship.
When you experience your anger as frustration, you turn your anger inward upon yourself. If someone asks if you are angry, you are likely to deny it—although you might admit to being “angry at yourself.” You might be afraid you would be rejected if you express anger. However, if you block and deny your anger, it is likely to surface indirectly in a variety of aches and pains, fatigue, resistance to work or chores, forgetfulness, etc. Turning your anger inward on yourself may also result in depression. Feeling frustrated, you are likely to withdraw from emotional closeness or intimacy from your partner. You may be “nice”—too nice to allow yourself to be angry, but you find yourself wanting to get away from your partner so you can be yourself. After swallowing your anger for periods of time, you may feel an urge at times to break out into a rage. Meanwhile you are likely to vent your anger on your children, pets, or some other safe target.
When you experience your anger as resentment, you are likely to have a flair for finding a flaw in almost anything your partner thinks, says, or does, i.e., it will be too soon, too late, too much, too little, inappropriate, in poor taste, or whatever. Problems in your relationship will seem to be your partner’s fault and the solution is always to get your partner to change in some way. As a result, you are likely to put more energy into blaming your partner than in solving your problem. You may express your resentment directly, engaging in frequent hassles that solve nothing. Or you may collect and store your resentments for future use. Resentment anger pushes your partner away, preventing real emotional closeness.
When you experience your anger as defiance, you may experience an inner determination that says, “I’ll show you.” Your partner may try to cheer you up and reassure you with kisses and favors, but you lock in tighter to your anger. You may think to yourself: “Let him just try and make me feel better!” or “I’ll let him/her make up to me when I’m good and ready!” In this way, you wear your anger like a suit of armor that your partner cannot penetrate. You may not actually be aware of being angry at all. If your partner asks what’s wrong, you might respond (or turn away, thinking to yourself): “Well, if you don’t know, I’m certainly not going to tell you.” Any real communication or sharing of feelings is stonewalled. You don’t push your partner away and you don’t withdraw either; you simply armor yourself against any real contact. If anger pressure builds up, you vent your anger at the children or other safe targets.
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