Updated: Jun 14
But with me, when anger surfaces I'm unable to express it. I hold on to it like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter morning, nursing it. My displaced sense of ethics and values of life does not allow me to let go of anger and, it just simmers inside me.
I read this quote somewhere and it has remained in the quotes compartment of my brain for posterity.
"You actually made yourself angry because of the way you perceived the situation or because of how you chose to respond to it".
In my dictionary of emotions, anger is a healthy emotion. Most of us feel it on and off the rest are constantly bogged down by it. Our behavior, the choice of words, our body language, and the consequence that we face because of anger is what makes it a negative or ugly emotion.
All around me, I see people expressing their anger, speaking out, showcasing their aggressive side, unabashedly throwing things, breaking things, using the choicest of abusive and derogatory words and, then moving on in life unfazed. But with me, when anger surfaces I'm unable to express it. I hold on to it like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter morning, nursing it. My displaced sense of ethics and values of life does not allow me to let go of anger and, it just simmers inside me. When it does come up, all hell breaks loose. I don't scream or shout..hmm maybe sometimes but, most of my anger is expressed by shutting down communication - verbal and non-verbal & my body language is stiff and unapproachable.
While studying to become a counselor, I chanced upon an interesting article describing different forms of anger from antiloneliness.com.
Probably this narration and share can help you identify the type of anger you practice.
So, here goes the many faces of anger.
They never express their anger, as they consider it selfish and unkind.
They find fault in themselves if they feel angry.
They protect others by taking the blame.
By suppressing their anger, they end up with a lot of resentment, then an explosion of anger, and then guilt.
They express anger in subtle ways, non-verbal ways (facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, eye contact) which they purposely indulge in.
When asked what is wrong? They respond with "Nothing". Rings a bell?
The people around them always feel that they need to tiptoe around them.
Their judging mode is always on & they are strict with others. You will constantly hear them say - you are not doing things right or you are not good enough. Threats, yelling, putting people down is second nature to them.
Their anger is a distraction from their inner critic. They find it easy to focus on someone else's mistakes other than their own.
People are intimidated and most times avoid them, making them lonely beings.
The Self Soother
They escape their feelings especially anger, through social media, alcohol, sex, shopping, religious rituals, food, work, or drugs.
Self-soothing habits are related to a feeling of emptiness, feeling of not being heard, not getting attention & they fail to understand that ignoring these feelings will not make them go away.
Their anger is the only way to numb all other feelings. Behind the anger, they hide sadness, loneliness, shame, fear.
The angrier they feel, the more vulnerable they feel.
It's difficult for them to control their anger because of all the accumulated burden it carries.
Constantly on a complaining mode to benefit from sympathetic listeners.
Interestingly the naggers don't confront the person they are annoyed with.
Avoiding their anger makes them avoid the situation or the responsibility that will follow.
Nothing ever gets resolved.
These are the ones who rationalize every situation, to eventually not feel anger.
They believe that anger is a matter of not having self-control & it's not cool or okay to be angry.
They are always fine and do not express any uncomfortable feelings.
They intimidated others and make others feel bad about their vulnerability and their insecurities.
They feel superior, special and therefore feel entitled to their anger, even to people who treat them with kindness.
When things go wrong, they turn it around into someone else's fault.
They explain their anger, use words explaining what triggered them without being aggressive.
They set boundaries.
They are patient and, they focus on what they need.
They respect people & themselves and are open to feedback from others while constantly focusing on self-awareness exercises.
Some anger management techniques I practice consciously. Many miles to go before I can master it.
I constantly write down what are my anger trigger buttons - words, action, body language, situations.
I try to listen & feel the sensations in my body when I'm about to get angry. Here is what I feel - my back or underarms start to sweat, I start feeling flushed, tears well up, I can feel my facial muscles looking cruel!
Most times before I lash out at someone I consciously try to engage in a self debate over the cause of the matter. I try to calm myself down by walking away from the situation, drinking water, counting backward from 100 to 1, listening to music, or taking a walk. There are times when I've allowed myself to let my tears flow in silence & this has helped me be reasonable and understanding.
I spend a lot of time after walking away, deciding how to handle the cause of my anger and the person involved. I must admit though many a time, I have failed and lashed back with a vengeance because when the overthinking mode is on, I bring out old stories at add on to the current one.
The goal here is not never to feel angry. The goal here is to understand the anger and choose healthy ways to respond to it.
Written By - Sheeca Ganapathy
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