Anger can take many forms, some are blatantly obvious and overt, others may be subtle or indirect. It can be outward like road rage or inward like depression or anxiety. It can be verbal or non-verbal. No matter how it manifests itself, anger often causes damage, either physical, emotional or relational. Understanding the way anger is being expressed can be a very important first step in learning how to control it.
Someone may express his anger by not being able to acknowledge the viewpoint of others, or perhaps seeing the worst in every person or situation, or perhaps by using excessive profanity. Another may be a perfectionist who finds it very difficult to relax, or who may be extremely hard on themselves or others.
Some are involved in road rage, some spend their time thinking of ways to get back at people who either have actually wronged them, or they believe that they have wronged them. Some walk around with huge scars of childhood physical or emotional abuse.
There are some who are verbally abusive to anyone that gets within range of their scathing remarks, and some are quick to rattle off a sarcastic or caustic remark, sometimes cleverly hidden in a witty response to a comment or action. Caustic humor can be an extremely effective way to express hidden anger.
Many of those who are angry and are disguising their anger through some of these methods are often not even aware that they are doing it. It is not always easy to admit one has an anger problem. Many times the cover up is so well practiced that they have completely convinced themselves that they do not have a problem.
Those that have the more obvious anger problems, may also have convinced themselves that they cannot change, or that the problem is not so bad, or may have tried to get help, only to find that the help they do get, doesn’t really work. Men in particular, often do not know how to ask for help, or they cannot admit they need help, or the help they were able to get was not effective for them or even made it worse. For example, one popular form of anger therapy involves acting out or expressing the anger by yelling or hitting something or performing some aggressive behavior in a controlled environment in an attempt to “release the pressure”. This may temporarily work in some cases, but for some that action may actually increase the potential to be even more aggressive.
Understand how you or someone you are involved in expresses anger can be the first step to acknowledging it and opening up the door to creating a plan to control it.