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“Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.” -American Psychological Association
There are healthy ways to express anger, including communicating in a non-aggressive and assertive manner.
Anger is a problem when it:
• Inspires vengeful thoughts or actions
• Interferes with your ability to work
• Is straining your relationships
• Is causing you to become violent to yourself or others
Suppression – When Anger is Bottled Up
When anger is not expressed, it can lead to cynical, critical and hostile tendencies. The anger is only communicated in a passive-aggressive manner. For example, the person seeks to “get back” at another in a manipulative and indirect way. This person is chronically irritable and negative.
Aggression – When Anger Blows Up
Anger may also be expressed in an out-of-control, frightening, and even violent manner. Aggressively angry individuals often experience a blind rage, in which they lash out verbally or physically without any restraint. This problem is accompanied by a low tolerance for frustration. The individual may react disproportionately to a negative event. The slightest inconvenience can result in an angry outburst. This individual may frequently discuss the unjust nature of the world, and may often feel as though they are being wronged.
A therapist will help target your triggers: the events, people, or situations that stimulate your anger. When you learn to recognize these triggers, you will apply tools learned in therapy to calm down, redirect, and express your anger in a healthy way.
American Psychological Association (2013). Controlling Anger Before it Controls You. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx#
Canadian Mental Health Association (2013). Feeling Angry. Retrieved from: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/feeling-angry/#.UVRiljewf78