Anger is a natural emotion which helps us to regulate energy and tension. It is necessary for self-protection and for the survival of our species. Anger is a physiological response affecting the heart-rate and adrenal system.The “fight or flight” reaction is triggered when, for example, we feel threatened, violated or unfairly treated.
If anger is hard to control it can have destructive consequences. It can harm relationships, affect our schooling or work, and damage our health.
When we use anger constructively, we assert ourselves and express our needs. When anger is expressed covertly, suppressed, redirected, or turned inward against ourselves, we are likely to be negatively affected.
Sometimes we might feel overly critical of a someone in our life. We are irritable and moody. We display behaviour which makes the relationship difficult. Sometimes we use anger intentionally to control people, or when we feel morally justified or self-righteous. Sometimes we use it defensively to protect ourselves from an anticipated reaction. We behave in negative ways not realising that under our anger lies feelings of anxiety, sadness, or rejection.
Anger may be a consequence of grief, loss, bullying, rejection, sexual tension, disappointment, alcohol, hormonal imbalance, feelings of failure and a host of physical or emotional causes.
The way we express anger varies and is largely culturally defined. In some families the expression of anger is not allowed. Expressing other emotions such as fear, sadness or anxiety may be more acceptable. Anger can therefore become repressed or channelled into behaviour which is more acceptable in the family.
If you find that your anger is volatile and difficult to control, it may be important to look at the underlying issues and triggers. We would explore these in therapy and look at ways to manage and control it.
When you understand and accept your anger, you can learn to use it in a healthy and safe way. You can use it to express yourself constructively. You can find other ways of meeting your needs.