I seem to have developed a temper from nowhere. It just explodes like a red mist, I can’t quite believe it. The slightest, oddest thing can set me off and I just shout and rage. I’m never physically violent, but it still shocks me because it’s just not like me at all. I’m worried that it’s all going to what’s going on, and how to stop it. My boyfriend is, understandably, not happy to be on the receiving end of it.
Hey EK. The tricky thing with anger is that it’s viewed so differently between people regarding what is a ‘healthy’ amount to display – indeed, if any at all! I’ve been brought up to show my anger to help clear that feeling and get back to a ‘normal’ state. My other half sees that as horrendously rude and prefers to never show anger.
As you identify, you don’t feel like an angry person, so
It ’s probably helpful to start by looking at what anger is actually seen as a positive thing. It ’s a protection mechanism. It helps us identify problems that are hurting us and is a problem solving emotion that releases adrenaline in our bodies and prepares us to right the wrongs we face.
There’s a difference between feeling angry and being angry. It’s important to identify when you’re feeling it and what it was that got you there. You can then do something about righting that wrong.
But always remember the rule that if there’s something you can do about it – do it. If not – accept it.
The course of this action could be a conversation or need to negotiate your way to a conclusion through shouting, threatening, a raised voice, intimidation or violence.
Other ways you might be displaying unhelpful angry behaviour could include inward aggression – taking it out on yourself emotionally or physically – or passive aggression – these is your only course of action then that’s when it becomes a problem.
From this point on it’s about working out why you anger in a clear, calm, way is not an option. It could be because it’s ingrained in you – there’s still debate about whether that’s down to your upbringing alone or whether it’s somehow baked in your genes.
At the end of the day, you’re in control of your mouth and your actions, so whatever the driver, there comes a point where you choose to act and display your anger in a particular way. And as they say, if it doesn’t work for you – change it!
Learning to control your anger will vary depending on the severity of the driver. Essentially it ’s ALL about communication. Either with a friend, your partner or even a diary describing events that affect you, how it makes you feel and communicating that so you stop the pressure from building. If you’re confused about why you’re feeling something and after talking it through, you may need to think about talking to someone who’s be through counselling or psychotherapy – all of which should start with a chat to your GP. Otherwise there are many anger management courses or helplines you could contact if you’re worried in the short-term about managing your temper.
To add, anger is also a symptom of sadness or depression for some. A build of frustration due to low self-esteem in one area of your life, say, feeling demotivated at work, could other areas of your life – perhaps with your partner. Frustratingly complicated, you don’t see a direct link, but again the answer to this is a lot of talking, because at some point you will discover what’s causing the anger. Good luck!