Those who were told in childhood to avoid anger may never come to know what their anger is all about. Thus, they fear the emergence of angry feelings and when their anger is triggered, they may find themselves out of control. Indeed, for those who are unfamiliar with anger, the likelihood of catapulting into rage becomes a real possibility. When things are at their most extreme, people can get hurt, damaging words can be spoken, and property can be destroyed. When people rage, they often want to overwhelm the other person who made them angry – but they fail to understand that the consequences of raging will generally backfire on them. They lose credibility and respect in the long run, and there may even be legal consequences.
Anger directed toward others can also express itself in various forms of behavior, such as :
– Verbally abusing, berating and lecturing other people
– Holding grudges
– Manipulating others to get what you want
– Using sarcasm to show your superiority
– Harboring vengeful thoughts
– Refusing to see your part in a problem and placing the blame on another person or a situation
– Using the silent treatment
– Using unfair tactics on others and catching them off guard (passive aggression)
– Displacing anger on those who are weaker, but not the real cause of the anger
The way we handle anger in adulthood has much to do with the strategies we learned in our earlier years, as well as the role-modeling we were exposed to. Some people feel that venting their anger will dissipate it, but research argues against this myth. Venting anger unproductively usually just increases the probability of getting angrier.
Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT
San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.