There’s the waitress who refuses to look in your direction. The oaf who drifts across the highway without using his blinker. And the cheerful, recorded voice that draws you deeper and deeper into voice-mail hell. The most minor annoyance can send us into a fury. But have you ever stopped to think why we get angry? What is anger, anyway? “Anger is a natural emotion,” says Charles D. Spielberger, PhD, a research professor of psychology at the University of South Florida who has studied anger for 25 years. “There is nothing abnormal about it.” Anger might be normal, but it does affect you physically. When you get enraged during a traffic jam or at your kid’s soccer game, your hormone levels increase, your breathing quickens, your pulse and blood pressure soar, you start to sweat, and your pupils dilate. Basically, your body is gearing up for action. This is the “fight” part of the “fight or flight” response. Spielberger says anger has an evolutionary advantage: “Fear and rage are common to animals, too, because it helps them to fight and survive.” The problem is that, nowadays, anger isn’t always so useful. Most of us don’t run into man-eating tigers standing in line at the DMV. The physical effects of anger on your body can be lasting. Some studies have shown a connection between anger and high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease. One study found that people highly prone to anger are three times as likely to have a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease as less angry people. So what’s the solution? Should you cork up your anger or regularly blow your stack? Experts say neither. Whether you hold it in or explode in a rage, frequent feelings of intense anger may pose the same health risks. The key is to make your anger constructive. Spielberger says that the first step is self-awareness. Don’t allow yourself to fly into a rage. Instead, be conscious of your anger. Stay in control. It’s the only way to figure out exactly what is making you angry. Once you can identify the real problem, you can try to solve it rationally instead of getting pointlessly furious. If you’re angry with someone, talk about it in an assertive, but never aggressive, way. If a certain situation sparks your anger, learn how to prepare for it — or better yet, avoid it — in the future. By R. Morgan Griffin http://men.webmd.com/features/what-does-anger-do-to-your-health
Anger is an acid that
can do more harm
to the vessel in which
it is stored than
to anything on
which it is poured.
The energy of self-indulgent anger is contagious just like a nasty virus. It can infect your family though one member and be passed on to the others. Each person is affected by the anger in their social system and acts it out in their own unique way, whether they cower in silence with resentment or act out their anger on others. Anger is a major side effect of the chaos in the home and vice versa. The research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows that the survivors of traumatic events are left with anger. The universal desire to survive during situations of threat are linked with high physiological arousal and anger. The hormones, increased muscle tension, and pounding heart are all activated to produce the resources to “fight or flight” to deal with the threat. Children learn this survival mode of reactive stress and hyper alertness when they are traumatized. Anger can become an automatic response and a protective mechanism, which “revs” up the body to deal with threat or perceived threat. Even when there is no emergency, the person can go into full activation of anger and become ready to fight. Children from angry families most often pick up anxiety, frustration and agitation that flavor how they see life. The research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows that early trauma in life interferes with the ability to regulate emotion, which then leads to excessive anger, fear and rage. This inability to deal with frustration and anxiety can lead to extreme out busts of aggression. Or it can surface as icy cold hostility as a means of controlling other using looks of disgust to convey displeasure. From “So You Love An Angry Person” by Lynne Namka, Ed. D. http://www.angriesout.com/family2.htm
How much more grievous
are the consequences
of anger than the causes of it.
Strong feelings are almost always the excuse used by those who behave inappropriately. The abusive mother who strikes her son across the face can always excuse herself, saying “I was angry”. Actually, she was angry at her husband, but she lacks the courage to confront him so she hits her son instead. It may be true that her anger was the source of the blow, but feeling angry and striking a child are not the same thing. The response is arbitrary. Feelings cannot be changed by force of will. How we respond to feelings, however, can be changed by force of will. Any response is learned. With time, effort, and practice we can unlearn negative responses. A father who is upset from a bad day at the office may cool his anger by jogging around the block. Enablers can avoid sabotaging themselves and their families by acknowledging feelings and accurately identifying their source. They are then free to decide on an appropriate response, rather than giving way to an automatic response which may be misplaced and destructive. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
Anger makes you smaller,
while forgiveness forces you
to grow beyond what you are.
To succeed, a relationship must have trust. Without ample trust, anxiety begins. When anxiety gets so strong one can’t stand it, blame arises. Then the great killer of relationships jumps in: BLAME. When we’re angry or upset at someone, blaming is the most common way to vent our feelings. We dump our junk onto on them and often stir up the past. The other person usually responds back the same way. Things escalate from there. It’s not easy, but stating feelings or complaints without anger, criticizing or accusing is best. The old adage of “counting to ten” before speaking when angry is good advice.
If you get upset when the toast burns,
what are you going to do
when your house burns down?
In the past I used anger as a way of pushing people away. Anyone I focused my angst on rarely knew what hit them. I never physically abused anyone, I just bellowed. To control people and keep them from getting too close I “scared them off” intentionally. Today I know my behavior came primarily from stuffed feelings about unresolved childhood issues I had buried deeply, but was still upset about. Once I was able to get a clear view of my behavior, working past it became doable. Questioning one’s behavior is often where getting better begins.
Anger is fear turned inside out.