Anger is like other emotions in our set of naturally occurring feelings. Contrary to myths about anger, the reality is that anger is a naturally occurring and very healthy emotion. Just imagine someone is not giving you your rights, treating you poorly, damaging your property, or causing harm to your loved ones. In such cases, it is not only natural to be angry but also essential to fight against wrongdoings. If anger is absent in your set of emotions, then it is definitely an abnormality, irrespective of what other people tell you.
Since we have established that anger is a healthy emotion, you might wonder why people try so hard to control it. It is important to note that any sentiment expressed out of proportion to the stimulus is always unhealthy.
When you start acting out without any significant trigger, it can be a problem for you and the people around you. People look for ways to control their anger to save themselves from unnecessary anger outbursts.
On a journey to understand anger, it is essential to understand its triggers, roots, and episodes. Let’s start with understanding triggers.
Triggers: The Spark that Starts the Fire
You might be familiar with the trigger of a gun. When the trigger is pulled, the bullet is fired; it is unstoppable. The shot might cause more damage than expected, and since it has been fired, there is no going back, and you have to live with the consequences. Now let’s understand the anger from the perspective of triggers.
A trigger is basically a situation or a person that generates an urge in you to unleash your wrath and cause destruction in the form of physical or verbal abuse or property damage. Unfortunately for people with anger issues, even the most minor triggers are intolerable, and their reactions are more intense than the situation actually requires.
An out-of-proportion reaction to a trigger makes it abnormal and problematic. If people around you often say that your response is more intense than required in situations, which happen frequently, then you need to get your anger under control.
People with insight into their short temperaments realize soon after acting out that they overreacted. But just like a bullet fired from a gun, that destruction is inevitable, and once you have expressed anger, you cannot change the past.
Roots: The Underlying Causes
As you have understood triggers, you need to know that the level at which a particular person or situation creates a response in you depends on the processing in your mind. Some people might react furiously to a problem, while others may shrug their shoulders and continue their lives as if nothing had happened.
Sometimes people just have an unhealthy reaction pattern, also referred to as a short temperament. Destructive patterns of reaction are often developed throughout life and mostly during childhood. When a child shows temper tantrums, and you give them what they are asking for, it actually reinforces aggressive patterns.
An underlying disorder like intermittent explosive disorder can be the reason for aggressive episodes. Sometimes a trigger has more to do with you than with the people or situations you face. For instance, your partner tells you that you didn’t work up to the mark yesterday. Before you act out, you need to stop and think if the person is objectively correct.
Why is that statement making you furious, and why do you care? Such a statement might make you feel incompetent. Sometimes our anger is just a mask that we wear over our other emotions. For instance, an incident makes you feel worthless, guilty, or jealous, so you act out with anger as it makes you look stronger.
An anger episode is an event in which you act furiously and physically or verbally abuse other people. Sometimes you may not harm any person but instead damage their property to make them feel bad.
People with anger issues sometimes internalize their anger and cause self-harm instead of hurting others. Considering the situation, if you can recall events to which you overreacted, that might be an anger episode.
A careful examination of your temper tantrums can only be done if you understand the triggers, the root of your intense emotions, and the episodes in which you expressed them.