Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you are at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.
However, anger becomes a problem only when you don’t manage it in a healthy way.
- Passive Aggression: Many don’t like to admit that they are angry, because they don’t like confrontation – this is called passive aggression. This comes out in things like becoming silent when you are angry, sulking, procrastinating (putting stuff off you need to do), and pretending “everything is fine”. Passive aggression comes from a need to be in control. Want a hand with dealing with it? Read ahead about ‘assertive anger’.
- Open Aggression: On the other hand, many people have a tendency to lash out in anger and rage, becoming physically or verbally aggressive and can often times hurt themselves or others. This is called Open Aggression. This comes out in fighting, bullying, blackmailing, accusing, shouting, bickering, sarcasm and criticism. Open aggression comes from a need to be in control. Want a hand with dealing with open aggression? Read ahead about ‘assertive anger’. Sometimes the anger can be taken out on property or even on ourselves – see the section on self-harm.
- Assertive Anger: The healthy way to deal with anger is by being controlled and confident, talking and listening, and open to help in dealing with the situation. This Assertive anger can help relationships to grow. It means thinking before you speak, being confident in how you say it, yet open and flexible to the ‘other side’. It means being patient; not raising your voice; communicating how you are feeling emotionally, and really trying to understand what others are feeling. When you deal with anger assertively, you demonstrate that you are mature and care about your relationships and yourself.
According to the well-respected Mayo Clinic there are many common triggers for anger, such as losing your patience, feeling as if your opinion or efforts aren’t appreciated, and injustice. Other causes of anger include memories of traumatic or enraging events and worrying about personal problems.
If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.
When you talk to a prospective therapist, tell her or him that you have problems with anger that you want to work on, and ask about their approach to anger management.
Please call, email, or use this form to request information or an appointment.
Metro Counselling – Surrey
10318 Whalley Blvd, Unit 3
Surrey, BC V3T 4H4
Metro Counselling – Vancouver
1055 West Hastings
Email: [email protected]