You’re driving down the highway and a driver cuts in front of you. Your immediate reaction is to blare your horn and shout obscenities. Road rage is a term used to describe someone expressing their anger while driving and it’s one of many examples of anger.
There are a variety of situations that can trigger anger. Here are a few anger issues symptoms to look out for.
Common Anger Issues Symptoms
1. Silent and invisible anger
When most people think about anger they imagine verbal and physical outbursts. However, anger manifests in many different ways including a silent and invisible expression. The phrase “it makes my blood boil” accurately describes how anger can feel.
You could be fuming mad internally, but on the surface, you appear normal. Anger, if never addressed in a healthy way, can begin as a silent build-up of emotions. Like a volcano, it lays dormant under the surface until one day it erupts unexpectedly.
2. Aggressive anger
Aggression is the typical symptom that comes to mind when anger is mentioned. Think of a toddler’s temper tantrum. They pinch, hit, scream, slap, punch, throw, slam and stomp. Those tantrums don’t always go away as the transition to adulthood happens.
If anger isn’t properly directed and managed it can cause harm to yourself and others. Counseling provides a place to talk about and examine what exactly is causing the anger. If anger isn’t being talked about, it’s being expressed instead.
You can think of anger like a water bottle. Each situation that frustrates or angers us adds a drop to the water bottle. Eventually, if the water is never released it becomes too full and overflows. In the end, it’s usually something that doesn’t normally frustrate us that ends up causing the overflow.
It’s not until someone snaps that others pay attention. It’s often hard to see what’s bubbling under the surface until it has already boiled over. Anger is like an iceberg.
Above the surface of the water, only a portion of the ice is visible. But below the water, lies the part of the ice that is unseen. This is the other feelings besides anger that create the bulk of the iceberg that’s invisible. These feelings can range from guilt to embarrassment and stress.
Anger, whether silent or screaming, can be brutal. Learning to communicate your feelings of anger is the key to normalizing and neutralizing the power anger has. By discussing what you remember and how it made you feel you are integrating the right (emotional) and the left (logical) hemispheres of the brain. This helps you to regain control of your anger instead of allowing anger to dominate you.
If we only look at anger when someone is in the middle of being angry, we will never understand their anger fully. Whether sitting with a 4-year-old who has constant tantrums or an ex-convict who recalls having blackout rages, the conversations are similar.
A counselor might ask, “What do you remember?” In digging deeper the conversation might shift to, “Where did you first start to feel the anger in your body?” Taking the time to understand and examine your anger in order to discover root issues will help you heal.
3. Self-focused Versus Others-focused Anger
People don’t always associate anger with depression, but if you dissect the thought process of someone living with depression, you will often find signs of anger turned inward.
Thoughts like, “I’m worthless” or “I’m not good enough,” can become repeated thoughts in the mind. If these thoughts are left bottled up, it can turn into a belief that life is not worth living anymore or everybody is better off without you around. Self-hatred can lead to suicide.
The opposite of this is homicide. Homicide is when anger towards another person builds to the point where murdering that person seems justified. Others-focused anger takes on various forms including aggravated assault, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, and terrorism. Both self-focused and others-focused anger is rooted in deep feelings of anger that originated somewhere within.
Anger is a normal emotion. How you channel that anger is what matters most. Anger that is left unchecked, can have disastrous effects. Feeling anger can be helpful because it is a gateway to identifying and uncovering other thoughts and emotions. Christian counseling is just one way to begin a journey of handling your anger in healthy ways. If you struggle with anger and its symptoms, Christian counseling offers a safe place to experience freedom.
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