The Sunday News
Pastor Barbara Meck Silumbu
Anger, also known as rage, fury, temper is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. It is a reaction of tension and hostility aroused by a wide variety of real or imagined frustrations. It is a natural, instinctive response to threats that is the “flight or fight” and at times is necessary for our survival.
Modern psychologists view anger as a normal, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being and impact negatively on those around them.
Anger becomes a problem when you have trouble controlling it, causing you to say or do things you regret. Anger is a powerful emotion that can influence people’s thought patterns and behaviour choices. It can also cause physical symptoms. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, neither good nor bad.
Like any emotion, it conveys a message, telling you that a situation is upsetting, unjust, or threatening.
Anger can be a symptom of some mental illness for example depression, alcohol abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, grief and many others.
The symptoms of anger can be physical and emotional. Physical symptoms include, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, muscle tension and tingling sensations. Emotional symptoms before or after an episode of anger can include the following irritability, frustration, anxiety, rage, stress, feeling overwhelmed, guilt.
Types of anger are as follows, passive aggressive anger, explosive anger, hardened anger, vengeful anger, chronic anger, incidental anger and emphatic anger. Passive aggressive anger is an indirect expression of anger which can be subtle insults, stubbornness for example intentionally not finishing activities to punish someone or get them into trouble, or frustrate them.
Explosive anger can be a mental illness called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. It’s an explosive type of anger characterised by sudden episode of unwarranted disproportionate anger rage. This leads to fitted rage, hot temper, heated arguments, temper tantrums, property damage, insulting or threatening people.
The disorder causes social, economic dysfunction, that is losing a job, losing relationships, and the explosive episodes of anger have to happen three or more times a year.
Hardened anger is when one has problems forgiving others — hold grudges. This is hidden anger, underneath which creates bitterness, frustration, resentfulness, hatred and so on. It’s hard to let go of the anger, it pulls you down, makes it difficult for you to go on. It can make you ill for example blood pressure can go up. Vengeful anger is characterised by wanting to revenge or hurt someone that has hurt you.
Chronic anger is anger that you have been keeping for more than two months. You are generally angry, angry all the time, you are irritable, frustrated, there is no time when you are not angry. You are angry at everything and everybody, you can’t keep relationships, jobs etecetera.
Incidental anger is a healthy type of anger whereby you become angry at a particular event or incident. This type of anger helps you deal with the problem, it can motivate you without causing damage.
Empathetic anger is anger that one feels for someone that is being cheated or ill-treated. It’s a healthy form of anger as well.
Management of anger is to treat the underlying mental illness. Anger management skills training, psychotherapy and forgiveness therapy can be used among other treatment options. Anger management can also include one or more of the following: relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, progressive relation, cognitive behaviour therapy for depression, anxiety, or Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and medications, if you’re diagnosed with any of these conditions anger management classes, which can be taken in person, by phone, or online anger management exercises at home.
The writer is a Clinical Psychologist