Anger makes you right for a moment
I’m on a roll here. First sadness, then disgust now anger, the third emotion in this series of physically embedded emotions we carry across all cultures, universal experiences. I regard them as the six primary lessons.
When you get to the lists of different types of anger don’t immediately think, ”Ah yes, they got angry that way.” Or ,”Yup she’s like that”. Be honest and think, “When have I done that?” And then don’t beat yourself around the head for being angry just acknowledge that even the worst anger is to protect yourself or what you regard as yours from harm. It’s very natural and teaches us what is important to us. We can push it to extremes that’s when problems arise and that is what we as people need to address. So Anger 101.
Anger is an emotion related to your interpretation of events, you see yourself as been offended, wronged or denied and to undo that you retaliate. Anger is a normal emotion that involves a strong, uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation. Anger has many physical signs, such as, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and nor-adrenaline.
Some view anger as part of the fight or flight brain response to a perceived threat of harm. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately and stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force. Anger can have many physical, emotional and mental consequences.
The external expression of anger can be found in your facial expressions, body language, physiological responses, and at times in public acts of aggression. Humans and animals for example make loud sounds, attempt to look physically larger, bare their teeth and stare. The behaviours associated with anger are designed to warn aggressors to stop their threatening behaviour. Rarely does a physical altercation occur without the prior expression of anger by at least one of the participants. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of “what has happened to them,” psychologists point out that an angry person can be very well be mistaken because anger causes a massive loss in self-monitoring capacity and objectivity.
Facial Expressions of Anger
- Eyebrows lowered and pulled together to form wrinkles on the skin of the forehead, frowning
- the upper eyelids are raised (glaring)
- tensed and straightened lower eyelids
- tension and thinning in lips and mouth
- pressed lips with a slight pushing up of the chin point or open mouth vocalising
- the chin point is pushed up.
What is anger?
Anger is an emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage. It is a feeling that is accompanied by biological changes in your body. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure rise and stress hormones are released. This can cause you to shake, become hot and sweaty and feel out of control.
When people have angry feelings, they often behave in angry ways too. Angry behaviours include yelling, throwing things, criticising, ignoring, storming out and sometimes withdrawing and doing nothing.
Anger can often lead to violence if not properly controlled and some people use anger as an excuse for being abusive towards others. Violence and abusive behaviour gives someone power and control over another person usually through creating fear.
Passive anger can be expressed in the following ways:
- Dispassion, or indifference such as giving the cold shoulder or phony smiles, looking unconcerned, sitting on the fence while others sort things out, dampening feelings with substance abuse, overeating, oversleeping, not responding to another’s anger, frigidity, indulging in sexual practices that depress spontaneity and make objects of participants, giving inordinate amounts of time to machines, objects or intellectual pursuits, talking of frustrations but showing no feeling.
- Evasiveness, such as turning your back in a crisis, avoiding conflict, not arguing back, becoming phobic.
- Ineffectualness, such as setting yourself and others up for failure, choosing unreliable people to depend on, being accident prone, underachieving, sexual impotence, expressing frustration at insignificant things but ignoring serious ones.
- Obsessive behaviour , such as needing to be inordinately clean and tidy, making a habit of constantly checking things, over-dieting or overeating, demanding that all jobs be done perfectly.
- Psychological manipulation, such as provoking people to aggression and then patronizing them, provoking aggression but staying on the sidelines, emotional blackmail, false tearfulness, feigning illness, sabotaging relationships, using sexual provocation, using a third party to convey negative feelings, withholding money or resources.
- Secretive behaviour, such as stockpiling resentments that are expressed behind people’s backs, giving the silent treatment or under the breath mutterings, avoiding eye contact, putting people down, gossiping , anonymous complaints, poison pen letters, stealing and conning.
- Self-blame, such as apologizing too often, being overly critical, inviting criticism.
- Self-sacrifice, such as being overly helpful, making do with second best, quietly making long-suffering signs but refusing help, or lapping up gratefulness.
The symptoms of aggressive anger are:
- Bullying , such as threatening people directly, persecuting, pushing or shoving, using power to oppress, shouting, driving someone off the road, playing on people’s weaknesses.
- Destructiveness, such as destroying objects, harming animals, destroying a relationship, reckless driving, substance abuse .
- Grandiosity, such as showing off, expressing mistrust, not delegating, being a sore loser, wanting centre stage all the time, not listening, talking over people’s heads, expecting kiss and make-up sessions to solve problems.
- Hurtfulness, such as physical violence, verbal abuse, biased or vulgar jokes, breaking a confidence, using foul language, ignoring people’s feelings, willfully discriminating, blaming, punishing people for unwarranted deeds, labelling others.
- Manic behaviour, such as speaking too fast, walking too fast, working too much and expecting others to fit in, driving too fast, reckless spending.
- Selfishness, such as ignoring others’ needs, not responding to requests for help, queue jumping.
- Threats, such as frightening people by saying how you could harm them, their property or their prospects, finger pointing, fist shaking, wearing clothes or symbols associated with violent behaviour, tailgating, excessively blowing a car horn, slamming doors.
- Unjust blaming, such as accusing other people for your own mistakes, blaming people for your own feelings, making general accusations.
- Unpredictability, such as explosive rages over minor frustrations, attacking indiscriminately, dispensing unjust punishment, inflicting harm on others for the sake of it, using alcohol and drugs, illogical arguments.
- Vengeance, such as being over-punitive, refusing to forgive and forget, bringing up hurtful memories from the past.
I’m sure you all have personal stories about people who got angry with you, from parents to partners. Experiences where you watched a person’s face distort with rage and were frightened or similarly enraged. Think back to when you in turn were angry, for whatever reason. There you stood for one moment in time, self-righteous beyond anyone’s right to contradict you. Did you for that nano second feel powerful? When you are challenged you can feel put down then along comes compensating anger and you feel powerful again. Reaction, reaction and a mini war is evoked.
Most of us are particularly fond of blame. This is a wonderful way of deflecting responsibility. Young children at times have a knee jerk reaction to accusations, “No wasn’t me.” “It was him.” Fear at home, work, the beginning of our personalities distortion, fear of dire (real or imagined) consequences. Fear begets anger.