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Despite the fact that anger is a completely natural emotion that we all experience from time to time, it can still be very unpleasant to deal with. Many times, people in anger have found to have impaired judgment and behave completely irrationally.
There are some forms of anger that are healthy and don’t cause too much emotional or physical damage. There are some forms, however, that pose more of a serious problem. Knowing about the various ways in which anger manifests itself in different people is the first step to understanding how to manage such strong emotions.
8 Different Forms Of Anger And How One Can Manage Them
Psychologists have attempted to categorize and label the different forms of anger. Here are 8 different forms that are widely agreed upon.
1. Chronic Anger
Chronic anger is usually defined by an ongoing ‘latent’ form of anger. This is often caused
by a strong feeling of resentment of life and of other people in general. Sometimes, this can also be caused by anger that’s directed at one’s self. This prolonged spell of anger is very unhealthy and puts tremendous stress on the immune system. Chronic anger is very closely linked to various mood disorders like extreme depression.
How To Manage: Take some time out to introspect and identify the underlying causes of your anger. This way you may be able to resolve the inner conflict that’s causing you so much anger by forgiving yourself and the people around you. Forgiveness is a powerful process and can help resolve a lot of inner pain and suffering.
2. Volatile Anger
Volatile anger comes in sudden spells out of nowhere and can be extremely explosive and intense. Most of the times, this is triggered by a wrong perception or an assumption, or a personal
annoyance. This is one of the more dangerous forms of anger that has the potential to lead to physical or verbal outbursts.
How To Manage: Identify all the signs and various physical symptoms that lead to a volatile outburst. Try putting various relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing) to use to prevent your anger from further escalating.
3. Judgemental Anger
This type of anger is usually caused by passing negative judgments on situations or other individuals and is once again, a form of loathing and resentment. Judgemental anger usually finds expression in the form of scathing, harshly critical or hurtful remarks directed that the source of anger.
How To Manage: Commit yourself to exploring different ways to perceive a situation or a person under different circumstances. Seeking another person’s insight into a matter can also be of help to make you see things differently.
4. Passive-Aggressive Anger
This type of anger is cleverly masked by the individual and very often shows itself in some very non-obvious ways. Sometimes, the individual may even be completely unaware of the fact that they are suffering from some repressed form of anger, and thus, can make this one of the most difficult types to identify and control. Many times, this kind of anger is expressed through avoidance and sarcasm, avoidance, or not carrying out responsibilities with maximum diligence, albeit unconsciously. For instance, a passive-aggressive employee may start under-performing as a way to lash out at his employer, without even being aware of the fact that he’s doing so until he is confronted about it.
How To Manage: Teach yourself assertive communication techniques, and begin to explore your underlying fear of confrontation using multiple ‘What if?’ scenarios. Once you’re able to develop your ability voice your frustrations, and confidently address your fears,
you will be more successful in having your needs met, not just on the personal but also on the professional front.
5. Overwhelmed Anger
This is an uncontrolled type of anger that one usually experiences in particular situations or circumstances that seem out of one’s control. This results in feelings of extreme hopelessness and frustration. Experiencing this type of anger is very common, especially when one has taken on too much work, or by a sudden turn of life events. Such circumstances overthrow us beyond the range of our usual stress-dealing capabilities.
How To Manage: It is vital to reach out for help if you find yourself experiencing frequent bouts of overwhelmed anger. Don’t be afraid to turn to your family, friends or colleagues for a word of advice, or to let them know that you need some help with some of your tasks, be it babysitting, or going grocery shopping
or taking a family member for medical appointments. This will help alleviate the potential sources of stress, and you will find yourself regaining a sense of behavioral and emotional control again.
6. Retaliatory Anger
This type of anger is usually directed at an individual or an organization so as to ‘take revenge’ for a perceived wrong on their behalf. For instance, this type of anger might be triggered by an insult, or by a company refusing to refund the money for faulty goods. This is also a dangerous type of anger and can set the ball rolling for actions of revenge.
How To Manage: Whether your habit of retaliatory anger is intentional or impulsive, it’s very important to stop and think before you act upon it. Try and ask yourself if your angry reaction will improve the situation, or only serve to worsen relationships. This way you can
choose to diffuse immediate conflict and can avoid the undesirable long-term consequences of revenge.
7. Self-Inflicted Or Self-Abusive Anger
This is anger that is directed towards oneself and may be triggered by annoyance for failing on a task or for being ‘weak’ or ‘incompetent’ in one’s own eyes. This can then manifest itself in the form of either emotional or physical self-harm or could result in more subtle symptoms like an eating disorder, self-sabotage, or self-deprecation.
How To Manage: Teach yourself to challenge and transform any self-defeating, negative thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing with the help of cognitive reframing techniques. Meditation can also help bring you to the present and can help you deal with any future impulses to engage in self-harming behavior.
8. Assertive Anger
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This is the most constructive form of anger expression. In this case, the individual channelizes his feelings of frustration or rage and uses them as a catalyst for bringing about positive changes in his life. This type of anger chooses to express itself in ways that can change the world or the environment around you into a better place, instead of avoiding confrontation, internalizing itself or showing itself in the form of verbal or physical outbursts.
How To Manage: Assertive anger is not something that ought to be managed. In fact, it is a very powerful motivator and can be used to overcome fear, fight injustice and achieve your desired life goals.