5 Signs Your Anger Is Getting Out Of Control
Steve spends an hour driving to work every morning-sometimes more when the traffic is bad. Once he gets to work things are not much better-a project manager for a large building company, his work day is hectic. Yesterday his painting contractors did not turn up. Today his electrician hasn't shown.
It’s only the start of the day and Steve’s anger is building up. He has already yelled at his second in charge for not checking if the electrician was reliable. He knows that he needs to apologise for that. He is also worried about the way he spoke to Tracey (his wife) last night-calling her “useless” and saying “she didn't care about the family” when they started to argue about Steve's long work hours.
On top of all of this, Steve is dreading the drive home-another hour in traffic. He didn't see his 2 year old son Jack this morning. Tracey has just texted to say that Jack is sick. This probably means another sleepless night. Steve knows he needs to urgently get his anger under control, but he is just not sure how.
Is All Anger Bad?
Mainstream culture sometimes oversimplifies the idea of anger-with anger being demonized as bad in all cases. In reality, not all anger is negative. There are times when anger can be constructive, such as when anger alerts us to something we need to address or when our personal boundaries are being threatened.
For example, Steve has every right to be angry that a contractor did not turn up at work or if he is being taken advantage of in some other way.
Someone who never feels angry runs the risk of being taken advantage of (or having their boundaries exploited). This can particularly happen to women-who are often taught to suppress anger. Never expressing anger then can be as negative as the destructive effects of over the top anger-the trick is to know which is which!
While some instances of anger are useful and constructive, more often than not anger gets out of control for some people. This can result in negative and destructive actions (such as yelling at others, swearing, putting them down, breaking objects, throwing things, hitting people and so forth).
At times anger may not even be constructive or destructive, but simply misdirected. For example, Steve often gets angry at other drivers on his way home from work. Does this help him in any way? He would answer “No”. In reality, Steve’s anger just winds himself up-meaning that when he arrives home he is more tense and grumpy than he wants to be. He wants to be a happy partner and father-but often his own anger stops him from being this way.
So, while anger is not automatically a bad thing, if your anger is making you and others unhappy, your anger is a problem. This problem can become more and more difficult to control if we lack basic anger management skills. These skills can be learned easily-for example my Anger Management Made Simple course teaches you all you need to know about anger management in 7 simple and easy to watch videos. If you think you have an anger management issues, then Anger Management Made Simple is for you.
5 Unmistakeable Signs that Your Anger is Out of Control
1. Your Body Is Telling You
Like all emotions, anger is located in your body. For many people it is their physical signs that tell them that they have an issue with anger. The warning signs of excessive anger are similar to the warning signs of excessive stress or tension and include:
- headaches (or a feeling of pressure in the sinuses)
- a “tightness” in your chest
- your heart pounding
- sweating, tingling, flushing of the skin
- muscle tension
- sudden fatigue
- increase in blood pressure
- reduced peripheral vision
- difficulty processing what others are saying
Needless to say, any of these signs are a clear indication that you are holding excessive anger.
2. You Finally Hear What You Are Saying
Have you ever stopped while you are feeling anger and just listened to yourself? Chances are that what you would have heard is not pleasant. There are many verbal signs that your anger is an issues for you. People who experience excessive anger often:
- shout at others
- swear at others
- use put-downs, criticism and sarcasm
- belittle others
- blame others for everything
- get defensive
- go silent.
3. Your Lack Of Patience Is Telling You
Have you had less patience with others recently? Maybe you have started to lose your temper at others, where in the past you would have taken things in your stride? Do you find yourself complaining more and more about things like traffic, winding yourself up in the process? Do even the most trivial of incidents set you off?
A change in your level of patience is a clear indication that anger may be getting the better of you. Many people report that their anger seems to build and build-and then there is an explosion at a seemingly minor event. If you notice that this is happening to you it is important that you take action on it before it is too late.
4. You Are Withdrawing From Situations
For some people anger is experienced in a passive way. A person may find himself or herself overwhelmed by frustration or anger-but they do not know how to express it in a useful way. At times these people withdraw from situations. They may refuse to talk to others. They may remove themselves from situations. On the surface they are calm, but inside their head they are raging.
While it can be useful to remove yourself from what feels like an anger-inciting situation-this can also be a negative strategy for some people. If you are withdrawing from situations but remaining angry in your head, you are likely to benefit from learning the strategies to manage your anger that are taught in other places on this website (link to store).
5. Others Are Telling You
As painful as it can be, feedback from other people that you may need to deal with your anger can be a valuable gift.
Consider Steve for example. This is not the first time that anger has been building out of control for him. In fact, Tracey has asked him several times before to find an anger management programme. She knows that Steve sometimes loses his temper and is afraid of the effect that this may have on Jack. As a counsellor with over 20 years experience helping people with anger I have seen many people who have left asking for help too late. The effect of this is almost always to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to himself and others.
If other people around you are suggesting you may need to take an anger management programme they are likely to be right-no matter how painful it is to hear this. Often people who love you—family, friends, co-workers, etc may literally afraid of you. Does anyone you know:
- avoid you?
- state that they feel like they are “walking on eggshells” around you?
- describe you as unpredictable?
- feel threatened by you?
If so, these are clear-cut signs that something has to change.
What Causes Out of Control Anger?
In reality, this is a trick question. Anything can cause the symptoms described above-this includes work stress, financial pressure, having too little time to get things done, other drivers on the road, and so forth.
The deeper issues behind out of control anger are more difficult to recognize. Anger is a complex emotion-and often a response to other feelings such as hurt, being let down, feeling powerless or afraid and many other feelings. Getting to the root causes of your anger will help guide you get back into a state of control.
If out of control anger is a problem then tune into yourself. Ask yourself what’s going on and make an honest appraisal. In some cases, out of control behavior results from not taking care of yourself. Get into a routine of good eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.
Finally, and probably most importantly, remember that you are not alone. It is important to sort out issues of anger before they impact your partner or children. Ask for help. It is surprisingly simple to change issues of anger-and perhaps the best ways can be found on this site. Is it time to change your issues of anger? Taking my Anger Management Made Simple course is a major step to resolving your issues of anger-regardless of how bad you perceive these issues to be.
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