There Are 5 Common Anger Styles. Which One Is Yours?
Anger gets a bad rap. However, most mental health experts would agree that it is actually healthy. As clinical psychologist and author Harriet Learner writes in her book The Dance of Anger, "Anger is a signal and worth hearing." But sometimes we hear the signal and channel it in ways that misinterpret what is actually going on, what made things worse and ruined relationships. So if we understand how we normally respond to anger, we can figure out why our antennae are aligned in the first place. And while a person can experience any number of styles of anger, here are the five most common, including how to spot them and what to do to make your communication effective and healthy.
1. Aggressive and hostile anger
In her book Honor Your Anger, psychotherapist and anger expert Beverly Engel says that people with aggressive anger tend to express anger in “direct but powerful ways” in order to control people and situations, which can manifest in it, “no To take no for an answer. “This means using techniques to get others to accept feelings of guilt or to withdraw. Per angels, signs of aggressive anger are sarcasm, humiliation, defeat, complaints, threats, and abuse. Sounds bad right? But here's the thing: we're all programmed to feel that type of anger at moments when we feel threatened. But those who have a predominantly aggressive and hostile anger style often find their adrenaline in scenarios that aren't really threatening at all. In return, they actually put others at risk.
Example: After a day that just wiped you out, you come home and make dinner for the family. But after you've eaten everything you've cooked, the kids and your husband leave the table without helping to clean anything. So march into the TV room, take the remote control out of your husband's hand and slap it on the floor, let the batteries roll under the couch and scare your partner and kids. "I've made dinner and I don't clean it up alone!" you scream the result? Your partner and children help but are stunned and traumatized.
Experience aggressive anger? For one - great job of realizing it instead of denying it. There may be an ugly flaw in your personality that you want to brush under the rug, but if you don't acknowledge it, you can't address it. Make an appointment with a psychologist - or use an app like TalkSpace - to understand where he's coming from and how to turn that aggressive anger into healthy anger. In the meantime, try to breathe in squares. Brené Brown swears by the mindfulness technique of staying calm and focused. In fact, it has been shown to lower the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
2. Passive anger
Passive anger is avoidant anger. It is also what Lerner calls the “nice lady” syndrome: “In situations that could realistically provoke anger or protest, we remain silent - or become weepy, self-critical or“ hurt ”. When we feel angry, we keep to ourselves to avoid the possibility of open conflict. “This lack of expression, however, takes its toll. Lerner points out that when our energies are focused on protecting another person or maintaining a relationship instead of attending to our own needs, we lose self-esteem (also known as de-selfing). In fact, Lerner says, "The more we are 'nice' that way, the more we accumulate a storehouse of unconscious anger and anger." In other words, if you never bring up what you are angry about, you become a ticking time bomb.
Example: After a day that just wiped you out, you come home and make dinner for the family. But after you've eaten everything you've cooked, the kids and your partner will leave the table without helping to clean anything. You're angry but you start clearing everything up and your anger turns into guilt - now you feel guilty for being angry with them for not helping. After all, your partner is the breadwinner and your children face the pressures of school and homework. You spend the next hour and a half cleaning up dinner. When your partner calls from the TV room, "Hon, do you need help?" They answer: “No! Absolutely OK!"
Experience aggressive anger? While passive anger may not be as directly harmful to those around you, it can be corrosive to your self-esteem and language. You should be able to express your anger in a productive way, and maybe that starts with journaling. A journal is a safe place for you to express yourself without the feedback you feared. As you work through your thoughts and feelings, check whether you can personally convey them to your loved ones with "I" statements ("I feel", "My concern is ...", "I want to ...") If you feel the feeling have that you can't, it is definitely time to speak to a mental health professional about developing productive ways to share your feelings.
3. Passive aggressive anger
It's the emotional paradox that keeps recurring. Unlike having aggressive anger on your face, passive aggressive anger is given off indirectly. Passive-aggressive people don't necessarily want to avoid conflict, but neither do they want to be blown up or lose their coolness. As Engel writes, this style of anger could manifest itself through "silent treatment, withdrawal of affection and attention, clapping, clattering and refusal to cooperate". All of these methods are affective, but still secret. It's almost like incognito anger - it's definitely there, you can feel its presence, but you can't always see it. In a way, passive aggressive anger is similar to gas light. You do one thing but say another and destabilize your goal. It may seem harmless, but Dr. Andrea Brandt, a marriage and family therapist, writes for Greater Good Magazine: “Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to reach a solution and a deal because the anger always smoulders and never rises to the surface. "
Example: After a day that just wiped you out, you come home and make dinner for the family. But after you've eaten everything you've cooked, the kids and your partner will leave the table without helping to clean anything. Furious that they would leave all of this work for you, you start the process while muttering, "I can't believe this." From the TV room your children ask: "What can you not believe, mom?" And you answer “nothing” and hide any leftovers your kids and partner discussed the next day for packing for lunch.
Experiencing passive-aggressive anger? Just because it's passive doesn't mean it's harmless - to you or your relationships. If you're bottling up anger and disguising it as something else, try the opposite: speak to the elephant in the room. And not about text that can be a minefield for passive attackers. (A study from Brigham Young University found that women in relationships who try to resolve differences or use text messages to excuse themselves tend to report higher levels of unhappiness.) Try "I" statements instead. These are phrases that start with "I feel ..." that will help you get the ball rolling. Also, it's probably a good idea to turn to a mental health expert who can help you turn your anger into something positive.
Simon Grant, often confused with passive-aggressive anger, explains in his book Anger Management that projective-aggressive anger is when you project your anger onto someone else in order to get that person to react to you or their anger for you to express. Jedi trick? It's actually less of a magical act and more of deep-seated emotional gymnastics. For example, Engel writes: “[Sometimes] a projection can be an exaggeration of something that has a basis in reality. For example, your partner may be a little irritated by you, but you accuse them of hating you. "Engel explains that projective aggression stems from a deep fear of being found out:" Projecting your so-called negative traits and feelings, such as anger, onto other people is a way of maintaining the perfect image that you have worked so hard on. ”
Example: After a day that just wiped you out, come home and make dinner for the family. But after you've eaten everything you've cooked, the kids and your wife leave the table without helping to clean anything. You're angry, but you say quietly and gently to your children, "It's nice to help clean up people." Your wife senses your anger and acts for you: "Go and help mom clean up now!" she screams. Your children react negatively to the yelling and you turn back to your wife and say, "See what you did?" Successfully project your anger onto a viewer.
Experience projective aggressive anger? While this type of anger may be more difficult to pinpoint, hit it if you feel like you are pouring your anger around like a hot potato and cannot understand exactly what you are feeling or how you want to approach it and ask for space. Try something like, "I'm upset about this, but if it's okay with you, I'd rather talk about it later tonight." Projective attackers have trouble shaping their own anger, but this way you can gather your thoughts, give yourself time to think about them, and then address the problems. Also, it's not a bad idea to talk to a psychologist to unravel your fear of anger and let you hold it and understand for yourself.
5. Assertive anger
People with assertive anger styles, considered to be the healthiest form of anger, express themselves openly while respecting those around them. Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC has a checklist of assertive anger examples including:
When frustrated, express it without blaming others
Don't make threatening or intimidating comments
Is honest about feelings of anger without being forceful or gentle
Tries to resolve conflicts mutually
Take responsibility for mistakes
Example: After a day that just wiped you out, come home and make dinner for the family. But after you've eaten everything you've cooked, the kids and your husband leave the table without helping to clean anything. So you go into the TV room, ask them to turn it off, and quietly say, “I know we are all exhausted from a long day, but it hurts my feelings that no one offers to clean up after us. Everyone enjoyed a dinner that i did. So I would appreciate if you can interrupt this and help me. "
Experience assertiveness? Well done! So many of us have trouble expressing anger in a productive way, but you have done it. Keep it up.
RELATED: How To Be More Optimistic: 7 Things To Try When You're Stressed Out
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