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What is an anger issue?

Individuals experience anger issues in many different ways. For example: angering easily over small things; going from feeling calm to feeling angry very quickly; expressing anger at those for whom it is not meant, one’s children rather than the boss; being aggressive; frequently getting into conflicts ; physical altercations; and generally being irritable. Those closest to such an individual might feel as if they are walking on eggshells, waiting for the next explosion to happen.

Some anger issues are less easy to identify. For example certain individuals find it difficult to express even the smallest amount of anger and this negatively affects their emotional/psychological wellbeing. In our clinical experience, someone who struggles to express anger can also feel depressed, anxious, and low in energy. They may struggle to assert themselves.

Anger is for many a taboo. Former social ideologies still influence our modern day thinking through the media, literature and traditional cultural values such as keeping a stiff upper lip, remaining calm and stoical. All of these indirectly tell us that anger is ‘negative’. Furthermore our family culture may have given us the message that feeling anger is ‘bad’. We may have experienced a frequently angry caregiver and as a result be fearful of anger in others and ourselves. Alternatively we may come from a family culture where anger was never owned or expressed openly. We may have been led to believe that anger is shameful. Or perhaps we grew up in a household where our caregivers frequently engaged in loud and abusive conflicts. As a result we do our uttermost to avoid any potential conflict, not believing that any good can come of anger and quashing any anger we might feel. However the problem is that when we quash one emotion, we quash them all. As a result we go around living in a muted fashion. We don’t feel angry but we don’t feel excitement and joy either. Anger, just like all emotions is neither inherently good nor bad. It just is. It helps us to stand up for ourselves when we one of our personal boundaries have been crossed. For example, if we feel disrespected by someone or that something has been wrongfully taken away from us, then anger energises us to say or do something to regain what was wrongly taken. An example is if a thief steals our phone or a partner does not appreciate the dinner we have cooked them. Feeling angry energises us to tell our partner that if they don’t appreciate our cooking then we won’t go to the effort of preparing meals. Feeling angry about the stolen phone means we do our best to find the thief and get the phone back. If we don’t’ have the energy to stand up for ourselves then we can feel as if others take us for granted and lose self-confidence. We can struggle to get our own needs met and may end up feeling resentful or expressing anger passively for example by stonewalling, being sarcastic, deliberately procrastinating, disguising criticism with compliments, amongst others.

Therefore anger can be just as problematic when it is not owned and expressed, as when it is expressed in an aggressive way. Often the two ways of relating, which seem so different, have more in common than might appear. Someone who blows up easily often struggles to assert themselves, not talking about issues until the bottled up anger comes out as an over-reaction. With both individuals, the aim of therapy is to express anger in a constructive way. Rather than keeping anger in which can be self-destructive, or unleashing it aggressively which can harm relationships.

For both these issues, an anger specialist psychotherapist can help. Often individuals with anger issues feel ashamed or embarrassed. Psychotherapists specialising in anger will not judge you but rather view any difficulties with anger as stemming from the messages you have received and ways of expressing anger that you learned, growing up. They recognise that you are doing the best you can at this moment in time, with the personal resources you have. They will help you to gain awareness and to develop skills to express anger in a more healthy and constructive way. So call one of our anger specialists at Psymplicity Healthcare today on 0207 118 04047 and start creating a new calmer  you from tomorrow!

Signs of an anger issue

  • Feeling more angry than the situation merits
  • Feeling angry or irritable frequently
  • Going very quickly from not angry to angry
  • Being aggressive
  • Entering into conflicts
  • Being physically abusive
  • Repeated patterns of angry relationships with partners or colleagues
  • Taking anger out on innocent bystanders
  • Being passive aggressive – for example giving the silent treatment, a hostile attitude, hiding criticism in compliments, deliberately procrastinating, playing the victim.
  • Unable to express anger
  • Being unassertive

Treatment approaches to anger issues

Psychiatric assessment, diagnosis and management plan for anger issues –

This is recommended when anger is playing a very destructive role in your life, particularly if it may be linked to other mental health conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders or past trauma. A psychiatric management plan may include medication to decrease arousal levels.

Psychotherapy for anger issues –

An anger specialist psychotherapist will work with you to look at subtle and unhelpful messages you have received about anger. You will gain greater awareness of your value boundaries. You will practice how to communicate in an assertive and timely fashion and how to use your anger as fuel to make creative and empowering changes in your life. You might also look at other emotions that underlie the anger reaction and re-visit any unfinished situations in your life that may be contributing to your anger issue.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anger issues –

This is effective in identifying the triggers for anger, unhelpful messages that might fuel anger, and you will work on behavioural changes to reduce how angry you get in situations where typically you have become angry.

Psymplicity Healthcare approach to anger issues

Give us a call on 0207 118 0407 and one of our trained therapists will chat with you informally and confidentially, obligation free. On finding out a little more about your issue, no need to go into great detail, they will advise you on the best approach for you, taking into account your specific needs and resources. They will explain all your options in plain and simple English, not using therapy jargon, and discuss with you in order to decide on a specific treatment plan. At your first session with your practitioner, the two of you will discuss your issue in more detail and decide on the aims of your therapy. As you progress, your therapist will check with you to ensure that you are getting what you need. As the therapy develops, you will start to feel more aware of and in control of your anger.

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