Reactions to Anger

Physical reactions to anger and anxiety can include muscle tension in the low back and neck, dry mouth, racing heart rate, dizziness, feeling faint, shaking, cold hands, red face, headaches, stomach upset, fatigue, and crying. These are hormonal responses related to the adrenalin rush which floods the nervous system. Some studies have shown that repressing feelings such as anger may lead to greater risk of heart problems and increased susceptibility to sickness and disease.

Psychological reactions to anger include:

  • Seeing yourself as a victim.
  • Feeling discounted, overlooked, or ignored.
  • Feelings of helplessness or powerlessness.
  • Seeking opportunities for justice or revenge.

Cultural standards and sex roles also play a part in how we do, or do not, express anger. In North America, the expression of anger in men is generally considered to be acceptable in some situations. It is not uncommon for men to act angry when they are feeling hurt, afraid, or confused.

Anger in women, conversely, has traditionally been considered to be an "unfeminine" emotion, and some men find this emotion in women threatening. As a result, women may be more likely to feel hurt than angry, or turn their anger into self-criticism.

In families where anger was dealt with in an unhealthy manner, or where it was prohibited, children may learn to express anger through whining, pouting, being clingy, or becoming self-destructive.

If these coping mechanisms are unsuccessful, children may try to hurt the target of their anger "accidentally" or through promising compliance but doing the opposite of what was promised. If these styles of coping are not resolved, children will carry these attitudes and ways of handling anger into adult life. In adult life, unresolved anger patterns from childhood are typically replayed in present day relationships.

Breaking the Anger Cycle

Professionally trained counsellors can help break the anger cycle by:

  • Providing opportunities to safely discuss angry feelings in a safe and confidential environment where others are not likely to be harmed.
  • Identifying the true sources of anger.
  • Bringing resolution and new ways of dealing with old anger patterns.
  • Providing "tools" for effective resolution of past and present anger patterns.
  • Replacing distorted thinking and irrational beliefs with new ways of thinking that are more constructive.
  • Building a higher level of self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Let us show you how we can help you gain control over anger – call today 604-574-6555