Anger is not a bad thing, if it is APPROPRIATELY EXPRESSED. Expressing it inappropriately will usually get us nowhere and can badly back-fire. However, its appropriate expression is often most effective.
As we begin to realize that what was done to us as children was wrong, anger often emerges (especially when we start to understand all the ramifications of how we have subsequently been affected by it).
Repressing anger (‘bottling it up’) is often painful and stressful. We can also get to the point when we can contain it no longer and this might result in it being MISDIRECTED (expressed against the wrong person) or in it being expressed in a DESTRUCTIVE and DAMAGING way (to both ourselves and those we interact with).
It is much better if anger is MANAGED and only expressed in a manner which is beneficial.
For some, expressing anger gives rise to a feeling of power, the power that was denied us in childhood, and can therefore feel that by expressing this anger we are in some way protecting ourselves or taking back ‘control’ (though, almost always, uncontrolled outbursts of anger backfire very unpleasantly). The adrenaline associated with such anger can sometimes lead to it being expressed in a very intense way. Whilst this may be understandable, then, such expressions of anger ULTIMATELY HARM THE PERSON EXPRESSING IT.
THREE CATEGORIES OF ANGER:
1) PRIMARY ANGER.
This is anger which is REASONABLE given what has occurred – it is directly related to what has happened and is not influenced by extraneous factors.
2) SECONDARY ANGER.
The psychologist Aaron Beck, during the 1980s, defined this type of anger as RESULTING FROM FEAR or HURT. WE USE IT TO TRY TO PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST FURTHER TRAUMA. This type of anger can be EXPLOSIVE and feel as if IT IS ‘TAKING US OVER’. It may occur in response to:
– perceived rejection
– a perceived slight
– a perceived threat
All of the above may trigger memories, consciously or unconsciously, of the original trauma; this can explain the (seemingly) disproportionate intensity of the reaction.
3) PAST ANGER.
This refers to anger we are currently feeling but which STEMS FROM THE PAST. When it is TRIGGERED BY CURRENT EVENTS, the anger we express, similar to the anger illustrated in 2 above, can be disproportionate (to the current event). For example, we may see a mother in the street screaming aggressively at her child which in turn triggers memories of how we ourselves were treated in childhood.
If you have found this post of interest, you may also wish to read my article on ‘Intermittent Explosive Disorder’ by clicking here.
Above eBook now available for immediate download on Amazon. $4.99 each. CLICK HERE.
David Hosier BSc; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery