Discover What’s Your Anger Type and Learn How to Manage It
Understanding Your Anger Type: Tips for Managing Hostility
Anger is a normal human emotion, but it can lead to serious health problems if not expressed healthily. Chronic anger can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. To address anger issues, it is important to first determine your anger type. Here are seven common profiles and tips for managing anger.
If you feel angry but don’t express it, you may have passive or resistant anger. This type can be difficult to identify and may manifest itself as sarcasm or passive-aggressive statements, which can be harmful to your health. To break this cycle, try venting to friends or engaging in physical activity to lower stress levels.
Volatile anger, or intermittent explosive disorder, is characterized by sudden outbursts of aggressive or violent behavior that are out of proportion to the situation. Seek professional help for this type of anger and use caution around those who exhibit it. It can lead to self-harm, damage to property, and violence against others. If you or someone you know expresses anger inappropriately in a physical manner, call 911 immediately.
Do you find yourself holding onto anger for longer than a few months? Then you might fit the profile for chronic or habitual anger. This type of anger can weaken the immune system and cause health conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease over time.
According to Dr. Sacco, chronic anger is characterized by habitual anger. This person wakes up already angry and continues to move through the day in an angry state of mind, always looking for something to get upset about. If you identify with this type of anger, seeking help from an anger management support group or therapist can be beneficial. If left untreated, chronic anger can lead to legal trouble or isolation from family and friends.
If you find yourself obsessing over someone you feel has wronged you, you might be experiencing vengeful anger. This type of anger can lead to obsessive thoughts, high levels of stress, and an increased risk for heart problems, says Dr. Aiken.
Studies have found that seeking revenge can activate the dopamine or reward center in the brain, similar to addiction. The more one ruminates over vengeful thoughts, the more intense they become. To manage vengeful anger, Dr. Aiken recommends finding activities that can distract you, such as volunteering. Shifting your focus to helping others can help release the anger and let go of the need for revenge. Ultimately, forgiveness is the best cure for vengeful anger.
If you find it difficult to forgive and forget an event where you feel you were wronged, you may be experiencing petrified or hardened anger. This type of anger is characterized by holding onto bitterness and hatred. You might be waiting for an apology that will never come, says Dr. Sacco.
To overcome petrified anger, forgiveness is key. Dr. Sacco suggests realizing that holding onto anger is not getting you anywhere. Forgiveness can help you release the negative emotions and move on. If you need help working through the buried emotions, a therapist can be an excellent resource. They can also help you reach out to the person who upset you and let go of the anger.
Not all forms of anger are bad or destructive. Incidental anger is a healthy type of anger that helps us identify when something is wrong. This type of anger is usually directed towards a specific event or situation and can be addressed directly and quickly, says Pavlock.
To effectively manage incidental anger, Pavlock recommends using “I feel” statements instead of accusatory language. This keeps the conversation direct and appropriate, avoiding angry outbursts or verbal abuse that can upset the other person involved.
Another healthy form of anger is empathic anger or righteous indignation. This type of anger occurs when you’re angry on behalf of someone else. Empathy can be a healthy emotion that reduces anger in many situations, says Dr. Aiken.
Focusing on others rather than ourselves can improve our mental health, despite the frequent advice to prioritize self-time and self-care. For example, people report greater happiness when they volunteer and help others face-to-face rather than doing the same work for pay.
Anger is a complex emotion that can have both negative and positive effects on our mental and physical health. Understanding the different types of anger and how to appropriately express them can help us avoid negative consequences like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and strained relationships. It’s important to recognize when anger becomes chronic or vengeful and seek professional help, such as anger management or therapy. For healthy anger, expressing it in a direct and appropriate manner, using “I feel” statements, and empathizing with others can help reduce anger and improve mental health. Overall, by understanding and appropriately expressing our anger, we can lead happier and healthier lives.