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What's your Anger Style?

Updated: Apr 9, 2023


Anger is a powerful emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It's like a fire that can burn brightly and fiercely, but if left unchecked, it can also spiral out of control and cause serious damage.


Just like there are different types of fires, there are also different types of anger, and it's important to understand your anger style in order to manage it effectively.


For some people, anger is like a wildfire, spreading rapidly and unpredictably. They may lash out at others without warning, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.


Others may experience anger more like a slow-burning ember, simmering quietly beneath the surface until it eventually erupts into a full-blown blaze.


Understanding your anger style can help you identify your triggers and develop healthy coping mechanisms. It can also help you communicate your needs more effectively and build stronger, healthier relationships.


In this blog, we'll explore the different types of anger styles and provide practical tips for managing anger in a healthy way. Whether you're a wildfire or an ember, we'll help you find the tools you need to keep your anger in check and stay in control of your emotions.


So, let's dive in and discover what your anger style is all about.


Explosive Anger

Do you find yourself exploding with rage at the slightest provocation? Do you struggle to control your anger when things don't go your way?


If so, you might be dealing with explosive anger, a type of anger that can be intense and overwhelming. But don't worry – there are steps you can take to manage this powerful emotion and keep your cool.


What It Looks Like:

Explosive anger can make you feel like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode at any moment. You may hold your anger inside until it builds up to a boiling point, and then lash out with extreme force.


For example, you might threaten to leave your partner over something as small as a jacket on the floor. The intensity of your anger can be frightening, and those around you may feel like they are walking on eggshells to avoid setting you off.


Why You Might Do It:

If you were never taught how to deal with irritation or frustration, you might have developed a habit of suppressing your anger until it becomes unbearable.


Explosive anger can also be addictive, as the adrenaline rush of an emotional outburst can feel exhilarating. Plus, when you explode, you may get your way in the short term, which can be reinforcing.


The Damage:

Explosive anger can cause serious damage to your relationships, as it's difficult to show empathy and compassion when you're consumed by rage. In the heat of the moment, you may say and do things that you later regret, hurting those around you and damaging trust.


How to Control Your Explosive Anger:

🤯 Recognize that the neurological response of anger lasts for less than two seconds, and beyond that, it takes a conscious decision to stay angry. Try to wait it out by mentally reciting something calming, like the Pledge of Allegiance, or counting to ten to give your brain a chance to cool down.


🤯 It's also helpful to own your emotions by describing them with words, rather than using expletives or insults. Saying, "I'm really upset by your behavior" is much more productive than screaming profanities.


Self-Abuse:

Do you find yourself constantly blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life? Do you struggle with low self-esteem and find it easier to direct your anger inward rather than towards others?


If so, you might be dealing with self-abusive anger. But don't despair – there are steps you can take to break free from this destructive pattern of thinking.


What It Looks Like:

Self-abusive anger can take many forms, but at its core, it involves directing blame and anger towards oneself.


For example, you might tell yourself that everything is your fault, even when it's clearly not. You might criticize yourself for making mistakes, or dwell on past failures and shortcomings. This constant self-blame can be exhausting and damaging to your self-esteem.


Why You Might Do It:

Self-abusive anger often stems from deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth. Perhaps you experienced trauma or abuse in the past, or were raised in an environment where you were made to feel worthless.


Blaming yourself can feel like a way to regain some control over your life, but in reality, it only perpetuates the cycle of self-loathing.


The Damage:

Constantly blaming yourself for everything can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and depression.


It can also sabotage your relationships and prevent you from achieving your goals, as you may feel that you don't deserve success or happiness.


How to Control Your Self Abuse Anger:

🤷‍♀️ Start by questioning the assumptions that underlie your self-blame. Whenever you feel the urge to take responsibility for something that isn't your fault, ask yourself, "Who told me I was responsible for this?" Then, ask, "Do I really believe that?"


🤷‍♀️ Instead of accepting all responsibility, try to give yourself credit for recognizing the pattern of self-blame in the first place.


🤷‍♀️ Working on your self-worth is another critical step in overcoming self-abusive anger. Make a list of your positive qualities and accomplishments, and remind yourself of them regularly. Seek out professional help if needed, as overcoming deeply ingrained patterns of negative self-talk can be difficult on your own.


Avoidance:

Do you find yourself always putting on a happy face even when you feel a fireball of rage burning inside you? Do you avoid any display of irritation even when you are upset?


If this sounds familiar, you may be struggling with avoidance anger.


What It Looks Like:

You know that feeling when you're seething with anger but you refuse to show it? That's what avoidant anger looks like. You may pretend that everything is okay, even when you feel like exploding. This isn't passive aggression, it's buried aggression.


If you're a woman, you might feel like you need to be nice all the time, no matter what. Or, if you grew up in a volatile or abusive home, you may not believe that anger can be expressed calmly or controlled.


Why You Might Do It:

Society often tells women that expressing anger can lead to negative consequences, such as damaging their reputation, losing their marriage, friends, or job.


Additionally, if you grew up in an abusive environment, you may not have learned healthy ways to express your emotions.


The Damage:

By ignoring your anger, you may engage in self-destructive behaviors such as overeating or excessive shopping. Moreover, you deny others the opportunity to make amends or apologize for their actions.


You're also giving them the green light to continue behaving badly, which can cause more harm in the long run.


How to Control Your Avoidance Anger:

😣 Ask yourself if it's really fine for your employees to leave early whenever they want or for your partner to go golfing every weekend. If you're honest with yourself, the answer is probably no. Recognizing that something is wrong is the first step towards making it right.


😣 Imagine that a friend is going through the same situation you are. What advice would you give them? Make a list of actions they could take, and ask yourself why it's okay for them to react that way but not for you.


😣 When someone has ticked you off, it's important to confront them in a positive and constructive way. They may be surprised or even angered by your words, but avoidance often does more damage to relationships than any expression of anger.


Saracasm


Do you find yourself constantly making sarcastic comments, even when you're feeling angry or frustrated? Do you find it hard to express your anger directly and instead resort to indirect, cutting remarks?


If so, you might be dealing with sarcasm as an anger style.


What It Looks Like:

When someone arrives late, you might be tempted to make a sarcastic comment like, "Oh don't worry about being late, I've had plenty of time to memorize the menu."


This type of indirect communication may feel like a way to express your anger or frustration without being confrontational, but it can actually damage your relationships and cause unnecessary hurt.


Why You Might Do It:

You may have grown up in an environment where expressing negative emotions was discouraged, so you learned to communicate indirectly.


Alternatively, you may use sarcasm as a way to deflect blame or criticism onto others. You may also see it as a form of humor and believe that people should not take things too seriously.


The Damage:

Although you may think that your sarcasm is harmless or funny, it can be hurtful and damaging to relationships. The word "sarcasm" is derived from the Greek word sarkazein, which means "to tear flesh like dogs." Your sarcastic comments can be biting and vicious, causing pain and resentment in others.


How to Control Your Sarcasm Anger:

😝 Instead of using sarcasm to communicate your frustrations, express your feelings directly. Use "I" statements to describe how you feel, such as "I feel frustrated when you are late," rather than attacking the other person.


😝 Use clear and concise language to communicate your expectations and boundaries. Be especially clear with children, as they may not understand sarcasm and need clear and direct communication.


😝 Don't wait until you are at your breaking point to express your feelings. Practice assertiveness and communicate your needs and boundaries early on to prevent the buildup of resentment and the need to use sarcasm.

Passive Aggressive


Do you often find yourself expressing your anger in a covert or underhanded way? Do you struggle with standing up for yourself and avoiding confrontation?


If so, you might be dealing with a passive-aggressive anger style.


What It Looks Like:

Passive-aggressive behavior is when you express your anger indirectly, through behaviors like sarcasm, procrastination, or forgetfulness. You may not directly confront the person or situation that's making you angry, but you find ways to get back at them in a subtle or covert way.


Why You Might Do It:

One reason people adopt this style is that they feel powerless or uncomfortable with confrontation. They may be afraid of the consequences of expressing their anger directly, or they may simply lack the skills to do so effectively.


The Damage:

The downside of this style is that it often creates frustration and confusion for others. Your behavior may seem unpredictable or irrational, and it can be difficult for others to understand what you really want or need.


How to Control Your Passive Aggressive Anger:

🤪 Give yourself permission to feel angry. Recognize that anger is a normal and healthy emotion, and that it's okay to express it directly and assertively.


🤪 Advocate for yourself. Instead of resorting to passive-aggressive behaviors, try to communicate your needs and boundaries clearly and directly. This may be uncomfortable at first, but it can help you build better relationships and feel more empowered.


🤪 Take control of your situation. If you feel overwhelmed or unsupported, try to identify the specific problem and work on finding a solution. This might involve setting boundaries with others, seeking help or support, or learning new skills to help you cope.


Habitual Irritation

Do you often feel constantly irritated and easily provoked, even by small things that normally wouldn't bother you? Do you find yourself expressing your anger in a habitual and automatic way, without thinking it through?


If so, you might be dealing with a habitual irritation anger style.


What It Looks Like:

You find yourself constantly irritable and ready to snap at the slightest provocation. It may be triggered by small things like a co-worker borrowing your stapler, or someone leaving their dirty socks on the floor. This type of anger is always simmering just below the surface, waiting to boil over at any moment.


Why You Might Do It:

Chronic irritability is often a symptom of deeper emotional issues such as resentment, frustration, or regret. Maybe you're unhappy with your job, or your marriage is falling apart, and you don't know how to deal with these underlying issues.


The Damage:

Your constant irritability can drive people away and create an uncomfortable and tense atmosphere around you. Your friends, family, and co-workers may avoid you, which can leave you feeling isolated and even more frustrated.


How to Control Your Habitual Irritation Anger:

😪 Identify the root cause. Take the time to reflect on what is really making you angry. It's usually not about the small things that trigger your anger, but rather deeper emotional issues that need to be addressed. If you find that you can't identify the source of your anger on your own, consider seeking professional help.


😪 Become aware of your anger triggers. Pay attention to the physical and emotional signs of your anger, such as clenching your fists or gritting your teeth. Once you recognize these signs, make a conscious effort to redirect your attention to something else, such as taking a deep breath or focusing on a calming image.


😪 Practice visualization techniques. Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you control your anger. Try imagining a peaceful scene or activity that makes you happy, such as a walk on the beach or listening to your favorite music. Practice visualizing this scene every day, and use it to calm yourself down when you feel your anger rising.


What's your anger style?


Looking for the answers for the survey that I shared on LinkedIn Newsletter, here it goes.


But remember, this survey is just a guide to help you understand your anger style. If you are struggling with anger issues, it's important to seek professional help.






So, how are you managing your anger?


Share your experiences in the comments below!

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4 則留言


Priyank Zala
Priyank Zala
2023年4月10日

Dear Shikha,


Your content is very simple to understand and deals with real life situations people go through in their lives. It is high time to normalize conversation around mental health in our day to day lives as most Indian households lack enough space and freedom to express feelings.


Please keep posting such wonderful content.


Cheers,

Priyank

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Shikha Bhat
Shikha Bhat
2023年4月10日
回覆

Thanks Priyank. It means a lot. I will be posting twice a week. If you also have suggestions of topics. Please feel free to share.

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Shikha Bhat
Shikha Bhat
2023年4月09日

Thanks a lot. I am glad you liked it. The purpose was solely to share information so that we understand what we do and what we need to change to benefit further.

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Abisha Raj
Abisha Raj
2023年4月09日

A extremely nice article indeed @Shikha Bhat. It explores the different kinds of anger we face and ways to handle them. Very informative and interesting!🙂

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