Anger is an act of hostility directed at another person. Its intent is to hurt, intimidate or push away another person. This "intent" does not necessarily express the true feelings of the angry person (how he or she feels when not angry). Rather, they express a primitive and temporary feeling triggered by a particular event. When the person calms down, he or she may be very polite, kind, and accommodating. However, in the moment of anger, terrible things are said or done.
The following are examples of the different types of commonly expressed anger.
Speech is the most common way people communicate with each other. Thus, when a person expresses anger, it is usually done with words. Individuals, who have grown up in angry homes, have told me that the words of anger and humiliation directed at them have often caused more pain and suffering than actual physical assaults. Words are remembered, often forever, and angry words can cause emotional trauma that is not easily forgotten or forgiven!
Adults physically assault each other and their children. This may sound shocking, but it is true! Moreover, it happens far too often! Anger may be expressed with punches, slaps, kicks, or pushes. Anger may also be expressed by striking another person with an object, or by breaking and throwing things.
The urge to express anger with physical assault must always be rejected. In the moment, and perhaps forever, there can be no second chances. Physical anger must never be tolerated.
"Open anger" is the most prevalent way anger is expressed and is easily identified. Simply, when you recognize that you are expressing hostility — in any form— it is anger.
"Hidden anger" is when a person expresses anger using withholding or rejecting behaviors. This type of anger is often referred to as "passive-aggressive" anger. For example, an angry mother turns her back on her daughter and pretends not to hear anything she says; or an angry husband won’t talk to his wife for a week, yet pretends nothing is wrong.
Passive-aggressive anger is difficult to resolve or defend oneself against since typically the perpetrator pretends that he or she is not angry at all. The invisibleness of passive-aggressive anger is precisely why it is a powerful weapon often used to attack another person.
When angry, you hurt others. However, once you are calm and you realize what you have done, likely you will feel regret for having done so.
You may choose to cover these feeling by continuing to blame and rage, but they are there, and until you acknowledge them, you will remain agitated and distant from the person you "attacked."
Your best choice is to calm down and take responsibility for what you have done. Yes, apologies are appropriate! They are not always enough — but they are an essential start.
Take a few moments to answers to the following questions based on the reading material above. You can add personal notes at the end.
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1. Value. From the lesson you have just learned, what three bits of information are important to you in a very personal and useful way?